Regiment : H.M.S. Dasher Royal Navy
Service number : FX94483
Conflict : WW2
Date of death : 27th March 1943
Buried : Commemorated on Lee-On-Solent Memorial, Hampshire, England, Bay 4, Panel 5.
Relatives : Son of John and Hilda Mary Willis
Memorial : Redditch War Memorial
John Willis married Hilda M. Hay in the December Quarter 1915 under the Bromsgrove Registration District.
HMS Dasher was converted from a cargo ship to an aircraft carrier and commissioned by the Royal Navy in July 1942. In early 1943 the ship returned to Scotland for repairs to some minor damage received during the landings in North Africa and convoy duty. On 27th March 1943, following the repairs, she was undergoing trials in the Firth of Clyde when a catastrophic explosion occurred on board the ship, believed to have been an accidental explosion of aviation fuel. She sank within 8 minutes with the loss of 379 men, killed by the explosion, by hypothermia from being in the icy waters of the Clyde or by the burning oil that spread across the surface of the sea. The loss of the ship was kept secret by the government until 1945 due to wartime restrictions.