M.561  First Officer Wilbur Washington 'Bee' Acton 

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 b. 23 Dec 1915, Xenia, Ohio

16 May 1941 to 15 May 1942


12 Aug 1943 to 8 Jul 1944



ata bee acton 1941

Montana Standard et al, 1941



Father: William Albert Acton, 120 W 3rd St, Xenia, OH (later moved to Dayton, OH)

Mother: Irene [Reece]

Ed. Xenia High School

prev. airplane sales, charter work for Dave Peterson Charter Service in Wichita, Kansas

prev. exp. 360 hrs on Beechcraft F17D, Culver Cadet, Cessna C145-165, Stinson, Cessna T50

Address in 1941: Wichita, Kansas

"Disregarding the fate of his friend, Bee Acton, of Wichita, Kan., has signed up for a year's service ferrying bomber and fighter planes from Canada to England [sic]. Acton, a commercial pilot, joined up shortly after his friend, Jim Wright, also of Wichita, was reported killed when a submarine sank the ship on which he was returning [sic] from England." 

At the end of his first contract the ATA described him as "a keen pilot competent to fly all types of single engne and light and medium7 twin aircraft. He proved a good type of officer and his behaviour was quite satisfactory."

His second contract was for 18 months with a "cessation of hostilities" clause included.

 janes anson

d. 8 Jul 1944 (Died in ATA Service) in Anson NK773 which was in a mid-air collision with Oxford X7134 and crashed at Rodbourne, 5 miles NE of Hullavington.

Pilot Flt Lt. Bernard N Phillips [RAF Serial No 45885] and passenger Sqn Ldr William A. Law [79047] in the Oxford were both killed.

The accident report says "Whilst the Anson was flying just below the cloud base an Oxford aircraft, piloted by an RAF pilot, came out of the cloud and struck the tail plane of the Anson. Both aircraft crashed in a field and were destroyed, all three occupants being killed."

"Neither pilot is held responsible for this accident."

headstone bee acton

Buried Maidenhead Cemetery (Section C, No 14KK).

The wording on the memorial is from Tennyson's poem 'Crossing the bar':

I hope to meet my pilot

Face to face

When I have crost the bar

 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):

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