7937398 Trooper William McCaldon

Royal Armoured Corps

William was born on the 8th October 1912 in Liverpool. He was married to Florence & in 1939 resided at 30 High St, Corsham. His occupation was recorded as a dairyman & storekeeper. In 1942, William was on the strength of the 59th Training Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps based at Tidworth, Wiltshire. This unit’s role was to train crewmen to operate armoured cars.

On the 9th January 1942, Avro Manchester I R5789 of No 61 Squadron took off from RAF North Luffenham for an operation to Cherbourg. Outbound, the starboard engine caught fire. The aircraft, which was heavily laden, began to lose height. The pilot feared that if he jettisoned his bomb load he would injure people on the ground, so took the precaution of ordering his crew to bail out (all 6 survived). This left the two pilots on board to make an emergency landing. Unfortunately due to the pitch black night they were unable to see a line of trees. The aircraft crashed at 06:20 at Tidworth Cross near Tidworth Garrison. Both pilots were killed.

Amongst those attending the scene to assist in the rescue operation were local farmers and the crew of the Bulford Camp Military Fire Tender, which included Trooper William McCaldon. Unfortunately, whilst tackling the fire, part of the bomb load exploded killing 6 and injuring a further 4 individuals. Trooper William McCaldon was one of those killed.

The two pilots killed were:

  • 45522 Pilot Officer Douglas Spencer Matthews DFM RAF, 61 Sqn (Buried in Swindon (Christ Church) Burial Ground)
  • 63816 Pilot Officer Thomas Ivor Ravenhill Wilson RAFVR, 61 Sqn (the Second Pilot on his first operation).


The others killed on the ground were:

  • Frederick Thomas Baker, Local farmer & Special Constable. Son of Thomas and Mabel C. Baker, of Home Farm, South Tidworth; husband of Rosamond Baker, died in Tidworth Military Hospital from injuries received. (Buried in the mortuary Chapel Churchyard, South Tidworth, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, England)
  • 217970 2nd Lieutenant Christopher Carey Royal Armoured Corps. Son of Brigadier General Arthur Basil Carey, C.M.G., D.S.O. and Eva Mary Carey, of Mexico City, D. F. (Buried in Canewdon (St Nicholas) Churchyard
  • 1041562 Sergeant Ball Royal Artillery (Buried in Rotherham (Moorgate) Cemetery)
  • 7937398 Trooper William McCaldon Royal Armoured Corps (Buried Corsham (St Bartholomew) Church Burial Ground)
  • 553578 Sergeant Archibald Carmichael Morrison Royal Armoured Corps (Buried in Tidworth Military Cemetery)
  • 985894 Leading Aircraftman James Slater RAFVR (Buried in Bradford (Bowling) Cemetery).


The crew from the aircraft that bailed out and survived were:

  • Flying Officer C A. Giles – Navigator
  • Sergeant Lorimer – 1st Wireless Operator
  • Sergeant Fryer – 2nd Wireless Operator
  • Pilot Officer S P. Walsh – 1st Air Gunner
  • Sergeant J. Brown – 2nd Air Gunner
  • Pilot Officer Lancaster – Regional Control Officer.



Corsham (St Batholomew) Church Burial Ground War Graves

This burial ground is the resting place for 22 servicemen who gave their lives on the First & Second World Wars. A number were men who had lived in the town or had family connections to the area. Others were serving in local units or were receiving treatment in Corsham’s military hospital when they died. Find out more about them using the QR code located at each individual grave. These commemorations will be maintained in perpetuity by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). 

CWGC Map Corsham

World War One

1. Pte Robert Brown ASC

2. Pte Hamilton T Kerr A&SH

3. Pte William HJ Robbins RDC

4. Pte William Evans RDC

5. Dvr Egbert Slade ASC

6. 3rd AM Harold Flower RFC

7. AB William F Hemmings RN

8. Pte Herbert A Rumming RASC 

9. Pte George F Merrett RASC 

10. Sgt William Farmer Innis Fus

11. Pte Sidney A Archer

World War Two

12. Spr Charles J Bond RE

13. Pte John Jones P Corps

14. Pte Harry Sivyer RAMC

15. Pte Thomas H Gill P Corps

16. Pte Wilfred NK Huskinson RAOC

17. Tpr William McCaldron RAC

18. Sgt John WM Bailey MM RA

19. Pte William G Elms P Corps

20. Pte William H Thompson Som LI

21. Gnr Eric Burford RA

22. Capt William H Jackson RE