View Full Version : Wing Commander William Herbert Wetton

8th February 2013, 10:36

I am trying to find or locate any photographs for a friend who is researching a Wing Commander William Herbert Wetton. He has found quite a bit of information about him as follows:

"Mr William Herbert Wetton set up Wetton Aviation, Ltd. with F T Wetton in July 1939 with registered offices in St. Dunstanís Buildings at St.Dunstans, London EC3. The company was formed to set up an aviation school and to manufacture and deal in aircraft with £25,000 of capital. Born on the 3rd April 1907 Mr Wetton was a member of the Brooklands Aero Club and had gained certificate no.8547, later he joined the RAF and in 1929 was with No.600 City of London (Bombing) Squadron Auxiliary Air Force, General Duties Branch at either RAF Northolt or RAF Hendon where he was made a Pilot Officer during April and became a Flying Officer with the Squadron in October 1930. In 1934 he was granted comission as a Flying Officer Class A on April 8th. He later bought farmland at Barmoor Farm, Booker and he established 50 ERFTS at RAF Booker in 1939. With the closure of 50 ERFTS Mr Wetton joined the Army Air Force Parachute Regiment and was now a Squadron Leader, he was injured in the crash of Airspeed Horsa BT563 of the 102 Glider OTU at Bodicote on the 12th March 1942 and was issued with the Air Efficiency Award in January 1943 later seconded to the Australian Air Force in April 1943 from a request by the Australian government by this time he had been made a Wing Commander, in Australia he joined the Parachute Training Unit at Tocumwal, New South Wales and took over the command from Wing Commander Glasscock, also seconded was a Major H Roberts, but these appointments were not welcomed by everyone in the Unit as it was considered that the training program had been doing well without outside personnel being drafted in. Wetton and Roberts later persuaded the Unit to move and during April 1943 they relocated to Richmond where they introduced new training based on airborne training in England. Injured during a parachute jump whilst commanding a parachute group in New Guinea he returned to England and with Lord Willoughby de Broke established the Garden Corner Club on Chelsea Embankment, London. He purchased a war surplus de Havilland Dragon Rapide, G-AIYP in December 1946 trading as Garden Corner, London SW3. He later purchased a Miles Gemini G-AJZI registered to St.Christopher Travel-Ways Ltd after sale of the Rapide in 1947 but he was injured, suffering twelve compound fractures when it crashed at Ridge Park on the 27th February 1948 after hitting trees on high ground south-west of the airport on a flight from Croydon to Milan, Spain. It took Mr Wetton nearly a year to recover from the accident and when he finally left hospital the Garden Corner Club had closed down but he went onto form his own cleaning company Wettons Cleaning Services Ltd in 1949 in London which is still going today. In January 1958 he purchased Dragon Rapide G-ACPP and it was registered to him as a member of the No.600 (City of London) Squadron Flying Group, and was based at Biggin Hill, the group was formed after the disbandment of the RAF Squadron of which Mr Wetton once flew, they also operated Percival Prentice G-AONB from 1959 until 1961. I believe he married a Sheila Franklin and died in Hastings, Sussex in June 1986".

If anyone has any leads on where I might be able to find any photographs of him at anytime during his career I would be most grateful.

8th February 2013, 11:09
I do know that he was a friend of my late friend, Nancy Woodall, who also lived in Hastings and died in 2000.

She often spoken of him, but although I inherited her extensive aviation book and photo collection there was nothing about him there. I have a feeling that he was a member of the local RAFA and, possibly, the Albatros Club in Bexhill. Enquires there may bring forth some fruit?

8th February 2013, 12:44
Hi Andy

Thank you very much for that information, I will certainly give them a try.

2nd March 2013, 20:33
Couple of small bits of additional info/corrections to what you have already.

Correct title is Army Air Corps not Army Air Force Parachute Regiment.
He didn't join the AAC - he was an RAF instructor at 102 Glider Operational Training Unit at RAF Kidlington.
The crash was in Hotspur Glider BT563 and at the time he held the rank of acting Squadron Leader.

3rd March 2013, 09:55
Thank you for that additional information, much appreciated.

4th March 2013, 16:07
Bill's brother, Frank T Wetton, was my grandfather. I can ask my mother if she has any photographs of him.


4th March 2013, 16:31
Hi Phil

Many thanks PM sent.