Molison, William Strachan (1914-1945)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: William Strachan Molison (1914-1945), born 27 April 1914, son of William James Molison, stockjobber, and Hilda Maria Molison, of Sanderstead, Surrey.
Attended Westonleigh House School, Hollington Park, St Leonards.
Attended Sherborne School (Lyon House) January 1928-July 1932; House Prefect; Class Leader; 1st Class Gym; Gym Squad (1931).
WW2, Captain in the Royal Artillery, attached to 662 A.O.P. Squadron, Royal Air Force. Awarded D.F.C. and bar. Killed in action at Rees, Germany, on 28 March 1945, aged 30.
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, 60. C. 13 www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2040457/molison,-will...
Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; Lyon House War Memorial.
Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', July 1945: 'William Strachan Molison, D.F.C., Captain, R.A., attached R.A.F., (g., '28-'32), passed through his school life with few spectacular successes, though he was a good gymnast and a first-class Prefect with a strength of character far above the average and a loyalty beyond question. After a trip to Australia he settled down to life on the Stock Exchange, with work at Southwark and elsewhere as an outlet for his idealism. He joined the H.A.C. and only left it to take a Territorial Commission in 1939. He paid a flying visit to Sherborne in 1942 and was attached this year to the R.A.F. and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. The C.O. of the unit for which he was observing says: "Our Brigadier and myself had been to very high places to retain his services for this present operation. He was fifty per cent. better than any other pilot we have had and saved the lives of many tank crews of our Armoured Regiments by his accurate information and shooting. At times he would 'shoot' two regiments at once which calls for a very high degree of skill." He was killed in the fighting in Europe in April. His life, as a boy and man, was one of service to his fellow men.'
Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', March 1946: 'William Strachan Molison, D.F.C. (g., '28-'32). Captain Molison was in the Royal Artillery, being attached to the R.A.F. The Colonel commanding the 147th Field Regiment, R.A., wrote to Molison's father as follows: "I am not understating facts when I say that your son was 50% better than any other pilot we have had. He saved the lives of many tank crews of our Armoured Regiments by his accurate information and shooting. At times he would shoot two Regiments at once, which calls for a high degree of skill... His plane was hit by a shell from one of the other Divisions in a barrage." The Brigadier of the 8th Armoured Brigade wrote: "Molison put an entirely new meaning into the words "Air O.P"... His father has every reason to be tremendously proud of his son. No man has ever helped our Brigade in the road to victory more than he did, and he has proved irreplaceable."
Photograph of W.S. Molison with friends at Sherborne School in 1931: www.flickr.com/photos/nicdafis/7549233928/
Amateur film footage of Sherborne School in the early 1930s, including W.S. Molison: www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4q8l7tHswc&list=UU5Hw9b8S_Ni...