William’s tank was strafed by an RAF fighter in a blue-on-blue incident while in the Western Desert on 12th June 1942.

When the plane attacked everyone in the tank was killed, all except William, somehow he survived, although he was wounded in the encounter.

Cpl Wakem 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and an unknown member of the Royal Air Force after the incident

Excerpt from the 4th Hussars Regimental report of 12th June 1942

At EL DUDA the Squadron was machine-gunned by one of our own fighters, resulting in the death of Sgt Shill, LCpl Duckering and LCpl Leigh. One Other Rank was wounded (Corporal William Audrey Wakem).

The deceased was buried at grid reference 428412.”