The following bio has some corrections and additions to the Wikipedia entry on WJ van Stockum:
Willem Jacob van Stockum (November 20, 1910-June 10, 1944) was a mathematician who made an important contribution to the early development of general relativity and to the application of the theory to the possibility of time travel.
Van Stockum was born in Hattem, near Zwolle in the Netherlands. He grew up in Rijswijk, the Netherlands, because his father Abraham (Bram) van Stockum was a Dutch Navy officer who served as an acting admiral in charge of defense of the port fo Amsterdam during World War I. Mechanically talented, Bram invented a number of military and civilian devices that were patented. After his wife Olga Boissevain van Stockum relocated with her three children to Ireland in the late 1920s, Willem studied mathematics at the Trinity College, Dublin where he was awarded a large gold medal in mathematics. He went on to earn an M.A. from the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. from University of Edinburgh.
In the mid-1930s, van Stockum became an early enthusiast of the then new theory of gravitation, general relativity. In 1937, he published a paper that contains one of the first exact solutions in general relativity, modeling the gravitational field produced by a configuration of rotating matter, the van Stockum dust. The paper remains an important example of possible solutions, noted for its unusual simplicity. In this paper, van Stockum was apparently the first to notice the possibility of closed timelike curves, one of the strangest and most disconcerting phenomena in general relativity.
Van Stockum left for the United States in hope of studying under Albert Einstein, eventually gaining a temporary position under Professor Oswald Veblen at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1939. He is listed incorrectly on the IAS website as Willem J. Stockum, out of alphabetical order, for the spring term 1939.
The outbreak of the Second World War occurred while van Stockum was teaching at the University of Maryland. After finishing his academic year, anxious to join the fight against Hitler after the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, eventually earning his pilotís wings in July 1942. Because of his advanced knowledge of physics, he spent much of the next year as a test pilot in Canada, which must have been vexatious, because van Stockum personally knew many persons who were suffering under Nazi occupation. Finally, van Stockum was able to transfer to the Dutch Air Force (in exile), and in 1944 became the only Dutch officer posted to No. 10 Squadron of the RAF Bomber Command, which was stationed in Yorkshire and flew combat missions in the Halifax heavy bomber over Europe. During the weeks before and after D-Day, June 6, 1944, van Stockum participated in the massive air raids that accompanied the Normandy invasion. But on June 10 van Stockum and his crew took off on their sixth combat mission, as part of a 400 plane raid, a dozen from the No. 10 Squadron. Near their target, two of the planes on the mission were hit by flak, and all seven crew members were lost on each of the two planes. The crew members are buried in Laval, France near the place where their plane went down.