Discussion in 'Veterans' Histories/Stories' started by Kyt, Oct 16, 2007.
A collection of memories on RAF Wick - World War Two
Sgt Pilot Len Williams - 58 Coastal Command Wick.
I have posted this previously elsewhere and it needs posting here also. It is a quite tear jerking story of a mothers love for her son involved in a war across the other side of the world. It is a hard heart you have if this does not bring a tear to your eye.
Sgt Pilot Len Williams was a member of the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) during World War 2 - attached to RAF Squadron 58 Coastal Command. On 25th July 1942, 10 Whitley aircraft and crews from that squadron were temporarily detached from their station at St Eval, Cornwall to Wick for special duty of U-boat reconnaissance.
Sgt Williams only flew twice from Wick. The first occasion was on the 4th August 1942 when he was in flight for nearly 11 hours. The Daily Operations Book reports "Saw 3 trawlers, one of which opened fire on aircraft which immediately fired recognition cartridge".
The second occasion was two days later on the 6th August 1942 when a Mark VII Whitley aircraft No Z9525, radio call sign "J", with Sgt Pilot Williams and five other crew members took off from Wick airport at 12.15pm, for another anti-submarine patrol over the North Sea. It was Len William's 21st birthday. The plane did not return and there was no radio contact with it after it left. The other crew members were P/0 Gordon J Strutt, Pilot, Sgt G A (Mickey) Morgan, Observer and Sgt E W (Ted) Griffiths, Sgt Albert Hooper and Sgt Edward T Prior, all Wireless Operators/Air Gunners.
Len William's death gives us a special chance to see how sad the loss of a single airman from Wick was. All his letters sent home to his mother and some of those sent by his mother to Len which he never had a chance to open are published in a book "Letters To Mother". Extracts from Len's mother's diary are also included in this book.
On the day he died, his 21st birthday, Len's mother wrote to him:
"My dear boy,
You are 21 today, it is a lovely day here. I am sitting on the bed on the front of the verandah where I can look at your photo on the wireless, as I write to you. . . I think I told you in my last letter, every day makes a difference and brings it a day nearer for your coming home. I mustn't say things that will make you homesick, l try not to but I wouldn't like you to think that we don't think of you son, indeed I woke Dad before 2 o'clock this morning, and my thoughts were with you".
This letter was one of several, marked "Return To Sender" and sent back to Mrs Williams.
The entries in Len's mother’s diary show how much she suffered.
27th August 1942: 21 days, how long the time seems and no news of our boy.
3rd September 1942: A month today. If only we knew, my boy if I could only see you and be with you. I miss you so. I wonder so much if he's hurt. I spend so much of my time with him in thought
3rd October 1942: I miss my boy more than ever, if only we knew.
21st October 1942: Len's photo and letter came, took them to town and had lunch with Stan : Jeans call up came.
12th November 1942: 14 weeks today - If only we knew, my dear, dear boy.
23rd November 1942: Couldn't sleep, thoughts of Len all night, also very much yesterday. If only we knew, my boy I miss you so and look for your letters.
26th November 1942: Miss my boy more and more as time goes by, 17 weeks today. Where are you son, what happened to you? If you could only let us know. Oh the heartache, day after day and you can't say. "
Len Williams' body was never recovered
Sgt. Pilot Len Williams of the Royal Australian Airforce (right of the picture) along with other mbers of the Whitley bomber which flew from Wick and was lost over the North Sea on August 6th 1942. Sgt. Pilot Len Williams' navy blue uniform from the RAAF stands out against the RAF uniform of his colleagues. Sgt. Pilot Williams died on his 21st birthday
Sgt Pilot Len Williams - Runnymede Memorial
Sgt Len Williams is remembered here:
View attachment 342
Thanks to Mike Symmonds for his work in photographing all of the Runnymede memorial.
Separate names with a comma.