Sunday, May 06, 2012

Norman Francis Williams CGM DFM* 1914-2007

-->Norman Williams was a man of extraordinary courage. After the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted as an air gunner in bombers.

In March, 1942, the then Sgt Williams embarked for the UK, joining 10Sqn RAF as a tail-gunner in Halifax heavy bombers. One night in September, his aircraft was bounced by a Junkers JU-88 nightfighter. Sgt Williams coolly directed the aircraft’s evading actions by radio warnings to the pilot. Then, when an opportunity arose, he shot down the nightfighter. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal and later received a Bar to the medal.

In March, 1943, F/Sgt Williams posted to 35Sqn RAF, as one of the elite Pathfinder Force. One night, his aircraft was attacked by two enemy fighters. His turret was hit and badly damaged, while he suffered several bullet wounds. Despite his wounds, he directed the evading manoeuvres and shot down both aircraft. He made light of his injuries but when the aircraft landed, his turret had to be cut away before he could be extricated.

He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, second only to the Victoria Cross. He was commissioned in recognition of his award.

Norman Williams was an outstanding gunner and shot down another five enemy aircraft.

In April 1944, he returned to Australia, and in early 1945, posted to 23Sqn, flying B-24 Liberators against Japanese targets until the end of the war. In February 1947, he posted to 81WG Headquarters in Japan, and then demobilised in May, 1948.

In April 1952, he accepted a short-service commission as an air traffic controller. He was posted to 38Sqn at Changi, Singapore, and then to 1Sqn (Bomber) at Tengah; the following June to 91WG HQ in Iwakuni, Japan. His posting included time in Korea.

F/lt Williams returned to Australia in April 1954