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Williams, Sydney

Sydney Williams was on the War Memorial as simply WILLIAMS, S., just as are all the others, Surname and Initial, but he was one of 9 names that I was struggling with no information, so I appealed to the Leader for help on the 18th June 2018, and I was contacted by an old friend, Sarah (Sadie) Millington, who, with her late husband Walter, had done sterling work on the Monumental Inscriptions with the Clwyd Family History Society and had books published with all this information on, which have proved invaluable in the past.   Walter Millington, himself, had suffered the loss of his father Walter in WW2 and who’s name is also on the Memorial, please click on the link to read his story.   On seeing the name S. WILLIAMS, it had struck a cord with Sadie, and she got in touch to say that she might have some little information about him.

As it proved, she was to open the door to Sydney’s part in the war and I will be eternally grateful for Sadie’s help.   The information was on his family’s gravestone.

“In Loving Memory of Agnes May beloved wife of Charles H. SHAW, died Oct. 17 1956 aged 47 years, also Ethel COLLINS, died 21 August 1960 aged 46 years..   Right Curb – Edward WILLIAMS, died Sept.1 st 1951 aged 78 years.    Margaretta WILLIAMS died July 28th 1955 aged 78 years.    Left Curb – and brother Sydney, Killed in Action over Germany, October 9th 1943, aged 29 years.   Sgt. Air Gunner, R.A.F.”   Foot-  “In Loving Memory of our dear Father & Mother.” 

Sydney was the son of Edward & Margaretta Williams (nee Jones), who, I believe, married in the Neath District of Glamorganshire in 1895, but this certificate would have to be purchased to confirm/deny. (Neath, Glamorganshire Vol.  11a Page 1267).

They can be seen on the 1901 census living at 19, Walters? Road, Llantwit Lower, Glamorganshire, Edward, 28, was a Steel Smelter, Margretta, was 23, and their 2 children,  David E., 5, Edward Ph. 3 and Edwards’s father Elias Williams, age 71 and a Widower, were in the household, all the family had been born in Neath.

By the 1911 census they had moved to 36 Fron Road , Connah’s Quay, Flintshire (6 rooms),  Edward, 38,  was head of the household, and Margaretta 33, tell us that they had been married for 15 years and 6 children had been born to them, and they were all still living.   Edward was Bilingual, the rest of the family only spoke English.   The children,now one working, were David E. 16, a Helper Shearer, Phillip (sic) 13, John, 9, Beatrice, 7, Edward, 5, all at school and Agnes age 2.  Incidentally, this census was the first time that the householder had to fill in the census form, so Edward did it and his handwriting is beautiful, see below.

Sydney was born on the 16th October 1914, according to the 1939 National Register, (which was taken on the 29th September 1939, the war having been declared on the 3rd September.)

Sydney is seen on the National Register, but as there was no published Census after the 1911 census, I do not know anything about his youth or early life, so any information would be gratefully received, so he will be remembered.

1939 National Register

Williams Household (9 People)

36 Fron Road , Connah’s Quay U.D., Flintshire, Wales

Edward Williams               04 Mar 1873        Male      Steel Worker H W            Married                10           1

Margaretta  Williams      01 Mar 1878        Female Unpaid Domestic Duties               Married                10           2

Sidney  Williams               16 Oct 1914         Male      Steel Sheet Worker H W               Single    10           3

David E Williams               13 Feb 1896        Male      Steel Swelter H W            Widowed            10           4

Sorry, this record is officially closed. Check if you can open a closed record.

Sorry, this record is officially closed. Check if you can open a closed record.

Mary     Chesters (Williams)         30 May 1922       Female Art Silk Spinner Single    10           7

Agnes   Shaw     13 Mar 1909        Female Unpaid Domestic Duties               Married                10           8

Jean       Grieves (Shaw) 12 Jul 1938           Female Under School Age            Single    10           9

I do not know when Sydney enlisted or was conscripted, but he was to be in the 102 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Bomber Command, and I downloaded from the National Archives the Operations book for the 102 Sqdn for the month of October 1943, and on the night of the 8th October , Sydney’s Halifax 11 HR.927 “N” with the crew F/S R. ELLIS,  Pilot; Sgt. J. ROWLATT, Nav.; Sgt. J. WOOLLERTON, W/OP.; Sgt J.M. BUCHANAN, A/G.; Sgt. S. WILLIAMS, A/G.; Sgt. T.G. PALLGRAVE , Eng.; and Sgt. J. MASON,Bom.   (If you would like the Operations Book for October, 1943, please contact the website.)

They were “Up” at 22.50; – Aircraft Missing, no news after take off.

From Sydney’s Grave Registration Report Form on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission pages for Sydney, it shows that 2 of Sydney’s crew are buried with him, in Graves 1 and 2 , Sydney being in the 3rd Grave on Plot V, Row B, all dying on the 9th October 1943 and presumably died and buried at the same time.

I then wondered about the rest of the Crew and as usual, I asked the WW2 talk Forum the question – “Did they all die?” and  if they could shed any light on the fate of the Halifax and the Crew.    As usual they were to answer the question and more.  http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/did-they-all-die.73801/#post-792287

“Alieneyes” replied telling me that there was a message from Don Mason regarding his father James Mason, (see the Crew list), which tells more of the story about the flight :- No 102 Squadron RAF Halifax VI, No 4 Group Bomber Command 1944-45

Don Mason. – My dad was a bomb aimer in Halifax HX173 DY-N out of Pocklington. He was shot down on 8th October 1943 over Lichtenhorst, on the way home from Hanover. It was his 13th op (unlucky 13?). He was one of four survivors (obviously, otherwise I would not be here to tell the tale), baling out through the bomb bay doors as other exits were impossible to reach. After the war he became a Baptist Minister and died in 2002.           Many thanks to them all.

http://www.aircrewremembered.com/AlliedLossesIncidents/?q=hx173

Buchanan, J McN  Sergeant  Bomber Command 102 Sqd  Crashed S of Lichtenhorst           PoW
Mason, J  Sergeant   Bomber Command                102 Sqd  Crashed S of Lichtenhorst           PoW
Rowlatt, H F  Sergeant  Bomber Command  102 Sqd  Crashed S of Lichtenhorst                   PoW
Woolerton, J  Sergeant    Bomber Command  102 Sqd  Crashed S of Lichtenhorst                 PoW

https://ru-clip.net/video/ikULJPFM-pU/no-102-squadron-raf-halifax-vi-no-4-group-bomber-command-1944-45.html

Again “TD” from the WW2talk Forum was able to add to the story, telling us that from the UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 they were paired off to different Prisoner of War Camps.  Many thanks to him.

To find out more, click on the link:- Prisoners of War Camp Mühlberg (Stalag IV B)  https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/433/Prisoners-of-War-Camp-M%FChlberg-Stalag-IV-B.htm

Name: J Mason

Rank: Flight Sergeant

Army Number: 1339448

Regiment: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

POW Number: 259886

Camp Type: Stalag

Camp Number: 4B

Camp Location: Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany

Section: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

 

Name: H F Rowlatt

Rank: Flight Sergeant

Army Number: 1389625

Regiment: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

POW Number: 259906

Camp Type: Stalag

Camp Number: 4B

Camp Location: Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany

Section: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

 

To find out more about this Cam, go to :- Life as a German POW at Stalag Luft III  –https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/blog/2015/04/02/life-as-a-german-pow-at-stalag-luft-iii

Name: J Mc N Buchanan

Rank: Flight Sergeant

Army Number: 1351233

Regiment: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

POW Number: 259853

Camp Type: Stalag Luft 3

Camp Number: L3

Camp Location: Sagan and Belaria, Poland

Section: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

 

Seems to be slightly different spellings of his surname

Name: J Woollerton (Sometimes Woolerton)

Rank: Flight Sergeant

Army Number: 1035101

Regiment: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

POW Number: 259925

Camp Type: Stalag Luft 3

Camp Number: L3

Camp Location: Sagan and Belaria, Poland

Section: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

I have no knowledge of how they fared the war, I do hope there was a happy ending for someone.

I am so glad that Sadie saw the newspaper article, otherwise Sydney’s story may never have been told.    Thanks Sadie.

His family made sure his name would live on as they added him to the War Memorial, so he was well loved and missed so much.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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