I found William Charles Powell by adding “Shotton” in the “Additional Information” on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website on the eve of Remembrance Day 2020.
I believe that William Charles had been born in the September quarter of 1920 (Truro Vol. 5c Page 232) and was the son of John & Ethel Powell (nee Sleeman), who had married in the June quarter of 1919 (Truro Vol. 5c Page 355).
William Charles Powell was to marry Mary Elizabeth Kindlin in a Civil ceremony, registered in Holywell in the June quarter of 1943. (Flintshire (Mold) HOL/68/3)
I know that Mary Elizabeth was living at 11, Woodland Street Shotton in 1939 age 15 years. The National Register taken on the 219th September 1939 gives us the information and it is this source that gives us dates of birth and occupation. Her father Patrick Kindlin had been born on the 4th April 1884 and was a builder’s Labourer, her mother Hannah Kindlin had been born on the 25th November 1982 and as most women who did not have a job was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties” and Mary Kindlin had been born on the 12th February 1924 was also doing the same as her mother “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” There is also Mary’s bother, Bernard Kindlin had been born on the 15th May 1927 and was “At School.”
I tried to find William Charles Powell and believe that I found him on the 1939 National Register living in Truro, Cornwall. Again this source gives us the dates of birth and occupation. The Powell family were living at 43 Trelander East, Truro, Truro M.B., Cornwall, England. John Powell had been born on the 13th November 1885 and was a Public Works Labourer, his wife Ethel A. Powell had been born on the 26th August 1891 and again was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Ruby M. Powell had been born on the 18th April 1919 and was described as a “Day Girl Domestic,” and was single. William C. Powell had been born on the 8th June 1920 and was a General Labourer (Heavy Work), also Trevor Powell born on the 4th November 1934 and was at school. There were 2 closed or redacted records*
* For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.
William Charles was then 19 years old and as he was on the National Register he was not involved in the war. I am assuming that he enlisted or was conscripted at some point, probably in 1940 as the Forces War Records on https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/namesearch/?FirstName=william%20charles&Surname=powell&RecordType=NotSelected&RecordDateStartYear=1700&RecordDateEndYear=2021&Step=1&ReceivedGallantryAward=False tells us that.
I am taking a leap of faith in thinking that he may have been sent for training, probably at either Sealand or Hawarden R.A.F. Stations as they were training camps. He was to become a Leading Aircraftsman who help maintain the aircraft and that was how he met Mary Elizabeth.
I believe that William Charles was stationed at some point either at Sealand Camp, or Hawarden Airfield which were training camps:-
Hawarden Airfield was established on 1st September 1939 and was one of the main RAF airfields for the UK during the ‘Battle of Britain’. RAF Hawarden was classed as of the best yet dangerous training grounds for pilots, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes. It also held the RAF’s no 48 maintenance unit and until July 1957 stored, maintained and scrapped military aircraft, including Handley Page Halifax, Vickers Wellingtons, Horsa Gliders, Avro Lancasters and de Havilland Mosquitos.
A short concrete runway was built in 1939 for test flights and a further two runways were built in spring 1941. At the end of the war, between June and September 1945 more than 1000 aircraft were brought back to Hawarden to be broken up. The RAF then ceased their operations at Hawarden on 31st March 1959.
Early history – It was originally a civilian airfield and was taken over by the military in 1916 for training. Two twin hangars, which were built in 1917, were used by the newly formed Royal Flying Corps. Originally named RFCS Shotwick and later RAF Shotwick, the station was finally named RAF Sealand during World War II.
Immediately pre-war and in the early war years, it was the home of No 5 FTS (Flying Training School), equipped with Airspeed Oxfords. During the war, the Flying Training Schools provided what was in effect intermediate training for pilots who had received ab initio training and flown solo at an EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School) and who had subsequently been inducted into the RAF. Pilots thus arrived at No. 5 FTS RAF Sealand as APOs (Acting Pilot Officers) and upon satisfactory completion of intermediate training became POs (Pilot Officers), and were prepared for posting to a squadron or OTU (Operational Training Unit). Kenneth Cross spent time at No. 5 FTS as an instructor in the early 1930s. From 5 August 1940, the CFI (Chief Flying Instructor) was Edward Mortlock Donaldson. Amongst the pilots who trained at No 5 FTS, RAF Sealand was Johnnie Johnson.
No. 30 Maintenance Unit RAF was formed there in 1939. Two years later No. 19 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) equipped with Tiger Moths was located at RAF Sealand. In 1951 the station was taken over by the United States Air Force. It was handed back to the RAF in 1957.
However on his Commonwealth War Graves Graves Registration Report, he was one of 3 R.A.F. entries, his entry gives his Unit as 2945 Sqdn R.A.F. (V.R.) but the 2945 Sqdn was crossed out and when I looked up the Squadron, they were in the Far East.
Again a leap of faith, I have listed below websites that may shine some light on his last few years before he died. As it was months after the end of WW2, I wonder if he was so poorly that he couldn’t be moved, if he had been a Prisoner of War, or he was part of the repatriation of Prisoners of War from the Camps. Any help to tell William Charles’s story would be gratefully received.
So I wonder if William was part of Maintenance as he was a Leading Aircraftman, which would explain his presence in Burma, to help maintain aircraft.
William Charles is remembered on this website:-
http://www.aircrewremembered.com/AircrewDeaths39-47/?q=Powell%2C+william&qand=&exc1=&exc2= Scroll down to get to his name.
https://www.findmypast.co.uk/articles/world-records/full-list-of-united-kingdom-records/armed-forces-and-conflict/prisoners-of-war—second-world-war-1939-1945—far-east –Prisoners of War – Second World War (1939-1945) – Far East
THE BATTLE FOR MEIKTILA
By December 1944 the XIVth Army was across the Chindwin River and preparing for what the Japanese General Kimura termed “the battle of the Irrawaddy shore” as part of his plan for the defence of Mandalay. Kimura had concentrated the bulk of his forces to defend Mandalay in the belief that it was to be attacked by the whole of the British XIVth Army.
THE BATTLE FOR MEIKTILA
CONFLICT – World War 2
COUNTRY – Burma
UNIT – 1307 Wing, 1327 Wing, 2708 Squadron, 2759 Squadron, 2941 Squadron, 2945 Squadron, 2959 Squadron, 2963 Squadron, 2964 Squadron, 2965 Squadron, 2967 Squadron, 2968 Squadron
You can apply for the record below by clicking on : –https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7159447
2945 Squadron RAF Regiment. Formed at Secunderabad (India) and moved to Feni. Part of…
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Reference: AIR 29/136/2
Description: 2945 Squadron RAF Regiment. Formed at Secunderabad (India) and moved to Feni. Part of 224 Group. Later moved to Burma and Thailand
Note: Open in 1972
Date: 1943 May-1946 June
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
Far East Air Force (Royal Air Force)
The former Royal Air Force Far East Air Force, more simply known as RAF Far East Air Force, was the Command organisation that controlled all Royal Air Force assets in the east of Asia (Far East). It was originally formed as Air Command, South East Asia in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1946, this was renamed RAF Air Command Far East, and finally Far East Air Force in June 1949. The command was disbanded on 31 October 1971.
Burma – Burma was also relatively straightforward to deal with, although more complicated than Siam. Much of the colony had been conquered several months before the war ended, in the big British offensive of summer 1945. That gave ACSEA crucial breathing space to start getting the colony back on its feet before the massive increase in occupation duties postwar occurred. RAF Burma was well established under Air Marshal Sir Hugh Saunders. At the end of the war, it had 28 squadrons under its control. This quickly reduced as the demobilisation really kicked in. Again, the transport squadrons saw the largest amount of work, evacuating POWs and internees and supplying garrisons and the civilian population. Second to the transport squadrons in workload were the photo reconnaissance aircraft. The opportunity was taken to complete the process of surveying SE Asia from the air, and using the survey to bring maps up to date. The survey was not completed until August 1947. After the clean-up immediately postwar, came the task of preparing Burma for independence. AHQ Burma moved out of Rangoon to Mingaladon on 1 January 1947. The headquarters was disbanded on 31 December 1947, and three months later Burma became independent.
2945 SQUADRON RAF REGIMENT 1944 WW2 AIR MAIL LETTERS DONCASTER TO RAF INDIA
History – The rank originated in the Royal Air Force, when it was formed in 1918. It replaced the Royal Flying Corps rank of air mechanic 1st class (which wore the same badge). It was only a trade classification until 1 January 1951, when it became a rank, although it is non-supervisory.
https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/namesearch/?FirstName=william%20charles&Surname=powell&RecordType=NotSelected&RecordDateStartYear=1700&RecordDateEndYear=2021&Step=1&ReceivedGallantryAward=False – gives us the year that he joined the R.A.F. was 1940 in the Voluntary Reserve.
I believe that Mary Elizabeth remarried after his death, as there is a clue on the 1939 National Register, a gentleman named Horace E. Cotterill. They married in the June quarter of 1948 (Holywell Vol. 8a Page 1009).
I believe that his father John Powell died in the June quarter of 1961 (St.Austell Vol. 7a Page 167) and his mother Ethel Amy Powell died in the March quarter of 1969 (St.Austell Vol. 7a Page 211), so they would have both suffered the loss of their son William Charles many years before.
I cannot find any WW2 War Memorial where William Charles is remembered, either on Deeside or Cornwall, so as his wife was from Shotton, he shouls be remembered somewhere for his sacrifice for us all, so I humbly hope that he would be include in any new Memorial for these forgotten servicemen.