Williams, John Frederick

John Frederick Williams was born on the 5th October 1921, the third son of Gwilym Tegid & Jessie Williams (nee Unwin) who had married in a Civil Marriage or Registrar Attended Marriage in the Chester Registration District in the December quarter of 1917.

I have no information of the childhood or teenage years of John Frederick, except for his and his sibling’s entry into Hawarden Grammar School:-

Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10 –

1256/1951 WILLIAMS, Edward Unwin, Date of birth 18th April 1918, Valethorpe, Dundas Street, Queensferry, Father – Salesman, Dateh of Entry – 16th September 1929, Q’ferry Cl., £6 BT, Date of Leaving – 5th October 1934 – Surveyor.

1587/2181 WILLIAMS, Gwilym, Date of birth – 28th September 1919, 27, Dundas Street, Queensferry, Father – Tea Salesman, Date of entry 15th September 1931, Q’Ferry Cl.,  Schl. £6, Boks 10/- Date of leaving 28th July 1936 – Clerk

1694/2400 WILLIAMS, John Frederick, Date of birth – 5th October 1921, 27, Dundas Street, Queensferry,Father – Tea Salesman, Date of entry 19th September 1933 Q’Ferry Cl., Date of leaving 18th March 1938 – Articled Surveyor & Architect.  Killed 3rd September 1941 Fleet Air Arm.

2899 WILLIAMS, Ivor Christopher Date of birth – 11th April 1926, 29, Dundas Street, Queensferry, Father – Manager Bakery.  Date of entry 16th September 1937. Sealand Cl.  £1 15s  Date of Leaving – 6th October 1942 – Bank.

Some of the family are on the 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939), they were living then at 76 Station Road , Hawarden, Flintshire.  This source gives the dates of birth, and we see that the head of the household was Gwilym, who had been born on the 22nd September 1890 and he was a Bakery Manager, his wife Jessie had been born on the 22nd January 1895 and as most women who did not have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   Edward U, Williams had been born on the 18th April 1918, he was single and a Surveyor, Engineers Bridge Builders.   There are 2 redacted or closed records, and I believe these to be John Frederick and Gwilym, but why I don’t know, as they show Christopher I. Williams, born the 18th April 1926, who was at school and younger than the other 2 boys.    I have found this anomaly quite a few times on the 1939 National Register.

The newspaper cutting tells us that John Frederick left school and worked for 3 years in the County Surveyors, becoming a Junior Surveyor, that would mean that he left school at 16 and a half years in 1938 and (he must be on the 1939 National Register as a “Closed Record”) worked till he was about 19 years, and that was why he was at HM.S. Heron as it was a training facility for the Fleet Air Arm.   He must have only just been there a short while.

RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron)


In 1938, the potential of the land at Yeovilton for use as an airfield was spotted by Westland Aircraft’s chief test pilot Harald Penrose and an offer was made to buy the land. The owners, however – the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of the Church of England – refused to sell it. In 1939, the Admiralty Air Division commandeered 417 acres (169 ha) of the land and work began on the construction of the site. The runways being completed in 1941 despite problems with poor drainage. A main runway of 3,645 ft (1,111 m) and three subsidiary runways each of 3,000 ft (914 m) had been constructed.[1]

750 Naval Air Squadron was formed at RNAS Ford on 24 May 1939 from the Royal Navy Observer School, but after Ford was bombed early in the war, it moved to RNAS Yeovilton.[2] They were joined by 751 and 752 Squadrons with the Naval Air Fighter School soon following. In addition Westland Aircraft developed a repair facility at the site. From July 1940, the site was subjected to Luftwaffe bombing on several occasions. 794 Naval Air Squadron was the first to be formed at the base and served to train other squadrons to practise aerial gunnery, and part of one of the runways was marked up as a flight deck to practise landing on an aircraft carrier. 827 Naval Air Squadron was also stationed at Yeovilton operating Fairey Albacores and later Barracudas starting in May 1943, becoming the first squadron to receive Barracudas in any substantial number.[1] Several units which were preparing for embarkation were also stationed at the site during the Second World War. Because of pressure on space at the airfield, satellite sites were set up at Charlton Horethorne and Henstridge in 1942. A centre for Air Direction Radar was also established at Speckington Manor on the edge of the airfield.[1]

Royal Naval Reserve – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Second World War

On commencement of hostilities in the Second World War, the RN once again called upon the experience and professionalism of the RNR from the outset to help it to shoulder the initial burden until sufficient manpower could be trained for the RNVR and ‘hostilities only’ ratings. Again, RNR officers found themselves in command of destroyers, frigates, sloops, landing craft and submarines, or as specialist navigation officers in cruisers and aircraft carriers. In convoy work, the convoy commodore or escort commander was often an RNR officer. As in the First World War, the RNR acquitted itself well, winning four VCs.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, no more ratings were accepted into the RNVR and new intake to the RNR stopped. The RNVR became the route by which virtually all new-entry commissioned officers joined the naval service during the war – the exception being professional mariners who already held master’s tickets, who would join the RNR.[4] All new ratings would go direct to the regular Royal Navy. An intermediate form of reserve, between the professional RNR and the civilian RNVR, had been created in 1936. This was the Royal Naval Volunteer (Supplementary) Reserve, open to civilians with existing and proven experience at sea as both ratings and officers. In peacetime this carried no obligtion or requirement for service or training, being merely a register of people who could be mobilised and trained swiftly in the event of war to quickly provide a core of new personnel. By September 1939 there were around 2000 RNV(S)R members, mostly yachtsmen, who when mobilised were sent to active service after a 10-day training course while the RNVR began with a regular 12-week course for officers.

So John Frederick was to be starting a career in the Fleet Air Arm when he was involved in a Flying accident on the 2nd September 1941 and the John F. Williams in the UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 records that  – WILLIAMS, John F. Age 19, Mid (A) ROY. N. V. R., Sept 2, Nr. Bridgewater, S. Fractured Skull & multiple injuries (Seq. Flying Accident) (See below).

If my research is correct, I believe that John Frederick’s father Gwilym Tegid died in the July of 1945 (Flintshire (Mold) MOLD/45/30) and his mother Jessie in 1950 (Flintshire (Mold)    HAW/33A/25), so they would not have been alive to see his name on his school’s Roll of Honour, but was alive to suffer the loss of their third son.

He must have been loved and missed by his 3 brothers so much, but he was also remembered by his school as they made sure his name was added to the Roll of Honour which was dedicated at Hawarden Grammar School on the 3rd February 1951 with a Remembrance Service for the 47* former pupils who died in the 1939 – 1945 World War.  As recorded in the Chester Chronicle Saturday 10th February 1951.

*Author’s note, there are 46 names on the Roll of Honour, clerical error by the newspaper.

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