Roberts Stanley Williams was born on the 9th June 1919 and baptised at St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden, on the 29th June the same year, he was the son of William & Mary Ethel Williams (nee Bouckley), Garden City, Electrical Labourer.
Robert Stanley was to have 2 sisters, Hilda, born in the March quarter of 1925 and baptised on the 15th February 1925 at St. Andrews, but the entry was recorded in the St. Ethelwold’s Parish Registers and Mary Ethel, born in the June quarter of 1928 and baptised on the 1st May 1928, the address on both was 8, River Dee Cottages, Queensferry, William being a Labourer.
I have no information on his early years, I would appreciate any information him so his story can be told.
Sadly his father William died on the 28th June 1939 age 43 according to his Gravestone:-
“In Loving Memory of William the Beloved Husband of Mary Ethel WILLIAMS, died June 28th 1939 aged 43 years. “Loves greatest gift Remembrance,” also Flt/Sergeant R.S, WILLIAMS son of the above, killed in action 13th August 1944, age 25 years”
The National Register* was taken on the 29th September 1939 and I find his mother Mary Ethel living at 8 Dee Cottages Welsh Road , Hawarden. This source gives her date of birth as the 7th September 1897, she is a widow and also, as most married or widowed women who do not have a job, as doing “House Duties Unpaid.” Hilda Williams’s date of birth was the 5th January 1925, she was single and a Daily Maid, this source tells us she was to marry a gentleman named Shone**. Mary Ethel’s date of birth is given as the 7th February 1928 and she is still at school, again, this source tells us that she was to marry a gentleman name Wainwright. There are 2 redacted or closed records, I do not know who they are.
*I downloaded 2 copies of the National Register, both from Find my Past, but one didn’t have Robert Stanley on as there were 2 redacted records, but the other one had him and another person on, so just keep looking! When he was conscripted or enlisted I do not know, any help would be appreciated.
**St. Ethelwold’s Church Parish Register – Marriages.
Page 33 No,. 65 16th September 1944 Edgar SHONE, 23, Bachelor, R.A.F., 53, Green Lane, Shotton, Edgar SHONE, Labourer & Hilda WILLIAMS, 19, Spinster, 8, River Dee Cottages, William WILLIAMS#, Crane Driver. (After Banns)
Witnesses :- Eric WILLIAMS & Eveline NOAKES
#Although the Vicar didn’t note that William had died 5 years before, this often happens.
However, when I looked for the Operational Records* of 100 Squadron for August 1944 and downloaded them, I found the fateful flight and 2 other previous flights that Robert Stanley took part in with some of the crew that was on the fateful mission to Brunswick on the 12/13th August 1944.
*Please get in touch with the website if you would like me to send them to you.
I found them on the National Archives website – http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8385087
Excerpt from the Operations Record Books:- 12/13th August 1944 Appendix.178 BRUNSWICK: (Page 20 of the PDF) – Take off at 21.45. In this night raid crews were instructed to bomb blind on H25, and over the target area 10/10ths cloud was found with tops to 10/12000 ft, and good visibility above. No observation of results was, of course possible, but the glow of considerable fires over a large area was seen from a great distance on the homeward journey. The attack was scattered, but the target area received a considerable weight of bombs. There was moderate heavy flak in the target area and one of our aircraft F/O EVANS, was slightly damaged. On the homeward journey two of our aircraft engaged enemy aircraft with reply, but no claims were made. One aircraft F/L PASTON-WILLIAMS and 2nd Pilot HOLLAND failed to return. Detailed 7. Primary 6 Missing 1. Bombs dropped 5 tons H.E. and 16 tons incendiaries.
Lanc *111 “W” LM.658** F/L PASTON-WILLIAMS H. Captain
F/L HOLLAND. C. 2nd Pilot (115325 – Pilot – Christopher)
Sgt. DOWNIE J.A. F/E
P/O HOOD G. NAV.
P/O RAMSDEN B. A/B (55792 – Air Bomber – Benjamin)
F/S WATTS L.R. WO/AIR (1316752 – Wireless Operator – Lawrence Roy)
Sgt. WILLIAMS R.S. MU/G (1502966 – Air Gunner – Robert Stanley)
CAN.J.26845 F/O DAVID B.A. R/G
** This was typed as LM 568 on the Operational Records Book – a typo, which can be excused in those hectic awful days – bless them.
Details above in Brackets courtesy of RAF and Commonwealth Air Forces Roll of Honour – The Unaccounted Airmen Project : –
Robert was on a raid on an Oil Refinery Storage Depot, PAUILLAC on the 4th August (Page 5 on the 100 Squadron PDF which I downloaded.) on Lanc. III “P” LM.622 taking off at 13.30 and returning at 21.30 (Page 6 of the PDF)
F/L PASTON- WILLIAMS, H.
Sgt. DOWNIE J.A
P/O GLADMAN L.H
F/S/ RAMSDEN B.,
F/S WATTS L.R.
Sgt. WLLIAMS, R.S.
CANADIAN .J.26845 F/C DAVID B.A.
Also on the 5th August more or less the same crew were flying again, a raid on the Oil Refinery Storage Depot, PAUILLAC, taking off at 14.25 and returning at 22.10 in Lanc III “R” ND.634. (Page 9 of the PDF)
CREW:- F/L PASTON-WILLIAMS H. Captain
Sgt. DOWNIE J.A. F/E
P/O HOOD G. NAV.
P/O RAMSDEN B. A/B
F/S WATTS L.R. WO/AIR
Sgt. WILLIAMS R.S. MU/G
CANADIAN .J.26845 F/O DAVID B.A. R/G
No more flights before the fateful flight on the 12/13th August 1944. (Page 20 of the PDF)
I only found 4 of the crew of LM658 in the Commonwealth War Graves Database, so I began to wonder what had happened to the other 4 crew, as I have found that not every crash has all fatalities, some escape or are taken prisoner etc., so I emailed a request for help to the RAF Forums, below, and thanks to Simon from http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?25991-LM-568-100-Squadron-13th-August-1944-(Moved) who sent me links to 2 websites below set me on this path with other links to other websites.
Flight Sergeant 1502966 Robert Stanley Williams RAFVR (Age 25)
Lancaster LM658 Crew List
Avro Lancaster LM 658 (HW-W)
Crew List and Summary of Established Personal Details
Age and status details as of 12/08/44
Thanks again to Simon – see above.
I clicked on the above lists and found out so much more that has added to Robert Stanley’s story, I have found out that he liked to be called Stan by friends and family, please read his story, it is so much in more detail that I could get in the short time I research each serviceman, so I am so grateful to Mr. A.J. Barrow, who researched the Crew of LM 658 and who found the grave of Gerald Hood, while walking in the woods, who was the Navigator on the fateful flight, and was injured in the crash, and escaped capture with help from the Resistance in the Netherlands, please click on the link below to read his story. It makes you so proud of these young men who sacrificed so much for our freedom today. Many thanks to Mr. A. J.Barrow for his dedication to finding out the truth of what happened.
I wrote to Mr. A.J. Barrow to see if he will allow me to put Stan’s (Robert Stanley) photograph on his page, which was given to Mr. Barrow by Stan’s niece, Pauline Ellis (nee Shone), when she allowed him to add Stan’s photo to his website on the Flight of LM658 and the obit of Stan. However, I feel I cannot add the photograph to the page without Pauline Ellis’s permission, as it was a very valued family photograph. He kindly allowed me to add as much as I wanted from his website and research, so many thanks for his generosity.
“Possibly injured in the attack by the enemy night fighter or during his attempt to escape from the burning aircraft, Stan was rendered unconscious and though blown clear of the aircraft he never opened his parachute.”
Thanks to the wonderful research by Mr. A.J. Barrow, we now know what happened to the rest of the crew, many thanks to him for his dedication in finding out the fate of LM658 and more:-
Flight Lieutenant 83930 Harold (Bill) Paston-Williams (RAFVR)
Baled out & evaded (Hengelo) age 33
Died 25/12/76 Truro Cornwall
Flight Lieutenant 115325 Christopher Holland (RAFVR)*
Killed in crash (on “second dickie” or operational familiarisation trip) age 21
Please click on the link to read his story http://www.lancaster-lm658.co.uk/lancaster-lm658-crew-list/flight-lieutenant-christopher-holland/#.XsKoO_9KiM8
Flying Officer J/26845 Bruce Arnold David (RCAF)
Baled out & captured, survived as P.O.W. (Stalag luft I, Barth) age 23
Pilot Officer 178869 Gerald Hood (RAFVR)*
Baled out age 22 and evaded until capture 03/45
Executed 21/03/45 near Almelo age 23
*Please click on the link to read his story http://www.lancaster-lm658.co.uk/the-hood-story/#.XsJf2_9KiM8
Pilot Officer 55792 Benjamin Ramsden (RAF)
Killed in crash age 31 (Headstone and CWGC states age incorrectly as 35)
Flight Sergeant 1316752 Laurence Roy Watts (RAFVR)
Killed in crash age 23
Flight Sergeant 1367061 John A. Downie (RAFVR)
Baled out & evaded (Hengelo) age 31
Died – 2000 Kilmarnock Ayrshire
On the website – https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/125477/
INTERNATIONAL BOMBER COMMAND CENTRE – LOSSES DATABASE – Robert Stanley Williams is also remembered and you can find out more by clicking on the link, such as the reason for the plane coming down:-
Excerpt from the above page:- Reason for Loss – Lost navigation aids outbound but continued. Hit by flak three times during and after the bombing run and eventually set on fire. Then attacked twice by a night fighter before the pilot ordered the crew to bale out.
The only thing that might add to Stan’s story is the early information that I have added.
However his mother, Mary Ethel, obviously was heartbroken as she had already suffered the loss of William, her husband, as was his sisters, Hilda and Mary Ethel.
I believe that Hilda was to marry on the 16th September 1944 to Edgar Shone, who was in the R.A.F. and Mary Ethel was to marry on the 30th July 1949 to Ellis Wainwright, both in St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton.
Stan’s mother, Mary Ethel, was to live to the wonderful age of 100 and died on the 29th March 1998, so had carried her great loss of her only son, Stan, for 54 years.
The family made sure he would be remembered by adding his name to the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial for him to be remembered in perpetuity.
GOD’S GREATEST GIFT, REMEMBRANCE. YOUR LOVING MOTHER