|Sir Thomas Williams|
|Born||27 September 1899|
|Died|| 10 June 1956 56) (aged|
|Service/|| British Army (1916–18)|
Royal Air Force (1918–53)
|Years of service||1916–53|
|Commands held|| Inspector-General of the RAF (1951–52)|
British Air Forces of Occupation (1948–51)
RAF Staff College, Bracknell (1947–48)
AHQ Bengal (1943)
RAF Watton (1940–41)
RAF Andover (1938–39)
No. 423 (Fleet Spotter) Flight (1924, 1927–29)
No. 406 (Fleet Fighter) Flight (1924–25, 1926–27)
|Battles/wars|| First World War |
Russian Civil War
Second World War
|Awards|| Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath |
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Air Medal (United States)
Air Marshal Sir Thomas Melling Williams, KCB, OBE, MC, DFC & Bar (27 September 1899 – 10 June 1956) was an ace pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, scoring nine aerial victories, and a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and the following years.
The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers, and since 1993 to other ranks, of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".
A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It most commonly indicates the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the recipient has met the criteria for receiving the medal in multiple theatres.
Williams was commissioned into the 12th South African Infantry and was in action in German West Africa in 1916 and 1917.He transferred into the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. After training as a pilot, Williams was assigned to No. 65 Squadron in France, flying Sopwith Camels. He achieved nine air victories, and was awarded the Military Cross for his "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty" during operations in 1918 in which "he destroyed three enemy aircraft and drove down two out of control." This was followed by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) later that year. The citation for the latter was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 2 November 1918, reading:
German West Africa (Deutsch-Westafrika) was a rarely used designation for the German colonies in West Africa between 1884 and 1919. The term was normally used for the territories of Cameroon and Togo. German West Africa was not an administrative unit. However, in trade and in the vernacular the term was sometimes in use.
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. During the early part of the war, the RFC supported the British Army by artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance. This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German military airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transport facilities.
No. 65 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force.
During recent operations this officer rendered most gallant and valuable service, proving himself to be a very capable and inspiring leader. On one occasion, observing three enemy railway trains, he dived, and in face of very heavy machine-gun fire seriously damaged one by a direct hit with a bomb. He then descended almost to the ground, and attacked the personnel escaping from the ruined train, scattering them in all directions. On returning to his aerodrome his machine was found to be riddled with bullets.
By the end of the war in 1918 Williams was a flight commander, a role he continued when he was assigned to the British force in North Russia, supporting anti-Bolshevik forces for which he was awarded a Bar to his DFC.After the war he commanded No. 423 Flight and then No. 406 Flight of the Fleet Air Arm. He was appointed Station Commander at RAF Andover in 1938 and served in the Second World War being one of the last RAF officers to escape from France to Britain in 1940, leaving from Brest with his Air Officer Commanding. He continued his war service as Station Commander at RAF Watton from 1940, as Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters No. 2 Group from 1941 and then as Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters RAF Bomber Command from later that year. After serving in the Far East and in India, Williams was appointed Air Officer Commanding the AHQ Bengal in 1943. He became Deputy Commander at Headquarters Eastern Air Command at Air Command South East Asia in December 1943 and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in August 1944.
The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. and is responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm recently started operating the F-35 Lightning II in a Maritime Strike Role, the AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin in both Commando and Anti-Submarine roles, and the BAE Hawk. Helicopters such as the Lynx and Westland Wasp were previously deployed on smaller vessels since 1964, taking over the roles once performed by biplanes such as the Fairey Swordfish.
RAF Andover is a former Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force station located 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Andover, Hampshire and 15.1 miles (24.3 km) north east of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
Brest is a city in the Finistère département in Brittany. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon. The city is located on the western edge of continental Europe. With 142,722 inhabitants in a 2007 census, Brest is at the centre of Western Brittany's largest metropolitan area, ranking third behind only Nantes and Rennes in the whole of historic Brittany, and the 19th most populous city in France; moreover, Brest provides services to the one million inhabitants of Western Brittany. Although Brest is by far the largest city in Finistère, the préfecture of the department is the much smaller Quimper.
After the war he became Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Bracknell and then Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief British Air Forces of Occupation before becoming Inspector-General of the RAF in 1951.Williams' air force career was cut short by ill-health and he died in June 1956.
The RAF Staff College at Bracknell was a Royal Air Force staff college active for most of the second half of the 20th century. Its role was the training of staff officers in the administrative, staff and policy aspects of air force matters. Its motto was Visu et Nisu which is Latin for by vision and effort. The equivalent in the British Army was the Staff College, Camberley and the equivalent in the Royal Navy was the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich.
The RAF Second Tactical Air Force (2TAF) was one of three tactical air forces within the Royal Air Force (RAF) during and after the Second World War. It was made up of squadrons and personnel from the RAF, the air forces of the British Commonwealth and exiles from German-occupied Europe. Renamed as British Air Forces of Occupation in 1945, 2TAF was recreated in 1951 and became Royal Air Force Germany in 1959.
The Inspector-General of the RAF was a senior appointment in the Royal Air Force, responsible for the inspection of airfields. The post existed from 1918 to 1920 and from 1935 until the late 1960s. For much of World War II, a second inspector-general post existed.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Edward Leonard Ellington, was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. He served in the First World War as a staff officer and then as Director-General of Military Aeronautics and subsequently as Controller-General of Equipment. In the inter-war years he held command positions in the Middle East, in India and then in Iraq. He served as Chief of the Air Staff in the mid-1930s and in that role he implemented a plan, known as 'Scheme F'. This scheme implemented an increase in the size of the Royal Air Force to 187 squadrons within three years to counter the threat from Hitler's Germany. He also broke up the command known as "Air Defence of Great Britain" to create RAF Fighter Command, RAF Bomber Command, RAF Coastal Command and RAF Training Command. He then served as Inspector-General of the RAF until his retirement in 1940.
Air Chief Marshal Sir William Geoffrey Hanson Salmond,, commonly known as Sir Geoffrey Salmond, was a senior commander in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. Remaining in the Royal Air Force after the war, he held senior appointments in the Middle East, Great Britain and India. In 1933 Salmond served as Chief of the Air Staff for only a matter of days before being taken ill and subsequently dying from cancer.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Thomas Geoffrey Pike, was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. He served in the Second World War as a night fighter squadron commander and then as a station commander. He was Chief of the Air Staff in the early 1960s and, in that role, deployed British air power as part of the British response to the Brunei Revolt. Also, in the face of escalating costs, he implemented the cancellation of the British Blue Streak ballistic missile system but then found the RAF was without any such capability when the Americans cancelled their own Skybolt ballistic missile system. He went on to be Deputy Supreme Commander Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in the mid-1960s.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Denis Frank Spotswood, was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force. He fought in the Second World War as a flying boat pilot and then as a coastal reconnaissance squadron commander during Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. He served as a station commander in the late 1940s and early 1950s before becoming a senior air commander in the late 1950s. As the Chief of the Air Staff in the early 1970s he had a major role in implementing the defence savings demanded by the Heath Government in the face of economic difficulties at the time.
Air Chief Marshal Sir George Holroyd Mills, was a senior Royal Air Force commander. After his retirement from the RAF, Mills served as Black Rod in the Houses of Parliament until 1970. He was also a trustee of the Imperial War Museum.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh William Lumsden Saunders, was a South African aviator who rose through the ranks to become a senior Royal Air Force commander.
Air Chief Marshal Sir James Donald Innes Hardman,, known as Donald Hardman, was a senior Royal Air Force commander. He began his flying career as a fighter pilot in World War I, achieving nine victories to become an ace. During World War II, Hardman held senior staff and operational posts. He was Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from 1952 to 1954, after which he served as a member of the British Air Council until retiring in 1958.
Air Marshal Sir Hugh Sidney Porter Walmsley, was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force during and after the Second World War. He was the final commander of the unified Royal Indian Air Force before its division upon India's independence and partition.
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Wakeling Baker, was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in the mid-20th century.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Mordaunt Foster, was a Royal Flying Corps pilot in the First World War, and a senior commander in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and the immediate post-war years.
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough was a Royal Air Force pilot during the Second World War who went on to become Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Douglas Claude Strathern Evill, was an Australian-born Royal Naval Air Service pilot and squadron commander during the First World War. Serving in the Royal Air Force between the wars, he was a senior air commander during the Second World War.
Air Vice Marshal Sir Matthew Brown Frew, was a First World War flying ace, credited with 23 aerial victories, who went on to serve as a senior officer in the Royal Air Force and South African Air Force during the Second World War.
Air Chief Marshal Sir George Clark Pirie, was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and the immediate post-war years. During the First World War, Pirie served as an infantry officer before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps where he took up duties as an observer officer.
Air Vice Marshal Hugh Granville White, was a Royal Air Force air officer. He was a First World War flying ace credited with seven aerial victories, and later went on to serve throughout the Second World War, finally retiring in 1955.
Air Vice Marshal Thomas Cathcart Traill, was a senior Royal Air Force officer. He began his military career as a midshipman in the Royal Navy, transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and rose to the rank of captain during the First World War, becoming a flying ace credited with eight aerial victories. He remained in the newly formed Royal Air Force after the war; by the time he retired in 1954, he had risen to the rank of air vice marshal.
Air Marshal Sir Victor Emmanuel Groom, was a senior officer in the British Royal Air Force and a flying ace of the First World War credited with eight aerial victories. He rose to become a consequential participant in air operations to support Operation Overlord, the invasion of France during the Second World War.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Francis Joseph Fogarty, was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War and also in the post-war years. During the First World War he served as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. He was transferred to the RAF on its creation in 1918 and remained in the service during the inter-war years.
Air Vice Marshal Colin Peter Brown & Bar was a Scottish officer who began his career in the Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War, before transferring to the Royal Air Force (RAF). A flying ace credited with 14 aerial victories, he remained in the RAF and served throughout the Second World War, retiring in 1954.
Air Vice Marshal Frederick George Darby Hards, was a Royal Air Force officer who served as Air Officer Commanding British Forces Aden from 1941 until his retirement in 1943.
| Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Bracknell |
| Succeeded by|
Sir Philip Wigglesworth
| Commander-in-Chief British Air Forces of Occupation |
| Succeeded by|
Sir Robert Foster
As C-in-C Second Tactical Air Force
Sir James Robb
| Inspector-General of the RAF |
| Succeeded by|