Thomas Williams (RAF officer)

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Sir Thomas Williams
Born(1899-09-27)27 September 1899
Dalton, Lancashire
Died 10 June 1956(1956-06-10) (aged 56)
Ashford, Kent
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army (1916–18)
Royal Air Force (1918–53)
Years of service 1916–53
Rank Air Marshal
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
Military Cross
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)
Spouse(s) Patricia Williams

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.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

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.

Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom) military decoration of the United Kingdom

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".

Medal bar

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.

Military career

Williams was commissioned into the 12th South African Infantry and was in action in German West Africa in 1916 and 1917. [1] He transferred into the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. [1] After training as a pilot, Williams was assigned to No. 65 Squadron in France, flying Sopwith Camels. [1] He achieved nine air victories, [2] 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." [3] 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: [4]

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.

Royal Flying Corps former air warfare service of the British Army

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 RAF

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. [1] After the war he commanded No. 423 Flight and then No. 406 Flight of the Fleet Air Arm. [1] 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. [1] 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. [1] After serving in the Far East and in India, Williams was appointed Air Officer Commanding the AHQ Bengal in 1943. [1] 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. [1]

Fleet Air Arm aviation branch of the British Royal Navy

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

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, France Subprefecture and commune in Brittany, France

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. [1] Williams' air force career was cut short by ill-health and he died in June 1956. [1]

RAF Staff College, Bracknell

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.

RAF Second Tactical Air Force

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.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Air Marshal Sir Thomas Williams". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. 17 June 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  2. The Aerodrome
  3. Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September 1918
  4. Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 November 1918
Military offices
Preceded by
Arthur Sauders
Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Bracknell
1947–1948
Succeeded by
Donald Hardman
Preceded by
Sir Philip Wigglesworth
Commander-in-Chief British Air Forces of Occupation
1948–1951
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Foster
As C-in-C Second Tactical Air Force
Preceded by
Sir James Robb
Inspector-General of the RAF
1951–1952
Succeeded by
Stephen Strafford