UK MOD searches family of WWII RAF Airman from Wales

"Wellington Mk.IA (N2887) of the CGS (Central Gunnery School) based at Sutton Bridge flying south-east of Chatteris, 24th June, 1943. (Credits: GOV UK)

“Wellington Mk.IA (N2887) of the CGS (Central Gunnery School) based at Sutton Bridge flying south-east of Chatteris, 24th June, 1943. (Credits: GOV UK)

The UK Ministry of Defence is searching for the relatives of a RAF Airman who was killed on a bombing mission during World War II.

The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) is searching for Sgt Roy Penry Williams from Glamorgan, who was a radio operator on board Wellington bomber R1397 from 103 Squadron RAF when it took off from RAF Elsham Wolds in Lincolnshire in July 1941. Its mission was to bomb the German town of Emden but Sgt Williams and the other five crew members were killed when the aircraft was shot down by enemy fire near Boznum in the Netherlands.

Wellington R1397 of 103 Squadron RAF was intercepted by the Luftwaffe when it returned from a bombing raid in Germany and shot down during the early hours of the 25th July 1941 at 03.54 hours by Oberleutnant Helmut Lent  of 4./ Nachtjagdgeschwader. All crew members were Killed in Action: P/O Mervyn Sydney Lund (23), Sgt. Arthur Edward Owen (25), Sg. John James Cox (24), Sgt. Roy Peny Williams (21), Sgt. Alfred John Le Poivedin (23) and Frank Gordon Walker (30).

The crew members were believed to be buried locally but their precise resting place was unknown. However, recent research by the JCCC, and a review of evidence submitted by the Royal Netherlands Army, has now confirmed all six airmen are buried in a communal grave at Leeuwarden Cemetery, Netherlands.

JCCC is organising a service at the cemetery on 15 September 2015 to re-dedicate two new headstones bearing the names of each individual crew member, including Sgt Williams. JCCC is now urgently looking for relatives of Sgt Williams so a personal inscription can be included on the headstone bearing his name and so they can be invited to attend the service. Sgt Williams’s last known address was in Bridgend, Glamorgan and it is also known that his family have lived previously in the Llanllyfni area of Gwynedd.

“The service in September marks the end of a great deal of analysis by theJCCC team who have been working closely with the Royal Netherlands Army. After 74 years, we would love to be able to trace Sgt Williams’s family so an inscription can be included on the headstone and so they have the opportunity to attend the service”, said Nico Nash from JCCC Commemorations Team.

Anyone who believes they may be related to Sgt Williams, or can assist with information in tracing them, can contact the UK Ministry of Defence on 07768 888663 or mail us.


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Argunners Magazine is an independent online historian and collector's magazine, dedicated to the militaria and history of both Axis and Allied powers during the World War 1 & 2. Argunners is a central resource offering the latest militaria and war history news, journals, articles and press releases related to these themes.

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