WILLIAMS Bernard Mathew 436323

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Lieutenant Bernard Mathew WILLIAMS

Service No: 436323
Born: Northampton WA, 20 August 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 5 December 1942
Unit: No. 149 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Methwold, Norfolk
Died: Air Operations (No. 149 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NF972), Germany, 5 March 1945, Aged 20 years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George and Rose Margaret Williams.
Roll of Honour: Wiluna WA
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Lancaster NF972 took off from Methwold at 1044 hours on the 5 March 1945, on a daytime raid detailed to bomb by G-H (radar) methods the Consolidation benzol plant at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. A report by a Missing Research and Enquiry team stated: “the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed at Bruckhausen Farm, Langhoff. Two crew members were killed and five became Prisoners of War.

The crew members of NF972 were:

Flight Sergeant Alexander Edmund London (429708) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant N E Smith (1595809) (RAFVR) Air Gunner) PoW
Sergeant W Summers (1825974) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) PoW
Flight Sergeant R Taylor (1458818) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) PoW
Sergeant E T Turner (1891751) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Lieutenant Bernard Mathew Williams (436323) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant H Wormall-Phillips (1653000) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW

A later PoW report stated “the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire on the run into the target. The starboard inner was set on fire and spread to the main plane. The aircraft broke formation but was under control and six chutes were seen by aircraft crews from No 90 Squadron (RAF). No one else baled out and the aircraft vanished into the cloud still under control.”

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9300, WILLIAMS B W