Bomber Command campaigner honoured

09:13 20 February 2014

Joe is seen (left) receiving his certificate from (Retired) Air Vice Marshall Pat O’ who is President of the Wales, Midlands and South West Area of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA).

Joe is seen (left) receiving his certificate from (Retired) Air Vice Marshall Pat O’ who is President of the Wales, Midlands and South West Area of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA).

Archant

One of the few surviving members of Bomber Command has been awarded the Royal Air Force Association’s highest honour for 63 years of relentless campaigning to get his fallen comrades recognised.

World War Two warrant officer Joe Williams, 92, from Exton, was presented with the RAFA National Presidential Certificate by Retired Air Vice Marshall Pat O’Reilly at Exmouth’s RAFA Club.

Mr Williams, who served as a wireless operator and tail gunner in a seven-man Lancaster Bomber crew which flew on countless sorties over occupied Europe, has been honoured for his vision to build a permanent tribute to all bomber crews.

Although the Queen has unveiled a tribute in Green Park, London, Mr Williams founded the Bomber Command Beachy Head Committee because he believed that a memorial at Beachy Head near Eastbourne was a more fitting site.

He says it was the last sight of England ever seen by more than half the bomber crews – of all the services, Bomber Command suffered the heaviest losses with 55,575 men dying out of 110,000, a less than a one-in-two chance of survival.

The lack of recognition for the crews stems from the controversy of the area bombing of German cities.

The USAF would bomb by day and the RAF by night – but, until 1942, technology did not allow for any more precise targeting than, at best, a district of a town by night bombing.

And because all large German cities like Dresden, Duisburg and Brunswick contained important industrial districts they were considered legitimate targets.

But Mr Williams is in no doubt that a protracted war would have cost thousands more lives.

He told the Journal: “It‘s been a scandal they were not recognised for 60 years.

“The survivors of Bomber Command have endured the denigration of their undoubted and decisive contribution to victory in the war.

“Sadly, over all those years, many veterans have passed on, bearing that denigration to the end of their lives.

“A Bomber Command tribute at Beachy Head helped restore the proper place in history that those lost deserve.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Exmouth Kite Festival. Ref exe 7249-23-09AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The Exmouth Kite Festival returns to the Imperial Recreation Ground at the end of the month, following a two-year break.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:33
Inese Stepanova from I Nova was clearly delighted with her second award of the evening. This award was for the New Business of the Year which she collected with her friend. Ref exe 7770-22-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Pictures:

Read more
Yesterday, 09:32
A concert was held at the Bicton Inn to raise funds for victims of the Nepal earthquake

A concert at the Bicton Inn, Exmouth, raised funds for victims of an earthquake in Nepal.

Read more
Mon, 09:21
Exmouth's county  election map?

Exmouth’s influence on county bosses could be blunted under plans to redraw the electoral map.

Read more
Mon, 09:00
Budleigh Salterton beach.

Budleigh Salterton beach is still at risk of failing new water quality tests, the Environment Agency has warned.

Read more
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Anna Reffell and Lee Atkinson, who are getting married on a cycle from John O'Groats to Lands End.

An Exmouth couple are preparing to tie the knot on a two-wheeled adventure - when they get married during a charity cycle ride.

Read more
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Dan Lavery of the Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1231-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Dan Lavery is determined Devon Freewheelers will help save lives – as a Belfast ‘hidden hero’ undoubtedly helped saved wife Shelley’s life in 2005.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Image of the proposed new building at St Peter's Primary School.

A major expansion is beginning at St Peter’s Primary School this week - as builders move in to begin work on new classrooms.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Sam Bader

Dad-of-one Sam Bader, 28, who grew up in Ottery St Mary, supports Devon Freewheelers by sponsoring one of the motorbikes, Bravo One.

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

Independent councillors call for extraordinary meeting to debate the office relocation

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life
Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder