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

Yesterday, 14:11
St John's Court team manger Trevor Moir, Senior Mental Health Practicioner Steve Hammond and Dr Teg Freer are pictured seated on the new bench that was presented by the Mens' Shed this week. Ref exe 0590-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A men’s social group has once again come to the rescue by hand-crafting much-needed seating for a vital local service.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:11
Hugo Swire stock picture

Hugo Swire’s election rivals have called on him to apologise after he was secretly filmed joking about welfare claimants at a Tory fundraiser.

Read more
Fri, 14:08
Rolle College, Exmouth.  Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 9254-18-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Community volunteers have sealed a deal to reopen part of the mothballed Rolle campus for the Exmouth Festival.

Read more
Fri, 09:00
A la Ronde Assistant House Steward James Weckmueller winds a Grandfather clock dating back to around 1820 which was made by David Whitelaw of Edinburgh. Every Sunday at noon during March visitors to the National Trust property can watch all the clocks in the house being wound and set. Ref exe 0537-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Visitors to A la Ronde this month have been watching the clocks at the National Trust house being wound and set.

Read more
Thu, 15:40
A rugby themed easter egg trail is taking place along the Exe Estuary

A special Easter egg hunt inspired by the Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off along the Exe Estuary Trail on Saturday, March 28.

Read more
Thu, 11:45
Ocean Blue. Ref exe 1212-33-14SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Leisure East Devon (LED) has announced it has agreed a 25-year lease to manage the Ocean Blue complex on Exmouth seafront.

Read more
Thu, 09:13
Topsham Devon Air Ambulance Trust is open for business again after a recent shop refurbishment. Cutting the ribbon is Tom Robertson, Chrissie Peel, Nigel Hare, Martin Bell and Sarah Woolfenden. Ref ext 1296-13-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

One of Topsham’s two Devon Air Ambulance shops held its grand re-opening on Saturday, March 21.

Read more
Wed, 15:11
Bus service cuts have been opposed by Budleigh Salterton Town Council.

Cuts to bus services in Budleigh Salterton could leave the town ‘cut off’ and affect its young people, representatives have warned.

Read more
Tue, 11:20
Exeter Crown Court.

An ambulance driver based in Exmouth has admitted driving on a forged licence. Eion Crowley, who was sacked from his job by managers, was given a two-year conditional discharge at Exeter Crown Court.

Read more
Tue, 09:32
Ref exe rolle college

Rolle College will almost certainly re-open in May, seven years after it was mothballed, and host the Exmouth Festival .

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

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