Charles Rowland WILLIAMS DFC


WILLIAMS, Charles Rowland

Service Number: 405224
Enlisted: 3 February 1941
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: No. 617 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Townsville, Queensland, Australia, 19 March 1909
Home Town: Townsville, Townsville, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Grazier
Died: KIA 'Operation Chastise' The Dams Raid, Heeren-Herken, Germany, 17 May 1943, aged 34 years
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, International Bomber Command Centre Memorial, Townsville Grammar School War Service Honour Roll
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World War 2 Service

3 Feb 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 405224, Aircrew Training Units
1 Mar 1941: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman
19 Sep 1941: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant
22 Sep 1941: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, Commissioned.
20 Sep 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer
16 May 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 405224, No. 617 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
16 May 1943: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 405224, No. 617 Squadron (RAF), Killed in Action.

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Charles Roland WILLIAMS, DFC (1909-43)

Charlie Williams was born in Townsville Queensland, in 1909.  Born into a pastoral family he seemed destined to become a grazier running sheep in Queensland's arid outback like his father Horace.

However the Great Depression and the then the Second Waorld War caused a dramatic shift in his trajectory in life and he enlisted into the RAAF aged 31, in early 1941.

Selected for Aircrew and screened for Wireless Operator training under the Empire Air Training Scheme he found himslef in the United Kingdom.  He was assigned to No. 61 Squadron RAF where among other people, he encounted Norm Barlow, although they didn't fly together,  Williams had a reputation as a goood reliable Operator.  Both men had completed a Tour of Operations by early 1943.

When Barlow was selected for No. 617 Squadron, he needed a Wireless Operator and he approached Charlie Williams to join his crew.  Their aircraft was Lancaster tail number ED-927, Squadron codes AJ-F(for 'Easy').  When the Operation Order was issued, Barow was leading the second wave of five aircraft.

At around 2350hrs (11:00pm) E for Easy had made their scheduled turn at Rees flying at tree top level, when it is believed the aircraft was hit by light flack, and while Barlow was attempting to gain some height, it hit an electricity pylon near Heeren Herken, slammed into the ground and exploded and burned.  All of the crew perished, with Williams and Barlow the only Australians lost on the raid.  The bomb dislodged and rolled away from the crash site intact, from where it was recovered by Luftwaffe Intelligence for detailed analysis.



BURGESS, Colin, "Australia's Dambusters" 2021, Simon & Schuster Sydney.  ISBN9781760859237