Canadian Medals (except Gallantry Medals) > WW2 Memorial Cross. G.VI.R. to RCAF, LAC Williams, Killed 1 Jan 1945 at Eindhoven, Buried Groesbeek
WW2 Memorial Cross. G.VI.R. to RCAF, LAC Williams, Killed 1 Jan 1945 at Eindhoven, Buried Groesbeek

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Memorial Cross. G.VI.R. WW2

Reverse inscribed: L.A.C. J.L. B. WILLIAMS R190157.

On ribbon and in official case of issue. Joseph Leonard Benedict Williams. Died 1st Jan 1945, New Brunswick address.

Son of Fred and Ruphine M. Williams, of Albany, New York State, U.S.A.

Two airmen were killed in the German attack on Eindhoven Airfield on New Year's Day 1945:- BELL, GORDON ROSS LAC R107060 – aero engine mechanic. From Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Killed in Action Jan 1/45 age 24. #6414 Servicing Echelon. Enemy aircraft strafed and bombed the aerodrome at Eindhoven, Holland, LAC J.L. Williams was also killed. Leading AirCraftman Bell is buried in the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

Dad and his Canadian squadrons were in winter quarters at the Dutch airfield at Eindhoven (home of the famous Philips factory) sitting out the bitter weather. In his own words :-

From The People's War - "This is a day I will never forget, it was a lovely sunny day, frosty and clear. Having got to the control tower, the first job was make a fire in can and put the kettle on for the first brew of the day. Suddenly, from the West, came a line of fighters. “Yanks, hedge hopping, from Nijmegen” we said, but then these opened fire at us. They were Fockewulf 190’s. We didn’t wait for the kettle to boil, but ran to a slit trench. However, as all Holland was moist it had filled in. Felt too exposed there, so I crawled under the fire tender, which still had its engine running and exhaust fumes blew all around me. We never gave it a thought that if it had been struck we would have been covered in foam. For twenty minutes it was hectic, like in a Hollywood film, but with real bullets and bombs. They took out a lot of our Spits and other stuff although only one man was killed in our section. they lost six out of twenty aircraft"
Years later Dad was having a pacemaker fitted at the local hospital and got chatting to the chap in the next bed. After some time the conversation got around to where they were from. "St Athan" says Dad. "RAF then?" came the response."Only when it mattered" "Where we you on 1st January '45?" "Being straffed at Eindhoven" says Dad. His acqauntance gave him a strange look and quietly said ,"So was I". It transpired that the man in the next bed was just a couple of miles up the road attempting to put a Typhoon back on its legs when the raid took place. A small world.

See : https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/51/a2105551.shtml

also : http://www.rafcommands.com/database/wardead/details.php?qnum=49387

http://espritdecorps.ca/history-feature/hitlers-last-roll-of-the-dice-on-new-years-day-1945-the-luftwaffe-launched-every-plane-they-had-into-the-air

 

 

 

 

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