Williams, John Edwin Ashley "Willy"

Date of birth:
May 6th, 1919 (Wellington, New Zealand)
Date of death:
March 29th, 1944
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Graves Poznan
Plot: 8. Row: D. Grave: 1.
Service number:
New Zealander (1907-1947, Dominion UK)


Squadron Leader John Williams was an air ace during the Second World War.
He served in the Middle East and North Africa with the Royal Air Force. He commanded No. 450 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for three days, before he was captured in 1942 when his Kittyhawk was shot down during a strafing mission in North Africa in October 1942 and was among the Allied prisoners of war murdered by the Gestapo, following "The Great Escape", in 1944.

March 26th, 1938: acting Pilot Officer;
January 17th, 1939: Pilot Officer;
August 14th, 1939: acting Flight Lieutenant;
November 20th, 1939: acting Flying Officer;
August 17th, 1940: Flying Officer;
August 17th, 1941: Flight Lieutenant (war subs.);
October 28th, 1942: acting Squadron Leader.

March 26th, 1938: Short service commission, General Duties Branch, Royal Air Force;
October 23rd, 1938: Central Flying School;
December 23rd, 1938: No. 9 Flying Training School;
April 1st, 1939: No. 13 Flying Training School;
April 9th, 1939: No. 10 Flying Training School;
September 10th, 1940: No. 21 Service Flying Training School;
October 10th, 1940: Erection Party, Durban;
January 19th, 1942: No. 71 Operational Training Unit;
April 11th, 1942: No. 112 Squadron;
April 22nd, 1942: No. 94 Squadron;
May 12th, 1942: No. 260 Squadron;
June 14th, 1942: No. 450 (RAAF) Squadron;
October 28th, 1942: Commanding Officer, No. 450 (RAAF) Squadron;
October 31st, 1942: MIA;
November 1st, 1942: POW.

Shot down aircraft:
June 18th, 1942: Junkers Ju 87, near Gambut;
June 18th, 1942: Messerschmitt Bf 109, near Gambut;
July 5th, 1942: Junkers Ju 88, I./Lehrgeschwader 1
September 12th, 1942: Junkers Ju 87, southwest of Maghra;
September 12th, 1942: Junkers Ju 87, southwest of Maghra.
Damaged aircraft:
September 1st, 1942: Messerschmitt Bf 109E.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Acting Squadron Leader
No. 450 (RAAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
September 23rd, 1942
Awarded for:
Operation Escape 200
"In September, 1942, Fit. Lt. Williams led his squadron in an attack on a formation of Stukas, strongly escorted by fighters. Displaying great determination he personally destroyed two Stukas. Again, when participating in a defensive patrol over Trigh Capuzzo his formation was attacked by hostile fighter aircraft. He singled one out and pursued it almost to Tobruk, where he destroyed it. He has since destroyed a fourth enemy aircraft."
Published on March 16th, 1943, as awarded on September 23rd, 1942.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Second World War (1939-1945)
Acting Squadron Leader
No. 450 (RAAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
June 8th, 1944
Mentioned in Despatches
Posthumously awarded