Although the story featured in this article is a tragic one I must confess to a degree of excitement in the way in which it has reached me. Because these articles go on the internet readers access them across the world. I was pleased therefore that Ray Blom, a retired USAF Airman, who now lives in San Antonio, Texas, found my article on Cefn y bedd Mill to be of relevance to his family research. Ray wants to self-publish a book which enables his grandchildren to learn about their British heritage. As his family has links with the Mill he found my material of use. However, I am immensely indebted to him for the information which he has provided about one of our names on the Second World War Memorial – that of Pilot Officer Glyn Williams. The story has a particular pertinence because we have now reached 2020: the year in which we will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
According to Ray, Glyn was the only child of John and Lillian Williams who lived on Caia Farm near Gresford. Glyn was just ten years old when his father died of pneumonia. At an uncertain later date Lillian married Maelor Davies, the miller of Cefn-y-bedd, who already had three children of his own. Maelor had built the house called Tegfan in Hawarden Road, Abermorddu, which has a date-stone of 1922. This was the family home and Glyn spent his teenage years there, giving him a direct link with Abermorddu.
According to Glyn’s military record he attended Hawarden County School, Ray has the certificate showing Glyn satisfied the examination of seven subjects in the English language in July 1939. Ray also has Glyn’s military records which document his employment as a Bank Teller at the National Provincial Bank in Chester until early 1941. Next he entered Hertford College, Oxford to study Banking, Accounting, and Economics. He entered Military Service on August 20, 1941, was accepted for RAF flight training on April 18th 1942 at the Air Crew Reception Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground in St John’s Wood, London. Glyn then spent nearly two years of flight training in Canada, before returning to England.
It wasn’t long after coming back, that Glyn qualified as a Mosquito pilot, and was assigned to RAAF Squadron 464. This squadron was actually a unit of the Royal Australian Air Force. During the war, Commonwealth members provided military units which were then integrated into the RAF, and this was one of them. Available British airmen were then assigned wherever needed. Ray has made use of previously classified material to trace Glyn’s involvement in the activities of 464 Squadron from the time when he was first assigned on 4th April 1944 until 3rd December, when, tragically, he failed to return from a night mission. Copies of the records themselves have not been forwarded to me but it is clear that Ray has managed to provide a summary of activities. The daily logs include details for all sorties by date, the aircraft tail number, crew, take off and return times and a sentence or two concerning each assigned mission and its success or failure. Although all the missions of P/O Williams may not have been captured it is clear that he was extensively involved in night time bombing raids of strategic locations with his Navigator Flight Sergeant J. Dunn.
There can be little doubt that Glyn was actively involved in the flights which were associated with the D Day landings of 6th June 1944. The primary role of the Mosquitoes was to find and attack all vehicle and train movements in front of the advancing allied troops. The attacks were conducted at night, with rail yards, road junctions, bridges and forested areas (known to be storage locations for equipment and fuel) being additional targets. The missions were of immense importance to the advancing Allied Armies at this crucial moment in the Second World War.
By the end of August 1944 P/O Williams had completed one operational tour of fifty missions and, together with his navigator, they both volunteered for a second tour. In the meantime, however, he took steps to cement his relationship with Joyce Fleckney, a Radio Telephonist whom he had met at the local Gravesend Co-op Dance some time earlier. The couple frequently met at the local NAFEE, where enlisted troops snacked and relaxed together.
Glyn finished his operational tour in August of 1944 and had a month off. It was during that time that the couple visited Glyn’s family at Tegfan and Joyce’s family in Luton. They may actually have become engaged to be married prior to these visits.
In September Glyn’s unit was moved from Gravesend to Thorney Island because the increasing number of German ‘Doodlebugs’ that posed a threat. Meanwhile, Joyce’s Air Defence Unit moved to Gillingham, Kent which she considered to be ‘miles from anywhere’. They did plan to marry after the War, but then one evening Glyn suddenly turned up at the gate in Gillingham and they brought the marriage date forward. Extensive preparations were made during a period of leave and the couple were actually married on 20th November, 1944 at Stopsley, near Luton.
The tragedy is that that in little more than a week after the wedding Glyn was missing. He, and Navigator Flying Sargent J. Dunn, departed at 10.55 on the evening of 2nd December 1944 to bomb targets near Arnhem and never returned. The next day a policeman visited the camp where Joyce was based in Gillingham and broke the sad news. Joyce was given leave and went to stay with Glyn’s mother and step-father for a few days at their home, Tegfan, in Abermorddu. Joyce apparently was rather poorly and it was later discovered that she was pregnant. She must have been well received by the Davies family because she returned to stay at Tegfan for a while although she never returned to active duty.
Joyce received her discharge in Luton in March of 1945. Two months after the end of the War the RAF finally changed Glyn’s status from ‘Missing’ to ‘Deceased’. Joyce gave birth to a daughter, Susan, in late July 1945. Many years later Susan married Ray Blom, a USAF airman assigned to RAF Chicksands, in October 1963. After a career in the Air Force, they have now settled in San Antonio, Texas. Thanks again go to Ray for this valuable information about one of our World War Two fallen servicemen.
P.O. Glen Williams’s remains together with those of his Navigator F/Sgt. J. Dunn are interred in side-by-side graves in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordhein-Westfalen, Germany.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the policy of either Flintshire County Council or Hope Community Council. Readers are welcome to contact the author with any news or views on the local heritage at DHealey204@aol.com or by telephoning 01978 761 523.