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Edwin John Williams

Marlborough War Memorial Second World War Fountain - Image provided by John Halpin 2017, CC BY John Halpin

Marlborough War Memorial Second World War Fountain - Image provided by John Halpin 2017, CC BY John …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Edwin John AWMM
  • Surname
    Williams AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ39298 AWMM
    • WWII 39298 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Edith J. Williams (mother), 11A Kerr Street, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Europe (Air) AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Air Force AWMM
  • Service number
    • NZ39298 AWMM
    • WWII 39298 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM
    Killed on air operations AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Son of Edwin John and Edith Williams, of Waimate, Canterbury. Husband of Alice Selena Williams. AWMM
    • Edwin John Williams married Alice Selina Williams and they had one son, who was born after Ted left for England. He was serving with the RCAF 405 Squadron on the night of the 28/29th December 1941 his plane was one of 86 Wellington and 81 Hampton bombers which took part in a bombing raid on the Emden & Wilhelmshaven docks, at 20:12 hrs (reported by German flak batteries) his Wellington (W5561) tasked with the run on Emden, was hit by flak and crashed in flames at the nearby village of Engerhafe, killing his entire crew, they were buried at Engerhafe Churchyard;
      Pilot E.J. Williams, 28, RNZAF. W. Langhorne, 21, RAFVR. R. James, RAFVR, 22. D. K. Gordon, RAFVR. J. C. Donkin, RCAF. J. R. F. Bourgeau, RCAF. In 1947 they were moved to Sage War Garve Cemetery where they rest together now.
      Our Tupuna flew many operations (approx. 18) often in horrific conditions and the following is written of Ted by his Squadron Leader John Nearby on a raid a few months prior:
      "An attractive personality, he was the very stuff of which bomber captains were made - determined to force his way through regardless of weather and enemy opposition .......... In thick cloud and heavy rain we sought blindly for a reference point and encounter a curtain of light flack fire from the defences. The stuff whizzed past the Wellington, red and green blobs of incendiary bombs, any one of which might have done for us all but Williams was going to have his pin-point ...... the navigator lying prone in the nose, declared he was satisfied and up went the nose in a steady climb back to bombing height. At 10,000 feet we were in thick cloud again - the Captain flying very accurately on his instruments as if engaged on a training exercise. ................. the next few moments brought nightmarish conditions with lightning flashes, torrential rain and up currents of great strength which tossed the Wellington around in the most sick-making fashion but Sergeant Williams stuck doggedly to his instrument panel, reassuring the crew from time to time and expressing the belief that we would come out if it very soon. We did so to be grasped by a forrest of white beams and engaged by heavy flack accurate for height and close at times - too close for my peace of mind and all of which, according to our stout captain, confirmed our closeness to our target. More heavy cloud and the navigator piped up to say that we were only a moment or two from the dropping point ..... To my dismay Sergeant Williams cut into the Navigator's announcement to say he would not drop on this run unless he could see the docks in the bombsight ..... silence from the crew ..... then he was addressing me - would I kindly go to the rear of the aircraft and operate the hand pump which replenished the oil tanks in the engine nacelles? Just a few strokes Sir, we have to do this from time to time (apologetically. Of what kind of stuff was this youngster made? At 8.000 feet we began a second run ..... the ground gunners redoubled their efforts .... flack streamed up ..... Can you see the docks Freddie? (from the Captain) I can see the river ..... can't we get the hell out of this ..... OK keep her straight we're heading directly towards them ... left a bit .. steady steady .. bombs gone .......... And that part of the business was over ..... the nose was pulled up sharply as shells burst around us .. up, up until the Wimpy was standing on its tail .. the stick went forward and Williams put her into a steep dive turning out toward the coast but holding the nose down until until she commenced shaking violently and I wondered if the airframe would hold out much longer. We lost the flack for a brief spell until we reached the coast but they picked us up once more ..... Williams put up another acrobatic feat then in silence we flew out over the North Sea. What a display of guts from that young New Zealander ....... there was no other aircraft in the vicinity - we had the whole of Hamburg defences to ourselves .. it was a v Public - Roger - Other relative - 6 February 2022 - Quote of RAF operation from the book: RAF Night Operations: Martin Bowman
      Bio from - Oral family History
      Bombing raid 28/29th December 1941 from webpage:
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About death

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  • Death
    28 December 1941 AWMM
    Age 28 AWMM
    GermanyEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany AWMM Grave 8 D 13 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Kaikoura War Memorial, 34 Esplanade, Kaikoura 7300 AWMM
    • Memorial Drive, 1939-1945, Devonport Memorial Drive, Auckland AWMM
    • Memorial Drive, Lake Road, Devonport, Auckland AWMM
    • Marlborough War Memorial, Second World War Panel AWMM

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Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
06 February 2022RogerAucklandOther relative

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