|Sir Thomas Williams|
|Born||27 September 1899|
|Died||10 June 1956|
|Service/branch||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1916–1956|
No. 423 Flight|
No. 406 Flight
RAF Staff College, Bracknell
British Air Forces of Occupation
World War I|
World War II
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Williams (died 2011)|
Air Marshal Sir Thomas Melling Williams, KCB, OBE, MC, DFC & bar (27 September 1899 – 10 June 1956) was an ace pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, scoring nine aerial victories. He was also a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during World War II and the following years.
Williams was commissioned into the 12th South African Infantry and was in action in German West Africa in 1916 and 1917. He transferred into the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. After training as a pilot, Williams was assigned to No. 65 Squadron in France, flying Sopwith Camels. He achieved nine air victories. By the end of the war, in 1918, he was a flight commander, a role he continued when he was assigned to the British force in North Russia, supporting anti-Bolshevik forces. After the War he commanded No. 423 Flight and then No. 406 Flight of the Fleet Air Arm. He was appointed Station Commander at RAF Andover in 1938 and served in World War II being one of the last RAF officers to escape from France to Britain in 1940, leaving from Brest with his Air Officer Commanding. He continued his was service as Station Commander at RAF Watton from 1940, as Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters No. 2 Group from 1941 and then as Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters RAF Bomber Command from later that year. After serving in the Far East and in India, Williams was appointed Air Officer Commanding the AHQ Bengal in 1943. He became Deputy Commander at Headquarters Eastern Air Command at Air Command South East Asia in December 1943 and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in August 1944.
After the War he became Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Bracknell and then Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief British Air Forces of Occupation before becoming Inspector-General of the RAF in 1951. Williams' air force career was cut short by ill-health and he died in June 1956.
Honours and awardsEdit
His honour and wards comprised:
- Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath - 8 Jun 1950 (CB - 1 Jan 1944)
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire - 1 Jan 1941
- Military Cross - 16 Sep 1918
- Distinguished Flying Cross - 2 Nov 1918, Bar - 22 Dec 1919
- Mentioned in Despatches - 31 Mar 1920, 11 Jul 1940
- Air Medal (United States) - 28 Jul 1944
- Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States) - 15 Mar 1946
- Distinguished Service Medal (United States) - 12 Dec 1950
- Hon Master of Arts (Cambridge)
- Justice of the Peace (Kent) - 1954.
Military Cross (MC)Edit
T./2nd Lt. Thomas Melling Williams, Gen. List, attd. R.A.F.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During recent operations he destroyed three enemy aircraft and drove down two out of control. He showed great skill and courage in his attacks, and set a fine example to all.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September 1918 (30901/11035)
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)Edit
Lieut. (T./Capt.) Thomas Melling Williams, M.C.
During recent operations this officer rendered most gallant and valuable service, proving himself to be a very capable and inspiring leader. On one occasion, observing three enemy railway trains, he dived, and in face of very heavy machine-gun fire seriously damaged one by a direct hit with a bomb. He then descended almost to the ground, and attacked the personnel escaping from the ruined train, scattering them in all directions. On returning to his aerodrome his machine was found to be riddled with bullets.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 November 1918 (30989/12975)
Sir Philip Wigglesworth
|Commander-in-Chief British Air Forces of Occupation|
| Succeeded by|
Sir Robert Foster
As C-in-C Second Tactical Air Force
Sir James Robb
|Inspector-General of the RAF|
| Succeeded by|
S C Strafford
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