The Airmen's Stories - F/O D C Williams
Denis Conon Williams came from Bromsgrove. His father was the Reverend Canon Harold Williams BA, a first world war veteran who had been awarded the Military Cross for his service.
Williams joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training on 25th July 1938.
After completing his training he joined 141 Squadron on 8th October 1939, which had been recently reformed at Turnhouse.
Above: P/O GFC Pledger (left) and Dennis Williams
Williams was injured in a crash on 10th December when he had to force land a Blenheim near Linlithgow. He had been returning to base after taking a pilot to Catterick to ferry a Spitfire back. He was overtaken by darkness. The aircraft was destroyed and Williams suffered arm and shoulder injuries, which hospitalised him.
He generally flew with P/O GF Pledger as his gunner.
On 24th March 1941 Williams and Pledger took off From Gravesend to perform an air test in Defiant N1795 after it had received a 30 hour service. The engine failed just after they lifted off. The Defiant rapidly lost height, skidded across a field, and crashed into an embankment on Watling Street, not far off the end of the runway. The wings were torn off, as was the propeller assembly, and the fuselage ended up on its port side, with the tail section twisted upside down. Luckily it did not catch fire and they managed to escape with minor injuries.
They were killed together on an operational flight on 4th April 1941.
Their Defiant T3913 had taken off at about 11pm with one other but both were recalled to Gravesend due to very bad weather and poor radio reception.
In descending through cloud the aircraft struck the ground near Little Hermitage, two miles from Gravesend.
Williams was cremated at Birmingham Crematorium, Perry Bar.