Does anyone recall Flight Lieutenant Bob Williamson of 23 Squadron?

This comment was just made by a reader.

Does anyone recall Flt Lt Bob Williamson, of 23 Squadron?
 
 Bob was my mother’s husband and he died on active service, on a night mission from RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex, over Cognac, France, on 28 November1942, just before 23 Squadron was posted to Malta.  Bob was piloting a 23 Sqn Mosquito and was accompanied by FO (Obs) Norman Lavers, who also died.  Both men are buried in the communal cemetery in Cruin, on the outskirts of Cognac, courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I would like to know more about their mission that night.
 
 My mother re-married in 1949 and I am the product of that long and happy union, though my mother could never bring herself to talk about Bob, her childhood sweetheart, to whom she had been married just a short time.
 
 Any snippets of information will be well received and thank you.

You can contact me using this form.

 

3 thoughts on “Does anyone recall Flight Lieutenant Bob Williamson of 23 Squadron?

  1. This is what is written…

    DD712 was delivered to 23 Squadron at Bradwell Bay on 8 September 1942 and made her first sortie in the hands of the CO, Wing Commander Sammy ‘Bertie’ Hoare.

    Hoare completed his tour of 80 missions shortly afterwards, handing the reins of 23 squadron over to Wing Commander Peter Wykeham-Barnes and DD712 became the regular mount of Pilot Officer Stanley Cornforth, an American volunteer who elected to stay with the RAF.

    She was lost on 28 November over the Charente region of south-west France, along with her pilot, Flight Lieutenant Robert Williamson, and navigator, Flying Officer Norman Lavers. Both men were veterans who had started out in the ranks of the RAFVR. They are buried next to one another in the town of Cognac.

    In researching the crew, I discovered that Lavers came from Dorking in Surrey, where I work.

    On 6 December, 23 Squadron was withdrawn from operations. A day later her crews were familiarising themselves with fresh NF.IIs fitted with overload fuel tanks. They were ready to fly out to Gibraltar on December 21 and then onward to Malta, where they would remain for many hectic months, flying out on Intruder missions in North Africa, Sicily and mainland Italy.

    Apparently there is a colour profile of DD712 in the Osprey book American Night Fighter Aces of World War 2, but my copy of that is in the loft and it’s now out of bounds due to sleeping children! Another job for the morrow…

  2. Comment received

    Comment: They flew to RAF Ford to prepare for an operational Intruder patrol to the area of Cognac and Chateaubernard. They took off at 20.30hrs in Mosquito DD712  YP-R.

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