A MEMORIAL to the airmen who crashed over an English town during the Second World War is set to commemorate a Denbighshire man who was among the fallen.

No fewer than seven Royal Air Force planes plummeted from the skies above the rural town of Chatteris, north of Cambridge, where there were five airbases within several miles. Indeed, residents had become accustomed to the sound of Blenheims and Lancaster Bombers flying to Europe on night-time raids, however one of the men who met the tragic fate, Ronald Williams, was rather far from home.

Mr Williams, born in St Asaph, was flying in a two-seat Miles Master airplane in 1943 while training for the Sussex Advanced Flying Unit, under the direction of an advanced pilot instructor. He had married the year before to a local woman called Faith Violet Youhill, but their wartime romance ended unexpectedly when his plane crashed into the ground.

“We don’t yet know the reason for the crash,” said Lorna Jones, co-researcher for the RAF Memorial Chatteris Group, which wants to erect the first monument dedicated to all seven aircrews following the 100th anniversary of the RAF last year.

“With the number of airfields in the area it was not surprising there were a number of allied aircraft crashes that either resulted from accidents or enemy action, although those recorded in Chatteris all seem to have not involved action by enemy aircraft.”

Rhyl Journal: The three-ton rock boulder which will be used to produce the Chatteris memorial.The three-ton rock boulder which will be used to produce the Chatteris memorial.

The memorial committee, made up of 18 members from the town’s Royal British Legion, town council, Chatteris Museum and business owners, initially set out to honour a Lancaster Bomber and crew which crashed in 1945. However after several months of research they found six more planes had come down in and around Chatteris between 1939 and 1945.

“Research began into the crew members aboard those aircraft,” Ms Jones said.

The committee found the name of Mr Williams, who is buried and commemorated in Northiam, Sussex, about 130 miles away from the crash site. He was not the only man outside his home country to die in the seven crashes, as aircrew originated from countries including New Zealand, Trinidad and Canada.

“The information we have found from various sources so far is that Ronald was born in St Asaph in April 1919, the son of John Williams and Lily Williams (nee Bellamy),” said Mrs Jones. “At some point he moved to Sussex, where he married in 1942.

“Sadly, he was killed on February 2, 1943. He was flying with 7 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit RAF, under instruction from Donald Ditcher from Eccleshall, who also died in the crash.”

No debris or photographic evidence of the plane remains.

The committee has sourced a three-ton rock boulder which will be used to produce the monument, to be erected in a churchyard in the centre of Chatteris.

“We really want to be able to tell as much of Ronald’s story as we can in the booklet we are working on and it would be wonderful to have a photo of him, to have a face to the name,” Ms Jones added.

“We would love to hear from any relatives with information.”

Squadron Leader Dave Williams, of RAF Valley, said: “Flying training was a hazardous business during the Second World War, and crashes were fairly commonplace compared to today.

“It’s really important that we recognise the sacrifice of those killed during training at that time. Their families would have felt the loss just as much as for those killed in combat, and they died bravely serving their country.”

If you have information related to Mr Williams, email lornajones2803@gmail.com