BEAUFIGHTER GETS TWO
25 May 1943 - The most brilliant single venture of the week-end was that of an RAF Beaufighter piloted
by PGK Williamson of Hill Lodge, Bedhampton, near Havant, Hants. Within an hour, he shot down two
The first Savoia went crashing into the sea after a single burst from the Beaufighter. The second
dived into cloud to escape. Williamson trailed it and finally bagged it.
The total of Axis aircraft destroyed on the ground and in the air during the past four days is 291.
this is a devastating rate for the Axis, and especially for the Italians.
Born 28 February 1923 in Adelaide South Australia
Enlisted in the RAF in January 1941
Commissioned on 17 September of that year
Claimed 153's first victory in January 1943
F/L on 17 January 1943
Confirmed as AVM on 1 July 1973
Retired on 28 February 1978
Died 10 August 1982
Fought Together, Honoured
A pilot and an observer of No. 153 Squadron, RAF, who together destroyed five enemy aircraft during
the North African campaign, and when forced down into the sea, were rescued after being adrift in a
dinghy for five hours, appear together in a list of awards announced today.
They air Flyg Off. P Williamson, Adelaide, Australia, who receives the D.F.C., and Sgt. D. Lake,
Bromley, Kent, awarded the D.F.M.
Four other officers receive the D.F.C., and the D.F.M. is awarded to two flight sergeants and four
London Gazette #36127 of August 6th 1943
Distinguished Flying Cross
Flying Officer Peter Greville Kaye WILLIAMSON (107239), RAFVR, No. 153 Squadron.
Distinguished Flying Medal
Sergeant Denis Strickland LAKE (1393221), Royal Air Force, No. 153 Squadron.
As pilot and observer respectively, this officer and airman completed many sorties during the
campaign in North Africa. They have displayed great keenness and co-operation and, in various
combats at night, they have destroyed 5 enemy aircraft. During 1 sortie, they were forced to
abandon their aircraft whilst over the sea and were subsequently adrift in the dinghy for 5
hours before being rescued. In spite of this trying experience, Flying Officer Williamson and
Sergeant Lake quickly resumed operational flying. Both these members of aircraft crew have
displayed courage and devotion to duty worthy of great praise.
BEDHAMPTON FLYER GETS D.F.C.
Daring Night Fighter
7 August 1943 - OFFICIAL information has been received that Flying Officer Peter
Greville Kaye Williamson, R.A.F.V.R., whose parents live at Bedhampton Hill, Havant, has been
awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
His observer, Sergt. Dennis Lake, who has since been promoted to Pilot Officer, gets the D.F.M.
The official announcement stated: "They have displayed great keenness and co-operation and
have destroyed five enemy aircraft. During one sortie they were forced to abandon their
aircraft over the sea and were subsequently adrift in the dinghy for over five hours. In spite
of this trying experience, F/O Williamson and Sergt. Lake quickly resumed operational flying.
Sergt. Lake has since been promoted to Pilot officer.
Flying Officer Peter Williamson is 19, and like his mother, was born in Australia. His father,
who served with the famous 10th Anzac Regiment at the Gallipoli landing in the last war, was
born in India.
F/O Williamson gained his commission very rapidly after joining up. He has a large number
of operational flights to his credit, and has specialized in night fighting. At present he is
attached to a squadron which holds the record for number of enemy planes brought down during
the past six months in the Mediterranean area.
WRECKED TWO BOMBERS WITHIN 30 MINUTES
During the past few months, he wrecked two enemy bombers within half an hour, and also
accounted for a four-engined Italian plane piloted by one of Mussolini's air aces.
Nothing has given F/O Williamson so much pleasure as to learn that his observer, Sergt.
Dennis Lake has been awarded the D.F.M. for the part he played with the Flying Officer
in his exploits.
BEDHAMPTON FLYING OFFICER GETS THE D.F.C.
Five Enemy Planes Destroyed
Daring Night Fighter
The Evening News Monday August 9 1943 - Official information has been received that
Flying Officer Peter Greville Kaye Williamson, whose parents live at BedHampton Hill,
Havant, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The official announcement stated:
They have displayed great keenness and co-operation and have destroyed five enemy
aircraft. During one sortie they were forced to abandon their aircraft over the sea
and were subsequently adrift in the dinghy for over five hours. In spite of this
trying experience F/O Williamson and Sergt. Lake quickly resumed operational flying.
Sergt. Lake has since been promoted to Pilot Officer.
Flying officer Peter Williamson is 19, and like his mother, was born in Australia.
His father, who served with the famous 10th Anzac Regiment at the Gallipoli landing
in the last war, was born in India.
Flight officer Williamson gained his commission very rapidly after joining out.
He has a large number of operational flights to his credit, and has specialized in
night fighting. At present is attached to a squadron which holds the record for
number of enemy planes brought down during the past six months in the medic
Wrecked two bombers within 30 minutes
During the past few months he has wrecked two enemy bombers within half an hour,
and also accounted for a four engine Italian plane piloted by a one of
Mussolini's air aces. Nothing has given F/O Williamson so much pleasure as to
learn that his observer Sergt. Denis Lake has been awarded the DFM for the part
he played with the flying officer in his exploits.
In a recent letter home Flying Officer Williamson recalls one of his exploits
and reveals a typical example of the humanitarianism characteristic of the RAF
which contrasts strikingly with the mentality of those Italians who clamored
for the shooting down of parachuting airmen.
The letter includes the following: "I had a bit of luck the night before last
and shot down two Italian bombers. It was rather astounding, because when the
second one crashed, about half an hour after the first, it was well on fire
and hit the sea a terrific smash which broke it into pieces. But just in case
I asked for a rescue boat to be sent out. About five minutes later I was going
to cancel it when I saw a light flashing, and so told the boat to make all
speed to the spot which I was circling.
"I circled for about an hour until the Dawn broke. We then saw a man
clinging to what was left of the tail unit which had broken off when the
aircraft hit the water, and was fairly whole. I dived down and fired Verey
lights to let the poor beggar know he had been seen. We saw also that the
tail unit was slowly sinking, so my observer inflated his dinghy and dropped
it to him. It landed about 20 yards away, but he made no attempt to swim
towards it, so we gathered his injuries prevented him from swimming. This we
discovered afterwards to be true, as he had broken legs and various other
The Mystic Light
"The extraordinary part about the whole affair was that the man had no light.
I discovered that the flashing light which I thought I saw was purely
imaginary. He is now in hospital and doing well."
F/O Williamson has also had an unpleasant experience, for he hints that he
has "had to swim for it," caught a chill, and had to go into hospital.
He has been made a member of the Goldfish Club, but looks upon the incident
which qualified him for that honor as being just part and parcel of the
risks run by every airmen. It did not take him long to get back into form
They have made friends a new air weapon
FRIENDSHIP has been forged into a new air weapon by the crack night fighters of No. 153 Squadron of
the RAF. The Commanding Officer of this famous squadron believes that the men who like to stand
each other drinks in brief off-duty moments, are far happier if they fight together too.
History has proved him right, for never a week passes without a combination from the squadron
delivering a heavy punch at the Luftwaffe.
"Me and My Pal," motto of the Commandos, is also the slogan of the young devil-may-care fighter
crews from 153.
Every man has his own personal buddy with whom to fly, fight, and face death.
Today, the Air Ministry announced the awards of DFC and DFM to "Pete and Dennis," and the DFC
to "Leslie and George" - two fighter pairs from 153 Squadron.
Flying Officer Peter Greville Kaye Williamson and Sergeant (now Pilot Officer) Dennis Strickland
Lake are the first pair.
"They have displayed great keenness and co-operation," and have destroyed five enemy aircraft.
"During one sortie, they were forced to abandon their aircraft whilst over the sea and were
subsequently adrift in the dinghy for 5 hours before being rescued. In spite of this trying
experience, Flying Officer Williamson and Sergeant Lake quickly resumed operational flying.
Both these members of aircraft crew have displayed courage and devotion to duty worthy of great
Lake, a radio navigator, is 21 and lives at Bromley Kent. F/O Williamson comes from Adelaide
Lake's mother told the Daily Mirror last night: "He was a sergeant but a month ago he was given
This is the first I have heard about the pair of them being adrift. But my son is a quiet boy
and he has told me little."
The other pair to receive honours are Flying Officer Leslie Stephenson and Flying Officer George
Their citation states they "have flown together on a large number of sorties and have displayed
great skill and determination throughout.
"They have been responsible for the destruction of six enemy aircraft, three of them in one night."
F/O Hall was born at Morley, Yorkshire, is aged 23 and his home is at Pudsey, near Leeds.
His pal Stephenson is 23 and comes from Co. Durham.
The Way Of The English
Here is a letter home from an airman who has just won the D.F.C. - Flying Officer Williamson, of
a Squadron which (as reported on page four [above]) has made friendship a new weapon.
It reveals a chivalry in striking contrast to the behavior of Italians who clamored for British
airmen men to be shot down while parachuting after bailing out.
"I had a bit of luck and shot down two Italian bombers. The second hit the sea a terrific crash
which broke it into pieces, none much bigger than about a foot."
"But just in case, I asked for a rescue boat to be sent out."
"About five minutes later I was going to cancel it when I saw a light flashing, so I circled the
spot until dawn, when we saw a man clinging to what was left of the tail unit.
"I dived down and fired a Very light to let the poor beggar know he had been seen. My
observer inflated his dingy and dropped it to him.
"It landed about twenty yards away, but he appeared unable to swim to it."
"We discovered afterwards he had two broken legs."
"The extraordinary thing was that the man had no light. The flashing light which I thought I
saw must have been purely imaginary.
"He is now in hospital and doing well."
Dennis Lake was later killed in a flying accident with W/C Bill Maguire.
With Fred Forrest as Nav
Willy & Sirdar
Mosquito Got Two
5 August 1944 - Twice within a quarter of an hour yesterday, a Mosquito pilot shot down a Ju88
at the mouth of the Seine.
The pilot, F/L Peter G. K. Williamson, DFC, of Havant, flying with F/O F Forrest, of London,
as his observer, made both kills with a few bursts.
ANOTHER JU FOR HAVANT PILOT
8 August 1944 - A Mosquito out on patrol over Argentan early on Monday destroyed a Ju188 with
the aid of a pocket torch. Flight Lieut P. G. K. Williamson, DFC of Havant, was the Mosquito
pilot with Flying Officer Frederick Forrest as his navigator, says A.E.A.F.
"We sighted the enemy aircraft and took a burst at it, but the reflector gunsight went out of
order at the crucial moment and I missed completely," said Flying Officer Williamson.
"The enemy aircraft started shooting back at us while we tried to get the gunsight working
again and finally we got it going by using a pocket torch in place of the usual method of
illumination. We had another go at the Jerry and his starboard engine caught fire. Another
short burst set his cabin alight and he rolled over on his back and dived into the ground
with a large vivid explosion."
The crew destroyed two Ju 188s over La Havre early last Friday morning.
F/L Williamson won his D.F.C. in North Africa where he destroyed five enemy aircraft.
Bedhampton DFC Got JU With Gun-Sight Out of Order
A 22-year-old Bedhampton D.F.C. night fighter pilot who "blacked out" in the middle of combat
with the JU. 88 and recovered only to find out that his gunsight was useless, made his ninth
"kill" a few nights ago, by chasing the Junkers back to Germany and sending it crashing in
Flight Lieut. Peter Greville Kaye Williamson, D.F.C., of Hill Lodge, Bedhampton, was flying
a mosquito over Belgium when he overheard the ground controller instructing another pilot
over the radiotelephone to go to an area where an enemy aircraft was operating.
Williamson asked for permission to go along too.
"When I got there," he said, "the whole area was so bright by the light of fires that it
was almost like daylight. Finding the enemy aircraft was easy. It immediately began to
take violent evasive action.
"I closed and identified it as a JU-88, but before I could attack it went into a steep
dive. I followed, firing a short burst of cannon, but without success. "The enemy
aircraft suddenly pulled out violently, and Flight Lieut. Williamson followed suit.
"Then," he continued, "everything went dark. The sudden jolt as I came out of the
dive had caused me to 'black out'. Fortunately, it was only temporary, and I regained
my vision after a few seconds, only to find that my gunsight was out of order.
"There was no time to fix it so I closed right in and fired a long burst.
Immediately smoke and fire poured out from the starboard engine of the enemy aircraft
which turned over on its back and began to lose height rapidly. Shortly afterwards
there was a big flash on the ground a few miles to the East of Aachen."
Flight Lieut. Williamson, who was educated at Winchester House and Dauntsey's, joined
the RAF in January 1941. Besides his score of nine "kills," he has destroyed three
Once, while serving with the Mediterranean forces, he was forced to bail out of his
aircraft over the sea, and spent six hours in a dinghy before being picked up by a
French fishing boat.
Urge to fly
His observer is flying officer Frederick Ernest Forest, of Queensland Avenue, Hornsey
(London), a peacetime engineer, who has been in the RAF since September, 1939.
In the early part of the war, Forest, who is 38, was a transport officer, but the
urge to fly was so strong that he volunteered for aircrew, even though it meant
reverting to a lower rank. He has helped his pilot to destroy four enemy aircraft
and three flying bombs
London Gazette #37030 of 10 May 1945
Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross
F/L Peter Greville Kaye WILLIAMSON, D.F.C. (107239), RAFVR, 219 Sqn.
Distinguished Flying Cross
F/O Frederick Ernest FORREST (63933), RAFVR, 219 Sqn.
As pilot and observer of aircraft respectively, these officers have taken part in very
many sorties, some of them in most adverse weather. They have shown a high degree of
skill and courage during these operations and have destroyed 4 enemy aircraft. These
successes have brought Flight Lieutenant Williamson's total victories to 9.
Victories Include :
13/14 Jan '43 *one FW200 destroyed Maison Blanche area Beaufighter VII, 153 Sq.
15/16 Jan '43 one Ju88 destroyed Algiers Beaufighter VII, 153 Sq.
29/30 Jan '43 one Ju88 destroyed W Cape Matifou Beaufighter VII, 153 Sq.
11 Mar '43 (day) one Ju88 damaged over the sea Beaufighter VII, 153 Sq.
22/23 May '43 two S79s destroyed N African coast Beaufighter VII, 153 Sq.
3/4 Aug 1944 two Ju188s destroyed Le Havre-Seine Estuary Mosquito XXX, 219 Sq.
6/7 Aug 1944 one Ju188 destroyed Argentan area Mosquito XXX, 219 Sq.
17/18 Jan 1945 one Ju88 destroyed 10 m E of Aachen Mossie MM696, 219 Sq.
* Actually a Piaggio P-108B of 274 Squadriglia
(Stats & details from Aces High 2nd edition - Chris Shores)
Thanks go out to Professor Chas Williamson at Cornell University for the infos!