Sgt Douglas Bannerman (Doug or Jock) Williamson, RAF, 43310, Flight Engineer.
Born: 8 August 1925 at Seafield House in Roslin, Scotland, not far from Edinburgh.
Doug was the son of a bookmaker and second-youngest of six children, with older brothers Derry and Tony, older sisters Winnie and Audrey and younger sister Pat.
Still at school when war broke out, Doug joined the Home Guard at age 16, and then at the suggestion of his sister’s boyfriend, enlisted in the RAF to train as a flight engineer at age 17.
He reported to the Air Crew Reception Centre at St John’s Wood, then was posted to Initial Training Wing (14 ITW) at Bridlington.
Next was 4 School of Technical Training (4 SoTT ), RAF St Athan, in Glamorgan. The 24 week technical course covered all areas that a flight engineer in a heavy bomber crew was responsible for in his role, both on the ground and in the air – airframes, engines, electrics, instruments, hydraulics, propellors, aerodrome procedures, fuel systems & logs and engine handling.
It was while at St Athans that he took up fencing, a sport he would enjoy, on and off, well into his 80s!
After passing his exams, Doug graduated, received his flight engineer brevet and was promoted to Sergeant.
Now he was a qualified Lancaster Flight Engineer, ready to join a bomber crew at a Heavy Conversion Unit. In October 1944 he was posted to 1657 HCU at Stradishall.
In 2002, Doug told his full life story in his own words and in his very own whimsical style, self-publishing a book called “Aimless Wanderings of a Nincompoop”, still available in a few second-hand bookstores. It covers his time with the JN-Dog boys in quite a bit of detail, and provides the definitive account of his dramatic last op’, but also covers his post-war exploits in Sri Lanka, England, India, Canada and New Zealand.
He shared the manuscript with his close friend and renowned photographer Lutz Dille, a German who had served on the Eastern Front in WW2, and who he and Janet met in Canada. Lutz replied by writing down his own story, which has some remarkable parallels with Doug’s, in some ways a mirror image.
After Lutz passed away in 2008, Doug decided to combine the two stories into one book, The Nazi & The Luftgangster . Updated and interwoven with Lutz’s journey, eventually bringing them together in Toronto, it’s an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. As the blurb says, “The book gives a unique insight into the lives of combatants on opposite sides of World War Two who became lifelong friends.”
The Nazi & The Luftgangster
by D. B. Williamson and Lutz Dille.
ALSO: Doug Williamson post-war