Farewell Dougie

Such sad news, Dougie Williamson passed away last Saturday.

He had spent a few days in hospital, then was sent home about 10 days ago. I knew that he was still unwell but it was a real blow to hear the news from Janet late Saturday night. I had been hoping to visit him this week, now that Auckland is back to Level 1.

I met Doug nine years ago, the first of many surprises in the search for my uncle Gerry’s wartime story – his Flight Engineer was still alive and living right here in Auckland!! I will never forget the phone ringing and the soft Scottish voice saying:

“Hello this is Douglas Williamson.. I flew with your uncle …” and then “The last time I saw Gerry, I was showing him the way out; the plane was full of flames ..” ..!!!

We met up shortly afterwards, and he and his lovely wife Janet became very good friends.

Dougie, April 2012, our first meeting.

Doug (Dougie to his family) was a very nice, softly spoken man, with a gentle, self-deprecating sense of humour and usually, a slightly quizzical smile in his eyes. He was great company and we spent many enjoyable hours chatting.

Doug was the source of many of the stories told on this website, from his wonderfully observant memoirs, from his occasional recollections and from some of the letters and documents that he kept.

He claimed to have been too young to truly appreciate the danger that they were braving at the time, but he had shown courage right from the start, enlisting in the RAF at only 17 years of age! He was the youngest in the crew and still only 19 when the war ended, having completed a full tour of 32 operations.

It was a special day when Doug was able to meet Gerry’s son Phil, and grandson Sean – a reconnection of the bond between crewmates, almost 70 years later.

Chris, Sean, Dougie and Phil, 17 Sept 2013.

Dougie was farewelled with a packed service at the family home, featuring numerous elegies and memories, readings from Robbie Burns, kilts, a piper and a wee dram for each of us to toast his memory.

He was the last of the JN-Dog boys, and one of the very few left of this amazing generation. In fact, Doug was one of the last four surviving 75(NZ) Squadron veterans in New Zealand.

We must keep alive the memory of Doug, his crewmates and the rest of the Bomber Boys and their ground crews. We owe them all so much.

Our condolences and love go to Janet and the Williamson family.

Dougie will be sadly missed.

Douglas Bannerman Williamson RAFVR 43310

8 August 1925 – 13 March 2021

– the Williamson family
Douglas Bannerman Williamson
– NZIPP – RSA WWII Veteran Portrait Project.

Ake Ake Kia Kaha

1 thought on “Farewell Dougie”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: