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Richard Williams

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Richard Williams 1918-2011 MANCHESTER RAF Wing Commander (Ret) Richard Williams OBE died in Manchester, Vermont on August 30, 2011. He was born in Kew Gardens, England on April 8, 1918, the youngest of eight children who have predeceased him. At the age of 8, he was sent to a Quaker boarding school, the Downes School, and subsequently attended Leighton Park College near Reading, England. In January 1939, Richard joined the 73rd Squadron of the Royal Air Force, seeing action during the so-called "phony war" in France and the frantic escape from the Brittany ports when France fell. Upon his return to England, he was reassigned to Biggin Hill, the RAF's leading fighter station defending London during the Battle of Britain. Richard was the officer in charge of England's top-secret radar ground stations along the English Channel from London to Portsmouth which proved to be a decisive factor in the Battle of Britain. In 1942, he was asked to join the Combined Munitions Assignment Board in Washington, D.C. as a radar specialist, a position he held until the end of World War II. For his contributions throughout the war, Richard was awarded the Order of the British Empire by Great Britain (for services to the RAF delegation and the British Air Commission) and the Legion of Merit by the United States (for services to the Combined Chiefs of Staff). Richard became a U.S. citizen shortly after World War II and remained in the aeronautical industry all of his life, ultimately becoming President of the overseas division of Lear Siegler with ten overseas offices. He retired to Manchester, Vt. in 1982 and spent the winter months in Beaufort, S.C. An avid golfer, he served two terms as president of Ekwanok Country Club in Manchester, Vt.T, and was on the Board of Trustees of the Club. He also was a member of the Vermont Seniors, the U.S. Seniors, Callawassie Golf Club, St. George's Society, a golden eagle of the Wings Club and the RAF Club in London. He leaves a wife of 37 years, the former Polly Simmons Barrows, of Dorset, Vt.; a son, David Landis Williams, of New York City; a daughter, Olwen Paulus Williams, of Norton, Mass.; three stepdaughters, Susan Wood of Tampa, Fla., Sally MacQuart of Manchester, Vt. and Belinda Thomas of Lexington, Ky.; grandchildren, Jessica Paulus, Timothy Paulus, Eric Paulus, Conway Williams and Phoebe Williams and numerous stepchildren and stepgrandchildren. His previous wife of 20 years, the former Katharine Landis of Logansport, Indiana, died in 1971. There will be a private memorial service in Manchester, Vt. BREWSTER FUNERAL SERVICE has been entrusted with the care of Richard's funeral arrangements.

Published in Bennington Banner on Aug. 31, 2011
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