A night stroll in Korea
Name: Frederick William Williams
Unit: 3rd Battalion RAR
Location: Hill 227, Korea
Corporal Frederick William (Bill) Williams, who served in the Korean War, was one of five men with that surname among a section of 10 men in the 3rd Battalion RAR in 1952.
A photograph showing four of the Williams appeared in the Sydney Daily Mirror newspaper. The fifth Williams happened to be on leave in Japan when the photograph was taken.
Bill recalls the night he went on a reconnaissance, which he ruefully called "A Night Stroll".
"It was early in 1952 when a patrol was organised for information gathering on Hill 227," Bill said.
"Five people were selected, A Company, 2 Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Section CO, myself and radio operator C Bevan (who was later killed in action by a mine while returning from a patrol in another area). Our Platoon Commander had the idea of taking with us an air panel (sheet of material normally pegged to the ground and used as a code to warn friendly aircraft not to attack) and a pole."
"On arriving on top of 227 and at a given time, the large searchlight that shone on the hill at night from behind our lines, was switched off. We looked around, examined the deep trenches and fighting pits but saw (thank goodness) no hostile troops. We were knee deep in dust, from the constant shelling, so we planted the flag and returned safely to our company."
"When the light was switched on it looked great to see the air panel fluttering in the night breeze. However our Battalion Commander gave our Platoon Commander a severe ear bashing. It was two days before the CO cooled down and agreed that it had been a good morale booster to know the enemy had seen that we had trampled over the top of his hill and he did not know how many of us had been there."
But there was a sad footnote to the story, as Bill recalls.
Unfortunately 1 Battalion RAR A Company carried out a daylight raid on Hill 227 a month or so later and the terrible result was five killed in action and 34 wounded.