David, Billy "Penbont's" brother, did his national service in the Royal Navy from June 1947 to August 1949. He spent all his time on aircraft carriers, the H.M.S. Venerable that later became Karel Doorman, H.M.S. Implacable and H.M.S. Illustrious. The latter was a flying training vessel, which had distinguished itself in the Second World War at the battle of Toranto. He recalls the incredible quirky nature of it all in that traditions that would seem outdated were adhered to as if still in the Nelson era. He was chosen to be the captain’s messenger. This “cushy” number, as he calls it, was an eye opener to all the procedures that the ships command practiced.
Many sailors doing their national service did not in fact ever leave harbour, so did no sea time. David remembers meeting up with another naval recruit from Welshpool on the train on his way to join up, and as fate would have it, on David’s way home after serving his time he met the same recruit also finishing. As they swapped notes David was astounded to find that the Welshpool man had never ventured out of the Tamar River, where he had spent the entire two years scraping, painting and cocooning redundant warships that were anchored in the Tamar Roads. Conversely, David’s career took him on continual aircraft carrier exercises in the Mediterranean and the mid-Atlantic.
David recalls one occasion when the crew of the Implacable, which he was part of, was in Bangor, Northern Ireland. They were to replace the crew of the Illustrious…the general public knew nothing of this. Prior to the changeover David and the rest of the crew had been ashore drinking, and whilst in high spirits they raided a penny arcade and took back on board dozens of various machines. Soon all hell broke loose as word went about that the crew of the Implacable were a disgrace etc. etc. Of course, the next day was given over to welcoming the “new” crew of the Illustrious, which unbeknownst to the public were recently the rampaging crew of the Implacable.
On his return home, being a bit footloose, and still with a measure of wanderlust, he resumed his work as an electrician and he joined Bertram Mills Circus as they toured the country and wintered in London. After marrying he settled down in Borth and became a technician, and then a leading technician in what was then Ardwyn Grammar School. During that time he would often find himself supervising physics exams and the like, and occasionally even teaching.
David has always been a keen photographer, and in that role has recorded many of the villagers and the changing surroundings amassing a visual record of Borth during the last half century.
The Williams brothers’ family’s involvement with the sea did not end there; it had a sad aspect as their sister Megan’s first husband, Robert Jones a merchant navy man, was torpedoed three times in one night, as two rescuing ships were themselves sunk in a matter of hours south of Greenland in a murderous attack by a German U-boat. He was eventually landed in Newfoundland and hospitalised for a long time, however he never really recovered from that experience.