war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II



Surnames H

Hadley, G. R.
George Robert Hadley, C/JX 127338, was the third son of Mr Henry Hadley and his wife Ellen Mary, formerly Howard, who married in 1900. In 1901 the couple were living at 37 Balfour Road, Dover, and Mr Hadley was working as "Marina Seas". By 1911 they had been joined by four children - Henry, Joseph, Ellen, and George - and living there also with them at 58 Oxenden was Mr Hadley's brother, John. Mr Hadley was working as a seaman on the dredgers, as was his brother.  The entire family was born in Dover. George's parents would later live at 10 Granville Road, Dover.

George followed his father's foosteps, becoming a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy. He was serving aboard HMS Dido, which was escorting convoys from Alexandria to Malta, when she was bombed by the enemy on 29 May 1941 after picking up troops in Crete. George lost his life, and is now commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 41.2 

May 1942 - "None but those who have lost know the grief of parting with no farewell. Never forgotten by his Mum and Dad" "Never forgotten by his Brothers and Sisters"
1943 - "Asleep in the deep" - loving memories, Kath

*Halford, L. H.
Leonard Hendley Halford, C/J 21502, served in the Royal Navy as a Chief Petty Officer aboard HMS Beaver. He died on 20 November 1943, when he was 46, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 67.3

His parents were John George and Louise Halford, and he was married to Harriett Halford, of Eltham. SE London

Halke, D. J.
Donald John Halke, 1802238, was a Flight Engineer Sergeant in the RAFVR (Unit no 460 RAAF Squadron). At 20.24 hours on 24 February 1944, he took off in Avro Lancaster LM315 AR-K2 from Binbrook, Lincolnshire. The mission was a raid on the main German ball-bearing factory in Schweinfurt, a follow-up raid on the daylight attack carried out on 24 February by the United States 8th Air Force  

The Lancaster crashed in unknown circumstances in the hours after midnight. All of the crew, who are believed to have been in the early stages of their operational tour, were killed, and are buried in the Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.  Donald is in Grave 7 A 4

The raid on Schweinfurt comprised 734 RAF aircraft, and was Bomber Command's first attack of the war on this target. A total of 33 bombers were lost, including LM315.  Dovorian Sergeant Frederick Albert Goodwin also lost his life in this raid  

The crew were:

Flight Sergeant Roland Yates Captain (Pilot) aged 21
Sergeant Donald John Halke Flight Engineer aged 21
Flight Sergeant Frank Lloyd Navigator aged 22
Flying Officer Alfred Rothwell Mark - RCAF Bomb Aimer aged 26
Sergeant Maurice Goldman Wireless Operator/Air Gunner aged 22
Sergeant Norman Henry Lerigo Air Gunner aged 33
Pilot Officer Leo Lorne Norman De Celles - RCAF Air Gunner aged 21


F/O Mark was the son of David McKillop and Catherine Mark, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Sergeant Goldman was the son of Harry and Anna Goldman, of Antwerp, Belgium
P/O De Celles was the son of Leo and Maud De Celles, of Westmount, Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada

in memoriam, courtesy Dover Express In loving remembrance of our dear son and only brother Sgt/FE Donald John Halke, missing after air operations 25th-26th Feb 1944. Sadly missed by his Mum, Dad, sister Phyllis and Harold

February 1947

Donald, of 9 The Ropewalk, was married at St Mary's to Irene Jean Cushion of 4 Chamberlain Road, Dover. Their marriage took place just twelve days before Donald was killed.

(Memorial) (Article)
with thanks to Dean Sumner

Note: on 4 March 1943, Mr Frank Belsey, his wife Edith Pamela, née Beecham, and their granddaughter, 14-year-old Peggy Harrow, were killed at 20 First Avenue, Chatham, by enemy action. Mr Belsey was brother to Donald's grandmother, Mrs Frances Halke, of 35 London Road. Mr Belsey was a keen bellringer, and had rung at St Mary's when he visited Dover. He was tower captain at Rochester Cathedral. He was a carpenter and wheelwright, and a member of the Chatham ARP Rescue party, members of which were pallbearers when he was buried at Chatham Cemetery

Mrs Irene Halke remarried in late 1945 to Albert J English. 

Hammond, H. W.
Henry William John Hammond was in the Merchant Navy, Southern Railway. He was 19 when he died at Dunkirk, and was buried from 2 Chamberlain Road, on 17 April at Charlton Cemetery, Section  ZD (2nd burial in Grave)

In memoriam announcements, courtesy Dover Express
April 1941
In loving memory of our dear brother, Henry, who was killed in a motor accident at Dunkirk on April 9 1940. Ever in our thoughts, from Albert, Florrie, and Albert jun

In loving memory of our dear nephew and my cousin, Henry William John Hammond, who was fatally injured in a motor accident at Dunkirk on April 9 1940, aged 20 years
You are not forgotten, nephew dear,
Nor ever will you be, 
For as long as life and memory last
We will remember thee.
From Auntie Alice, Uncle Ted, and Cousin Audrey

In loving memory of our darling nephew, Henry William John Hammond, who was killed in a motor accident at Dunkirk on April 9 1940. Though his voice we cannot hear, we shall never lose sweet memories of one we loved so dear. From his loving Auntie Florrie, Uncle Stan, and Cousins June and Shirley

Harper, C. A. P.
Cyril Alfred Percy Harper, 7883306, was a Serjeant in the 42nd (23rd Bn. The London Regiment) of the Royal Tank Regiment, RAC. He died on 26 November 1941, when he was 29, and is buried in the Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt. 5 C 8

He was the "beloved only son" of Alfred Harry and Flora Catherine Harper, of The Admiral Harvey, Dover, and brother to Cath' 

"Fear naught, a beautiful memory clings"
"Fear naught. Splendid you passed, the great surrender made, into the light that never more shall fade"
"Fear naught, in the depth of a desert land sleeping" - 1943 

Harris, J. R.
James Richard Harris, 1475736, was a Private in the Army Catering Corps. He died aged 20 on 26 December 1941, and is 1942, courtesy Dover Expressburied at Buckland, Dover. Section C 10, Grave 9

He was the son of John and Emily Elizabeth Harris, from Buckland. At the bottom of his headstone are the words,  "Sunshine passes, shadows fall, but love and memory of him outlive all".

There is also a stone for Emily Elizabeth Harris, who died in November 1945, aged 63(?)

in memoriam 1942

Harrison, J. R.
James Richards Harrison, 89822, was a Pilot Officer in the RAF, 217 Squadron Coastal Command. Former head of Crescent House, captain of the hockey XI, and full back for the Rugby XV at Dover College, he was the son of the late Captain F C Harrison, from Dover, and of Mrs Harrison, from Farnborough, Kent

At 11.50 hours on 26 September 1941, he took off with other squadron aircraft in Bristol Beaufort W6483 WM-A for an attack on a reported enemy merchant vessel. Owing to bad visibility, Beaufort W6483 hit Tregonning Hill to the northwest of Helston, Cornwall. All the crew were killed. He is buried at Farnborough (St Giles the Abbot) Churchyard, Kent. Grave 619

Bristol Beaufort, Wikimedia commons

The crew were:

Pilot Officer James Richards Harrison Captain (Pilot) aged 24
Pilot Officer Paul Francis Opperman Observer aged 19
Sergeant Harold Leslie Carter Wireless Operator/Air Gunner aged 25
Sergeant Dennis Albert Ryder Wireless Operator/Air Gunner aged 21

Note: Sergeant Carter was the son of Private Bernard William Carter, 1st Battalion, London, who was killed in action in France on 15 September 1916, and of Kathleen Carter, of Lewisham

with thanks to Dean Sumner
illustration: Bristol Beaufort, Wikimedia commons

Harrow, J. E.
John Edward Harrow of 19 Maxton Road was an ex 1st class Warrant Officer, RASC. He died suddenly on 19 July 1944. He was married to Mary.

1949 - In loving memory of a dear husband and father, John Edward Harrow, From his loving wife, sons and daughters

Harvey, R. C.
Robert Charles Harvey, C/KX 75712, was a Petty Officer Stoker. He was 36 when he died on 24 August 1940, with the sinking of HMS Penzance, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial Panel 37.3

His parents were Isaac and Emily Harvey, and his wife was Lilian Beatrice Harvey, from Gillingham, Kent

"Time passes, memory clings" From his Father, Brothers, and Sisters - 1943

1949 - In loving memory of our brother, Robert Charles Harvey...From his loving Brother and Sisters 

Hatton, G. E.
George Edward Hatton. There is a George Edward Hatton who died on 6 April 1949 at Grove Park Hospital in London, aged 26. He was the son of Mr and Mrs P. A. Hatton from 14 Devonshire Road.

Hawkins, F. A.
Francis Albert Hawkins. This could be 1336493, the Flight Sergeant, 282 Squadron, RAFVR, who did not return from flying operations at the age of 22 on 21 December 1944.  He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Panel 218

He was the son of David and Elsie Constance Hawkins, and the husband of Jean Robertson Smith Hawkins, of Glasgow

"Not just today but every day, in silence we remember our dear son and brother ...[who] gave his life that we all might live. From his broken hearted Mum, Dad, Shirley, John, Dorrie and Ron and baby Colin" 1949

Runnymede pictures by Dean Sumner; above, detail from panel 

Hempsall, F. A.
Frank Abdy Hempsall was a Carpenter, Merchant Navy. Born 1 August 1897, he died on the Cable Ship Alert on 24 February 1945, when he was 47. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill memorial. Panel 5

He was the husband of Gertrude Hempsall, from Rose Cottage, Lower Road,River, Dover

Notes on Alert

in memoriam 1943, courtesy Dover ExpressHewish, W.
Wilfred Hewish, 538041, was a Wireless operator Sergeant in the RAF. He was 23 when he died on 21 March 1941, and is buried at Llantrisant (CefnYParc) Cemetery, Wales. Section B, Grave 636

He was the son of William and Ellen Hewish, and the husband of Lydia Evelyn Hewish, from Pontyclun


in memoriam 1943

Hill, H.
gravestone, by Joyce BanksHerbert Hill, 5672328, was a Sergeant in the Somerset Light Infantry, 4th battalion. He died at the age of 24 on 29 May 1944, one of 22 soldiers killed by the explosion of anti-tank grenades at Dymchurch. The cause of the explosion was uncertain; at the inquest it was suggested that it may have been the heat of the sun, a match-head falling into a box of detonators, or an act of God

He is buried at SS Peter and Paul, Eythorne, Dover District. Row 6, Grave 3. At the bottom of his headstone are the words:

We loved him well, God loved him best,
And took him home with Him to rest

He was the son of George Francis and Elizabeth L Hill, and the husband of Muriel Helena Hill, of Adelaide Road, Elvington

1949 - "In loving memory of our dear nephew", From Uncle Edgar and Aunt Elsie and Cousin Cynthia. (Larch Road, Elvington) 

Himsworth, R. H.
Richard Henry Himsworth (Dick), C/JX 189339, was an Ordinary Seaman aboard HMS Southampton. He was 23 when he died on 11 January 1941. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 44.3

He was the "dearly loved" son of Beatrice and the late Richard a Himsworth. and the husband of Brenda Mary Himsworth, from Forstall House, Eythorne, near Dover

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends"

In Memoriam 1942  
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
I will remember him

In ever loving memory of my dear husband, Brenda

Without farewell, he fell asleep,
With only memories left to keep;
Sleep on, dear Dick, God knows best;
On earth, there's strife, in heaven, rest

In cherished memory of a dearly loved son and brother. Too dearly loved to be forgotten by his loving Mum, sisters, and brothers

Hodgson, C.
Cyril Hodgson, EC/10503, was a Captain in the 11th Sikh Regiment, 7th Battalion. An old St Mary's schoolboy, he had worked with  Pearks Stores as a first hand before the war. He joined The Buffs when he was 20, and was rapidly promoted to Sergeant. He then passed his preliminary Officer Cadet Training Unit at Sandhurst, where he took the passing out parade. He was granted his commission in India in late 1942.

Captain Hodgson was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was 25, on 20 August 1944, and is now buried in the Karachi War Cemetery, Pakistan. 11 C 3

The youngest son of Mr and Mrs A C Hodgson, from 1 Leighton Road, he was married to the former Molly Stokes, from 32 Lascelles Road, Dover. Three days after their wedding, he was posted to Bangalore. 

Hogben, C. O.
Charles Owen Hogben, C/KX 97610, was a 1st Class Stoker aboard HMS Hereward. He died on 29 May 1941, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 47.3

He was the "dear son" son of George James and Ethel Hogben, from Dover

annoucnement of death, courtesy Dover Express, May 1941

Memories are treasures no one can steal,
Death leaves a wound no one can heal;
Life is eternal, love will remain,
In God's own time we shall meet again.

From his ever loving Mother and Father
In life one of the finest,
In death one of the brave,
He failed not in his duty,
Himself he gladly gave.

from his loving brothers and sister, George, Bert, Wally, Leslie, and Sylvia, also Aunt Amy

May 1942

1943 - "Sweet was the hour of his coming, Lovely the time of his stay. Bitter and hard the heartache The day he was called away." Never forgotten by his Mum and Dad 

Hogben, J. H. T.
John Henry Thomas Hogben, C/KX 93531,  was a 1st Class Stoker aboard HMS Imogen. He died on 16 July 1940 at the age of 20, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 38.2

He was the son of John William Hogben and his wife Alice Louisa, formerly Willis, from 77 Union Road, Dover

"Loving memories - from Mum and Dad and sweetheart Bess"

in memoriam, courtesy Dover Express
July 1941

In treasured memory of our dear son, John Hogben (Stoker), drowned on active service July 1940. From his loving Mum and Dad, Brothers and Sisters

We think of him in silence,
We often speak his name,
What would we give to clasp his hand,
And see him smile again?

In loving memory of John Hogben (Stoker), drowned on active service July 1940. From his loving sweetheart, Bessie

No one knows how much I miss him,
No one in the world can tell
Of the heartache borne in silence
For the one I loved so well.
'Tis sad, but true, we wonder why,
The best are always the first to die  

photo by courtesy of Paul Willis - Willis family tree

Hogg, G. M.
George Mallison Hogg, LT/KX 104959, was a Stoker, Royal Naval Patrol Service, on HM Trawler Gairsay. He died on 3 August 1944, when he was 25. He is commemorated on the Lowestoft Naval Memorial. Panel 15, Column 3

He was the son of Alexander and Agnes Hogg, and the husband of Lilian Hogg, of 34 Tower Hamlets Road, Dover

Hope, F.
Frank Hope ("Shiner") was a Cable Engine Driver. Born on on 11 May 1897, he died, aged 47, on 24 February 1945, when the Cable Ship Alert was sunk, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial. Panel 5

He was the husband of Florence H Hope, from Perivale, Greenford, Middlesex

"In loving memory of a dear husband and Daddy" (February 1945)

Notes on Alert

Hopkins, W. H.
William Henry Hopkins was a Trinity House Pilot. He died, aged 67, on 19 December 1940, when the MV Arinia was destroyed by a mine off Southend Pier, bursting into flame. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill memorial. Panel 122

His parents were Thomas and Jane (née Payton) Hopkins, and his wife was Fanny Edith Hopkins, from Whitfield  

Hopper, D. A.
Dennis Albert Hopper, 1890043, was a sergeant in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, serving with 419 "Moose" Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force

He and the crew took off in Handley Page Halifax JD456 coded VR-B from RAF Middleton St George (now Durham Tees Valley Airport) at 17.04 hours on 15 February 1944. Their mission was a raid on Berlin. Their bomber crashed into the Baltic Sea in unknown circumstances, and all of the crew were lost

Dennis was 19 when he died. Born in Dover in 1924, he was the son of Edith Alice, née Sandy, and Henry William Hopper, from 33 Astley Avenue, Dover

The crew were:

Pilot Officer John Allen Parker RCAF Captain (Pilot) Aged 23
Sergeant Harold Thomas Raine RCAF Flight Engineer Aged 26
Flying Officer Frederick Hartnett RCAF Navigator Aged 23
Pilot Officer James Leo Donald RCAF Bomb Aimer Aged 25
Flight Sergeant Reginald Norman Ross RAFVR Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Aged 21
Sergeant Dennis Albert Hopper RAFVR Air Gunner Aged 19
Flight Sergeant Marc Alexander Gerard Fournier RCAF Air Gunner Aged 21

All of the crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial apart from Sgt Raine, P/O Donald and Flt/Sgt Fournier, whose bodies were recovered from the sea and are buried in Denmark. Dennis Hopper is commemorated on Panel 231

P/O Parker was the son of Lewis Allen Parker and Roseina Mabel Lillian Parker, of Minnedosa, Manitoba, Canada
Sgt Raine was the son of Thomas N. Raine, and of Jennie M. Raine, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
F/O Hartnett was the son of Leo and Mary Hartnett, of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada; husband of Audrey Hartnett
P/O Donald was the son of Leo and Mary Matilda Donald, of Grandview, Manitoba, Canada
Flt/Sgt Fournier was the son of Francis and Aurelie Fournier; husband of Marie Rose Jacqueline Yvette Fournier, of Hull, Province of Quebec, Canada

The raid took place in a period known as the Battle of Berlin that lasted from November 1943 to March 1944. It saw heavy losses suffered by RAF Bomber Command, and the night of 15/16 February 1944 was no exception. A force of 891 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Mosquitos took part in the raid and this was the largest force dispatched to a target apart from the 1,000 bomber raids of 1942. Over 2,600 tons of bombs were dropped which was also a record. The raid cost Bomber Command 43 aircraft including Halifax JD456, with over 250 bomber crew members killed

with thanks to Dean Sumner
detail from panel at Runnymede by Dean Sumner

Hopper, W. J.
Walter John Hopper was a Chief Engineer Officer, Merchant Navy, aboard the SS Maid of Kent. He died on 21 May 1940, when he was 54. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial. Panel 66.

In memoriam announcement, courtesy Dover Express 1941He was the husband of Elizabeth Amelia Hopper, from Dover 


Note: The Maid of Kent was one of the cross channel ferries, converted to a hospital ship.
See also:
"Luftwaffe Destruction of the Maid of Kent" by Richard Thwaites (.pdf)
and "Notes on the Hospital Carrier Maid of Kent"

photo with thanks to Richard Thwaites

Hudson, A. E.
Albert Euryalus Hudson, C/JX 149695, was a Petty Officer aboard HMS Boadicea. He was presumed killed on 13 June 1944, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 74.3. He was the husband of Georgina Hudson, née Becks

An In Memoriam notice in 1948 was placed by "his loving children, Judy and Jennifer" and his mother, brothers, and sisters. Tragically, PO Officer would never have seen his younger daughter Jennifer, as she was born on 23 January 1945, at the Royal Naval Nursing Home, Gillingham

Hudson, D. J. (F.?)
in memoriam 1942, courtesy Dover ExpressDouglas Jack (Foch?) Hudson, C/SSX18824, was a Telegraphist on HMS Liverpool. He was "killed in Eastern waters" - died of wounds- on 15 October 1940, when he was 21. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 37.2

He was the brother of John Henry Hudson, who lost his life with in the Battle of Jutland, 1916. "Their grave - the sea"

His parents were Mr Hudson of 70 Balfour Road, and his wife Elsa Emily, who died on18 June 1933, aged 57, and who is buried at Charlton   

in memoriam 1942

Hughes, J. A.
John Alfred Hughes, 6287893, was a Private in the 4th battalion of The Buffs (attached to the RAOC). He was 21 when he died on 7 September 1940 through enemy air action, and is buried in St Andrew's Churchyard, Tilmanstone, Kent. Row 3, Grave 18

He was the only son of  Alice May Hughes, from Tilmanstone, and her late husband, Alfred

"Until the day break." - 1942

Hulse, J.
John Leonard James Hulse ("Boy"), 634691, was a Sergeant Air Gunner in the 358 squadron of the RAF. The squadron lived only a year, from November 1944 to November 1945, and was assigned to the special duties of dropping agents and supplies, and, after Japan surrendered, food to POWs

On 25 March 1945 he took off at 5.30 am in Liberator KH397. Liberators were 4-engined American heavy bombers, supplied under lend-lease. With their lightweight construction, and fuel tanks throughout the upper fuselage, they had the long range necessary in the far east. However, they were also vulnerable to damage on impact or in battle, and to catching fire. John's aircraft struck trees at the end of the runway, and crashed in flames  in the village of Bakkutia.

All the crew were killed, and were buried the same day, in the evening.  Eight of the villagers were also killed, and ten injured, along with a number of animals.

John was 21. He was the son of John and Kate Hulse, from 9 Mangers Place, Buckland, Dover, and gained his nickname probably because he was mischievous, as the cry of "Oh, that boy!" was often heard at home.  John now lies buried with the other members of the crew at Chittagong War Cemetery, Bangladesh, 3 G 10.

1949 - We remember with love and gratitude our dear son and brother ... also his pilot and crew." His loving Mum, Dad, Sister Gladys, and Dick

The other crew members who died  were:
Mills, Walter Roy RAFVR Captain (pilot)   3 G 6
Loveless, Leslie Charles RAFVR 2nd pilot aged 20 3 G 8
Hencher, Sidney Edward RCAF Navigator   3 G 5
Taylor, Thomas Dixon RAFVR Bomb aimer aged 26 3G4
Young, Charles Clarence RAFVR Wireless operator/Air gunner aged 21 3 G 11
Rowe, Gerald Desmond Townsend RAFVR Wireless operator/Air gunner aged 21 3 G 12
Hawkins, James Frederick Charles RAFVR Air gunner aged 24 3 G 7
Potter, David Scott RAFVR Air gunner aged 21 3 G 9

pictures:John's parents; John in the football team, 1934-35, at Barton Road School (front row)' and John with a mounted policeman at  Delhi, approximately 1944/45

with thanks to Brian Sayer

Hunter, W. T.
William Thomas Caleb Hunter was a Seaman, Merchant Navy. Born on 12 June 1918, he was aboard the Cable Ship Alert when he died on 24 February 1945, at the age of 26. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial. Panel 5 

His parents were Albert Thomas Hunter and Catherine Hunter, from 38 Astor Avenue, Dover

Notes on Alert 

William Huntley, courtesy Mary Smye-RumsbyHuntley, W. J.
squadron badge, courtesy Mary Smye-RumsbyWilliam James Huntley ("Bill"), 1890773, was a Sergeant Air Gunner in No 77 Squadron of the RAFVR. He was the son of Ernest Alfred William and Mary Alice Huntley, from Dover

Seen off in London by his sister Mary the day before, Bill took off from Elvington, Yorkshire, on the night of 21 January 1944, at 20.10 hours. He was one of the crew of Handley Page Halifax JD471, taking part in the first large-scale raid on Magdeburg. During the early hours of 22 January 1944, Halifax JD471 crashed in flames at Zeitz, a small village Halifax II special, Wikimedia Commons between Schönebeck and Barby about fifteen miles south of Magdeburg

All of the crew except Sgt Gumm were killed and were subsequently buried at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Bill is buried in Grave 2 M 1. Next to Bill lies the other gunner, Thomas Berry, and the remainder of the crew are buried beside him, in Collective Grave 3-6. Sergeant Gumm was issued a prisoner number 270039, and was held in Stalag IVB at Mühlberg-Elbe

648 RAF bombers took part in the raid and 57 were lost, 35 of which were Halifax's including JD471. Many of the RAF aircraft shot down were victims of Luftwaffe nightfighters. Notwithstanding the high losses, the raid was not deemed a success owing to a number of operational failures and effective German decoy markers

The crew that night were:

Flight Sergeant Aubrey Kenneth Lawson Lyon Captain (Pilot)  
(known to his crew as "Ben", he took the photograph (left)  

and from top to bottom in the photograph

Sergeant Harold William Williams Bomb Aimer aged 20
Flight Sergeant Dennis Renton Flight Sergeant - Navigator  
Sergeant Ernie W Gumm Wireless Operator survived as POW
Sergeant William James Huntley Air Gunner aged 19
Sergeant Charles Alan Pinder Flight Engineer aged 20
Sergeant Thomas George Berry Air Gunner aged 24

with their mascot Zola

After his release from the POW camp, Ernie Gumm corresponded with Bill's sister, Mary, and had continued that correspondence ever since. In April 2009, one of Bill's nieces, also Mary, received a letter from him, describing what had happened that fateful night:

"We were heading for Magdeburg. The weather forecast was all wrong; they stated it would be foggy (would give us cover), but it was a very Memorial Window at Elvington, courtesy Kath Huntleyclear night. We approached the target through heavy gun fire and then plenty of night fighters. We were attacked and our plane was targeted. Being more to the front of our plane, the front crew members could hear the gun fire, and our port engine caught fire. This is when our captain said (and I quote) "For Christ sake, get out!

"I got up from the equipment and opened the floor hatch. Our navigator and front gunner were coming down. I jumped out and presumed that the others would follow. Sadly the plane must have dived or something happened, as it crashed at a place named Barby. It's all very upsetting, as I was convinced that they would be saved ... It was a long time after that I heard the sad news

"The POW camp (called Butlins) was ok. In general the Germans still adhered to the Geneva convention, but of course there were a few incidents. After a few months the Russian army were advancing quickly [...] we were released in April and repatriated in June. We were free to roam outside the camp [...] The Americans arrived eventually and flew us back to Belgium. Oh, the joy of white bread again! We flew back to the UK in a Halifax. We had to have medicals and whatever and we were given double rations. I had lost just over two stone. I was a bit tubby anyway! ... Home to Mum and Dad, and that was it"


brother Alf at the graves, courtesy Mary S-R

Right - Bill's younger brother Alf, visiting the graves of the crew in 2002. He and Bill's sister Mary, are now in their 80s; Bill's other brother, Ernie, died in 1988W Huntley, courtesy Mary S-R






At the foot of Bill's gravestone are the words: "Eternal rest give unto him, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon him."

In Memoriam
Huntley - Treasured memories of a dear son and brother, William James (Mickie) Huntley, Sgt. A/G. RAF., who died 21 January 1944. Interred British Cemetery, Heestrasse, Berlin. From his loving Mum, Dad, Mary, Alf, Ernie and Ida and Gran 

courtesy Mary S-Rcourtesy Mary S-R










On 24 March 2009, two of Bill's nieces, Julie and Mary, visited the cemetery where he lies with his crew. On the date that would have been his mother's, their grandmother's, birthday, this was the first time they had visited their Uncle Bill's grave. It was cold, and after they'd laid flowers on his grave, it snowed

Visitors' Book
courtesy Mary S-R

'"We spent about an hour walking around the cemetery and looking at the other graves.  It was so sad to see so many having lost their lives and at such a young age for most of them" 

with thanks to Mary Smye-Rumsby
RAF information with thanks to Dean Sumner
crew photo by courtesy of Ernie Gumm
with thanks to Ernie Gumm
memorial window by courtesy Kath Huntley


The memorial window is at Elvington church. There is also a memorial book. The words on the plaque by the memorial window read: "77 Squadron, Royal Air Force, No4 Group (York), Bomber Command 1939-1945 - 77 Squadron operated from Yorkshire air bases during the course of World War II. Commencing night time operations on September 5 1939, and made their final operation on 25 April 1945

In October 1942, they flew in to the newly completed air field at RAF Elvingon, immediately converting from Whitleys to Halifax bombers, and stayed there until May 1944. During this period, the most hazardous to Bomber Command during the war, the losses at Elvington were greater than the total combined losses at all their other six war-time bases

Initially RAF Elvington had no chapel and many attended this church of The Holy Trinity, some with their Elvington friends, to pray

Their Squadron Memorial stands at the old main gate of RAF Elvington, now the home of the Allied Air Forces Memorial and Yorkshire Air Museum, where the squadron history is exhibited. "Now weeds grow high, obscure the sky. Remember us as you pass by. May gratitude with you abide, For what you have ... is why we died" (Every member of aircrew was a volunteer)"

Copyright 2006-14 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved