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Thread: F/O Hill - 78 squadron

  1. #1
    Biggs Guest

    Default F/O Hill - 78 squadron

    Hi all,

    I am researching my great-uncle, Flying Officer Frank Hill (navigator), service no. 154358.
    He was killed 7 Oct 1944, on a raid over Kleve, in Halifax LV796. (One of only 2 Halifaxes lost)
    Crash site and reason unknown.
    His crew members were:

    P/O J.R.Gillespie KIA
    Sgt E.P.Knight KIA
    F/O B.E.Turnbull KIA
    Sgt C.E.Miller KIA
    Sgt G.Sharrocks KIA
    Sgt H.R.Porter KIA

    I was wondering if anyone had any info on the operation itself, the past operations of the crew, or anything at all about the career of F/O Hill. I seem to have drawn a blank with internet research! I would be grateful for any help at all.

  2. #2
    Alain Guest

    Default F/O Hill

    Hi ,

    Here some info on that night operation:

    351 aircraft , 251 Halifaxes,90 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitoes- of 3,4 and 4 Group to bomb this small German town wich,together with Emmerich, stood on the approach routes by wich German units could threaten the vulnerable Allied right flank near Nijmegen wich has been left exposed by the failure of Operation Market Garden.Visibility was clear and the centre and north of the town were heavely bombed,altough some crews bombed to early and their loads fell in Holland near Nijmegen, 2 Halifaxes lost

    From the Bomber Command War Diaries

    Greetings
    Alain
    Belgium

  3. #3
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    The aircraft crashed on a house at Spyck Strasse Nr.60 (Streetname and number) at Kleve. Only Hill could be identified. Remains of three airmen were found in 1965. Except Hill, all have a Special Grave Memorial Type C.
    Gillespie and Turnbull share one grave; Sharrocks and Porter share one grave; Knight and Miller share one grave.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Biggs. Herewith the London Gazette entries for your great uncle's commissioning and promotion to flying officer:
    Air Ministry, 15th February, 1944.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Appointment to commission.
    As Plt. Offs. on prob. (emergency):
    Ldg. Acm.
    26th Nov. 1943.
    1623885 Frank HILL (154358).

    Air Ministry, 23rd June, 1944-
    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Confirmation and promotion.
    Plt. Offs. (prob.) confmd. in appts. and to be. Flg. Offs. (war subs.):
    26th May 1944.
    F. HILL (154358).

    From the Commonwealth War Graves site he was 21 at the time of his death.
    Regards, Terry

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    Biggs

    I believe that your great uncle and his crewmates were new arrivals to the Squadron, most likely coming from 41 Base at the begining of the month, strangely there is no mention of their arrival in the postings in section of the Squadron Operational Record Book. The skipper of the crew, Pilot Officer Gillespie flew his first operation as a 2nd pilot on the 6th October flying with Flight Lieutenant Warn and crew; the raid was a daylight operation against Gelsenkirchen and was completed without incident to the crew. Your uncle and the remainder of the crew set off on their maiden operation against Kleve on the 7th at 1132 hours and would have been in the target area at around 1400 hours when they were hit by flak and shot down. As mentioned in previous posts there were no survivors.

    hope that this is of use to you.

    Daz

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    Biggs ,Do you have a Photo of Fg Off Hill ? I may well have one as I bought some memorabilia to Sgt CE Miller who was KIA with the crew. There was a group photo taken in Elgin Morayshire with the papers , I know that Sgt Miller was posted to 19 OTU which was in Forres and that would be 14 miles from Elgin. would have been possible for the crew to move to 78 Sqn as a group.

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    Nemesis

    I have messaged you.

    Regards

    Daz

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    I have spoken to the CWGC and they agree that the unit for C. E. Miller should actually say 78 Sqn and not 19 O.T.U. and they have amended their records. They say that his unit information came from his parents, so it would appear that he had served at 19 O.T.U. but hadn't told his parents he had moved on to an operational Squadron.

    Regards

    Daz

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    Hi! I am the OP, rather belatedly returning! I moved house shortly after posting my question and was thus without internet for some weeks, by which time I had forgotten all about this thread. After recently helping my daughter with a family history homework task, I was prompted to return to my research of my great-uncle - imagine my surprise when after googling I found my own thread!

    If any members who kindly replied to my question are still active on the forum, thank you very much for all the information you found for me in 2008 (!). Very sad to hear that the crew were killed so soon after arriving at the squadron.

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