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Thread: Query: 550930 Jack HUTCHINSON - Air Force Medal?

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    Default Query: 550930 Jack HUTCHINSON - Air Force Medal?

    Hello everyone

    The above airman was injured when he was part of the crew of Hampden P4339 of 61 Sqn, which collided with L4138 of 16 O.T.U. on June 13th 1940 (BCL 1940, p.77). He was badly burned, and became one of Archibald McIndoe's 'guinea pigs' at East Grinstead:

    https://www.eastgrinsteadmuseum.org....ck-hutchinson/

    After a little digging I believe his full name is William John Hutchinson, born 1919 at Penrith. Air 81/2251 apparently has details of the accident, and it was reported in the Penrith Observer of July 2nd 1942. It also refers to a previous accident he was involved in, and this was reported in the same paper on September 26th 1939:

    A NARROW ESCAPE
    Langwathby Man in Air Crash
    The 19-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hutchinson, Langwathby, Aircraftman Jack Hutchinson, who is a wireless operator in the Royal Air Force, had a remarkable escape from death or serious injury when his plane crashed in flames only a few days after the outbreak of war.
    Writing to his parents, Aircraftman Hutchinson states that he was returning from a trip "over the lines" and was within four miles of the aerodrome on the homeward journey when the crash occurred. The plane was burned out and the pilot killed outright, but the wireless operator escaped with a "bumped" thigh and an injured left arm. He was taken to hospital where he made a good recovery, and has now returned to active service.


    Furthermore, the Penrith Observer of August 25th 1942 reported the following (abridged for brevity):

    Flight Sergeant Hutchinson, A.F.M., (Langwathby) has been decorated with the D.F.M. Flight Sergeant Hutchinson, who is 22 years of age, has been in hospital for two years due to burns from his plane while on operations. He has been in the hands of Mr. McIndoe, the plastic surgeon, and is now in a camp in Northern Ireland.
    He received the A.F.M. in 1940 for his gallantry [when he] crawled through a flaming crashed Hampden to pull out the 'bottom' gunner while 8,000 rounds of ammunition were exploding.


    A quick look at Bomber Command Losses 1939-1940 shows a possible loss - Hampden L4161 of 7 Sqn, crashed 4 miles E of Doncaster on a training flight on September 5th 1939, killing the pilot, P/O Anthony Richard Playfair. The 7 Sqn ORB however, mentions he was the sole occupant.

    There's no reference to Hutchinson receiving the D.F.M. in the Fold3 records, and I can't find an A.F.M. award in the London Gazette.

    So, did he receive a gallantry award for rescuing the gunner, and can anyone give a possible identity of the Hampden involved in the crash in 1939?

    Many thanks,

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon,

    If I've read the East Grinstead reference correctly it indicates he was injured on 1 June 1940 (not 13 June) whilst with 16 OTU (not 61 Squadron). Apologies I've misunderstood.

    Brian

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    Brian,

    It does indeed state that, but I think it's perhaps not 100% correct.

    Bill Chorley's BCL 1940, and BCL Volume 7, have the two Hampdens colliding on June 13th, and "Sgt. Hutchinson" as one of the crew of the 61 Sqn aircraft. The casualty pack I mentioned in my post is listed here:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...th-Open-Status

    Pilot Officer A C Rowe (RNZAF), Pilot Officer M S Blyth (RSAF), Leading Aircraftman F C Evitt (RCAF), Pilot Officer D A Helsby, Sergeant W J Hutchinson: injured; Pilot Officer G A Atkinson, Sergeant S J Golding: killed; collision on take-off between Hampden L4138, 16 Operational Training Unit, and Hampden P4339, 61 Squadron, 13 June 1940.


    Unless I've added two and two together and got five, of course - wouldn't be the first time...! I can't see a 16 O.T.U. loss for June 1st.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi,

    http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/rafescape/obits.htm

    OBITUARIES OF ESCAPERS/EVADERS/HELPERS & Roll of Honour

    Hutchinson, Jackie, DFM AFM obituary 18 Sep 1999 The Times

    https://www.eastgrinsteadmuseum.org....ck-hutchinson/

    D.O.B: 11/10/19 (21) D.O.D.: 18/08/1991 (71)

    Obituary 1999?

    Regards

    Mojmir

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    Quote Originally Posted by vrajm View Post
    Hi,

    http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/rafescape/obits.htm

    OBITUARIES OF ESCAPERS/EVADERS/HELPERS & Roll of Honour

    Hutchinson, Jackie, DFM AFM obituary 18 Sep 1999 The Times

    https://www.eastgrinsteadmuseum.org....ck-hutchinson/

    D.O.B: 11/10/19 (21) D.O.D.: 18/08/1991 (71)

    Obituary 1999?

    Regards

    Mojmir
    The rafinfo site has a typo. The obit was in The Times in 1991

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    I'm going to be following this thread closely to see what you guys can find. So many discrepancies:

    1) The Times mentions a DFM. But no evidence of such award in the LG, Tavender, Honour the Air Forces or Flightglobal
    2) Ditto for his AFM
    3) Times mentions an award of the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in 1966. Again not found in LG or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966_B...ice_in_the_Air
    4) Obit states he evaded capture twice in France. His name doesn't appear Clutton-Brock's Evaders book.

    He was this man of mystery?
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    Just to complicate matters, 550930 is the service number of an army sapper from the Royal Armoured Corps named Freederick L Colclough who was a prisoner in Stalag XVIIID Marburg.

    Bruce
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    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    I have to agree with Amrit's comments.

    I can find no trace of any accident that might correspond with his crash in early September 1939 (checked up to the 26th). However the Times obituary seems to be clear it happened pre-war. Also he was involved in another pre-war accident, from which he baled out.

    Furthermore the Times obituary makes it clear he was flying in Whitleys, not Hampdens, if No.4 Group was involved. I have checked the ORBs (F.541s) of all five operational Whitley squadrons from September 1939 to February 1940 inclusive and found not one mention of his name !

    I am inclined to suggest the reporter in the Penrith Observer used 'journalistic licence' when describing his early war activities, unless of course he was told this.
    It is possible too that late in life the former airman gave incorrect or embellished details of his service life to his family or to whoever passed on the information to the Times. 185 bombing sorties does not seem possible.

    I cannot believe this clearly brave and dedicated serviceman was not rewarded for his outstanding years of service and suffering endured.

    This is an interesting case !

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce dennis View Post
    Just to complicate matters, 550930 is the service number of an army sapper from the Royal Armoured Corps named Freederick L Colclough who was a prisoner in Stalag XVIIID Marburg.

    Bruce
    His AIR 78 seems to "confirm" the number.

    https://i.imgur.com/0qZnDVw.jpg
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    Bruce,

    I think you will find service numbers are not unique to a person or service. The Army and RAF use the same ones and I've lost count of the number of times I've searched for an RAF service number and come up with an Army gentleman - in fact for a service number I often find more Army hits than RAF.

    Brian

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