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Thread: Sgt Hawkesley Wireless Operator Air Gunner

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    Default Sgt Hawkesley Wireless Operator Air Gunner

    I know this is a long shot, but you never know. I have a Wireless Operator Air Gunner in the 78 Squadron ORB in 1940/41 but I have no idea what happens to him post his time with 78 Squadron. I have no service number, no first names and his initials often change in the ORB, sometimes he is E HAWKESLEY in others he is H HAWKESLEY, in most he is just Sgt HAWKESLEY. I canít find him in the London Gazette for a commission or gallantry award. I canít find him as a casualty on the CWGC website, I havenít found a definite match in AIR 78. Iíve ruled out a Sgt Hawkesley with 75 Squadron.

    So has anyone come across a WOp/AG called HAWKESLEY in their research, that might be my man.

    Thanks
    Daz

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    Default Re: Sgt Hawkesley Wireless Operator Air Gunner

    Hello,

    A possibility - no more than that!

    http://www.156squadron.com/view_aircrew.asp?pCrewid=119

    Note incorrect DFC award, should read DFM:

    DISTINGUISHED FLYING MEDAL.

    HAWKSLEY, Harold William. 651570 Flight Sergeant, No.156 Sqn.

    L.G. 20/4/1943. Sorties 49, Flying hours 350. Air Gunner. Air2/8944.

    This N.C.O. has taken part in 49 operational sorties against targets in Germany, Italy and enemy occupied territory, 7 of which have been performed while serving with this squadron. Flight Sergeant Hawksley has already shown fine qualities as a mid-upper gunner although he has been with the squadron for a short time. He has at all times displayed a tenacity of purpose which has evoked the admiration of all other members of the squadron.

    21st February 1943.

    See: The DFM Register Vol.I A-J/Tavender/Savannah,2000/p.840.

    Also: MID - LG: 14/06/45, p.3002 - F/O - 54389 RAF - KBHL.

    Incident:

    30-31 January 1943
    156 Squadron
    Lancaster I W4853:GT-
    Op: Hamburg

    T/o 0055 Warboys. Crash-landed 0617 on return to base and caught fire, thus becoming the first Lancaster to be written off by the Squadron since converting from Wellingtons. Delivered on 13 January, it had flown 14.50 hours in total up to the time of the accident.

    W/O H F M Taylor
    Sgt R C Drinkwater
    Sgt J R Bond
    Sgt B H Gooding
    F/S J McCrum
    F/S H W Hawksley
    Sgt W O Woolnough

    See:BCL4/page 32.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th October 2021 at 00:22.

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    Default Re: Sgt Hawkesley Wireless Operator Air Gunner

    Col

    Thank you, Iíll see if I can link him back to 78 Squadron. Much appreciated.
    Daz

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    Default Re: Sgt Hawkesley Wireless Operator Air Gunner

    Daz,

    W/O H F McP Taylor (Hawksley's pilot), was posted to 156 Squadron, with his crew, from 103 Squadron on 8 January, 1943.

    http://www.156squadron.com/view_airc...p?pCrewid=2053

    Col.

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    Default Re: Sgt Hawkesley Wireless Operator Air Gunner

    Col,

    I think you may have picked the right man, although I'm not 100% certain. Looking at the number of operations quoted in the DFM citation and trawling the ORBs for 78, 103 and 156 Squadrons it seems he took part in 32 ops whilst at 78 (but IMHO 6 of these would not count as the operations were aborted, failed to take off etc.) but lets assume that they are counted, giving him a first tour total of between 26 and 32. He then completes 8 ops whilst at 103 Squadron and 17 ops at 156 Squadron bringing his Second Tour total to 25. The recommendation for the DFM states that he had only completed 7 ops at the time of the recommendation so that would make between 41 and 47 Ops. its possible that there are other operations which I am not aware of but either way it is close to the 49 quoted in the recommendation. He may have carried out ops at an OTU either before or after joining 78 Squadron which I am not aware of.

    My assumption is that he moved from 78 Squadron to a training post, possibly at one of the Air Gunner Schools or and OTU/HCU and then went to 103 for his second tour. His full list of ops, so far as I can gather is as follows:

    09/08/40 LUDWIGSHAVEN
    12/08/40 DNCO
    14/08/40 BORDEAUX
    16/08/40 BOHLEN
    19/08/40 ZCHORNEWITZ
    27/08/40 MANNHEIM
    04/09/40 MAGDEBURG
    07/09/40 FRENCH COAST DNCO
    09/09/40 BREMEN
    11/09/40 BERLIN
    14/09/40 ANTWERP
    19/09/40 MANNHEIM
    21/09/40 BOULOGNE
    23/09/40 BERLIN
    25/09/40 KIEL
    15/10/40 LEUNA
    19/10/40 DNCO
    20/10/40 NORDHAUSEN
    05/11/40 DNCO
    14/11/40 LORIENT
    17/11/40 GELSENKIRCHEN
    19/11/40 WILHELMSHAVEN
    22/11/40 DNCO
    25/11/40 WILHELMSHAVEN
    28/11/40 STETTIN
    09/12/40 EINDHOVEN
    13/12/40 KIEL
    16/12/40 MANNHEIM
    19/12/40 KLERE
    04/02/41 CALAIS
    10/02/41 ROTTERDAM
    11/02/41 BREMEN DNCO

    13/10/42 KIEL
    24/10/42 MILAN
    22/11/42 STUTTGART
    28/11/42 TURIN
    02/12/42 FRANKFURT
    06/12/42 MANNHEIM
    08/12/42 GARDENING BALTIC APPROACHES
    04/01/43 ESSEN

    27/01/43 DUSSELDORF
    30/01/43 HAMBURG
    02/02/43 COLOGNE
    04/02/43 TURIN
    11/02/43 WILHELMSHAVEN
    13/02/43 LORIENT
    16/02/43 LORIENT
    19/02/43 WILHELMSHAVEN
    24/02/43 WILHELMSHAVEN
    25/02/43 NURENBURG
    01/03/43 BERLIN
    03/03/43 HAMBURG
    22/03/43 ST NAZAIRE
    27/03/43 BERLIN
    28/03/43 ST NAZAIRE
    04/04/43 KIEL
    10/04/43 FRANKFURT

    I just need to find out which training units he served with.

    thanks again
    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 14th October 2021 at 16:14.

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    Default Re: Sgt Hawkesley Wireless Operator Air Gunner

    Just to close this off, I have now made contact with the family of Sgt Hawksley and confirmed that he is the right man. He was a fruit merchant from Hull before enlisting in 1939.
    Thanks once again to Col.

    Daz

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