24.10.1943 No. 150 Squadron Wellington III HF482 JN-A Sq/Ldr. Eric W. Brown
Operation: Guidonia Airfield, Italy.
Date: 24th October 1943
Unit: 150 Squadron
Type: Wellington III
Location: Near target, Guidonia Airfield, Italy.
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Eric William Brown 40074 RAF Age 28. Killed
Nav: F/O. Ivor Michael Godby NZ/415308 RNZAF Age 30. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Carl Harlington 1430143 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/AirGnr: Fl/Lt. Edward Arthur Hackshaw 137633 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward Henry Edmonds 554011 RAF Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Charles Richmond Robertson 1332280 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
We welcome any contact from any relative from this crew. It is vital that we remember these people - you may hold a photograph / information that others would love to see / read - please, we lost them once - which was tragic, to lose them again would be criminal!
REASON FOR LOSS:
This aircraft was involved in a mid air collision with another Wellington LN335. The crew was originally buried in the Marcellina Civil Cemetery, but were re-consecrated in the British Military Cemetery, Rome.
The following has been taken from a diary kept by Flt Lt. Roy Gwilt who shared the same tent with Edward Hackshaw:
Written on the back: No.9 A.F.U. October 1942, Me, Les, Bill, Chas, Red, Stevie, Benny, Tich, Bob and Jock. 42 W/TAG Course A Class RAF. Penrhos N. Wales.
Roy "Blue" Gwilt shared his tent in Tunisia with Ted Hackshaw and Bert Caskie the bombing leader. He wrote in his diary about what he called "The Guidonia Duck Shoot".
‘On arrival on 150 squadron at Kairouan West, Tunisia in October 1943 Blue wrote: ‘Flight Lieutenant Pugh, the Adjutant soon introduced me to the owners of the tent that was to be a home for a while, Fl/Lt B.V. Caskie, DFC. And P/O. E.A. Hackshaw... Ted Hackshaw was the Signals Leader for 150 Squadron, and was now nearing the end of his tour. He too came from the London area where his home was in Dagenham, Essex. I consider myself very fortunate to have had these two gentlemen as friends during the traumatic introduction to squadron life.’
Right: Fl/Lt. Edward Arthur Hackshaw
‘My tent mates Bert and Ted frequently flew with the Group Captain as Bomb Aimer and Wireless Operator. (This was Group Captain Speedy Powell). Bert and Ted also did a lot of flying with our Squadron Commanders, including the current S/L Brown. We lost Squadron Commanders at a phenomenal rate in those days.’
‘On 24 Oct 1944 the target was Guidonia. Bert Caskie was lucky to miss the Guidonia operation, but Ted Hackshaw was flying with the CO (Sq/Ldr. Brown). Our target was the airfield and for a change it DID have strong defences. This place was almost 15 miles to the east of Rome, just short of a steep rise of the central mountain range.’
‘While we stood around catching that last smoke before take-off, Ted came tearing over from dispersal: ‘Blue - help me out. I came away without a pencil.’ At this point, with alighted cigarette in my hand and all my pencils safely tucked away inside the aircraft, I only had one choice. ‘Here have my best,’ I told him and I unzipped my silver propelling pencil from my breast pocket. A radio operators need for a pencil was as great as a navigator's. Anyway I gave Ted my 21st birthday present from Ena (his girlfriend at the time in the UK.)’
Left: Roy and Ted.
‘We had no difficulty in reaching and finding Guidonia. We could see the shooting had started before we got there. Herb (Blue's Bomb Aimer) went down to his bombing panel and soon we were into the run up procedure.
Suddenly right in front of our nose - there was a great flash of flame, in the middle of which I could discern the shape of a Wellington for just a second. In that second coloured flashes were spewing out from it, then its bomb load exploded with a blinding flash.’
Written on the back: 191 Squad D Flight 12 squadron No.3 Wing Blackpool, February 1941 in Ted's handwriting. Ted is in the middle row on the end at the right.
‘It was only a little further along the bombing run, a matter of several seconds, when we heard a call from Al Fanton in the rear turret ‘Christ, The Wimpy behind us - It's on fire - OH? It just blew up.’
‘The next day we learned that we had lost two aircraft on the op, one of them being that of the C/O Sq/Ldr. Brown - and my tent partner Ted Hackshaw. We had seen both aircraft go.’
‘We were appointed to the Committee of adjustment - we were now responsible for going through all Ted's correspondence and personal equipment.’
‘All items of personal nature would be crated and shipped back to next of kin. Air Force equipment was returned to stores.’
‘Ted had been within viewing distance of the end of his tour, and so there was one item that could have had the makings of a problem for the people handling his affairs. On one of his touring trips within North Africa, Ted had picked up an ermine cape and hat for his little niece, who must have been about four or five at the time. His letter to her was only partly complete to her on his writing pad: ‘…just wait and see what surprise I am bringing you. You will be the proudest girl on Porter's Avenue…’
Left: Loraine Kyd (Nee Hackshaw) shown here aged two with the Ermine cape and hat that her Uncle Ted had purchased for her prior to his death.
‘One item of Ted's that I kept for myself, intending it to be temporary. I kept his logbook (now in England)... it was always my intention to return this personally to any of his family, as it was a piece of ‘family history’ that anyone would have been proud to own.’
‘As was customary in squadron life Bert and I re-arranged the tent and by the end of the day it looked like only two people had ever occupied it. We never brought up Ted's name again.’
We would like to add that although the family of Sgt. Edward Hackshaw were in contact with Roy Gwilt prior to him passing away in British Columbia, Canada a couple of years ago, the log book has never been found and the family really would like that to be returned.
If anyone does in fact know the whereabouts of it please contact us via the site and we will put you in contact with the family.
Loraine Kyd (Née Hackshaw) - niece of Ted - visiting his grave in Italy- the inscription at the bottom "In memory's garden we meet every day" - words that Loraine and Mary Lou's grandmother often used to say.
Sq/Ldr. Eric William Brown. Rome War Cemetery.Grave: II.E.9. Son of Henry Daniel and Ada, husband of Doreen Margaret of West Brdgeford, Notts, England.
Fl/Lt. Edward Arthur Hackshaw. Rome War Cemetery. Grave: II.E.10. Son of James Arthur and Mary Lucy of Dagenham, Essex, England.
F/O. Ivor Michael Godby. Rome War Cemetery. Grave: II.E.13. Son of Michael Harry and Marion Dorothea (nee Symes) of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Sgt. Carl Harlington. Rome War Cemetery. Grave: II.E.11. Son of Walster and Ruby of Hexthrorpe, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. Edward Henry Edmonds. Rome War Cemetery. Grave: II.E.12. Son of Henry John and Hilda, husband of Joan.
Fl/Sgt. James Charles Richmond Robertson. Rome War Cemetery. Grave: II.E.8. Son of James Charles and Eleanor Sarah of Cheam, Surrey, England.
Page of remembrance placed for Mary Lou Holding and Loraine Kyd, relatives of Fl/Lt. Edward Arthur Hackshaw. Information kindly supplied by them. Also to Alan Petcher for photo of Sgt Carl Harlington - September 2016.