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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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No. 10 Squadron Crest
05/06.07.1942 No. 10/227 Squadron Halifax II W7679 ZA-C A/S/Ldr. Alan Egbert Hacking

Operation: Heraklion, Crete

Date: 05/06 September 1942

Unit: No.10/227 Squadron

No. 10 Squadron Motto: "Rem acu tangere" (To hit the mark).

No. 10 Squadron Badge: A winged arrow. The winged arrow is to indicate great speed and is also a reminder that the air bomb is the successor of the arrow of medieval times.

Authority: King George VI, September 1937.

(No. 227 Squadron had no badge or motto and was disbanded on 5 September 1945)

Type: Handley Page Halifax II

Serial: W7679

Code: ZA-C

Base: RAF Fayid, Egypt

Location: Voni, Crete

Pilot: A/S/Ldr. Alan Egbert Hacking 63487 RAFVR - Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John William (Mac) MacFarlane MM 568967 RAFVR - Evaded (2)

Obs: P/O. Newt H. Turner J/15376 RCAF - PoW No. 733 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (3)

1st W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph D. (Joe) Bradley MM 1057447 RAFVR - Evaded (4)

2nd W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/Sgt. Allan Edwin (Kit) Carson Aus/404537 RAAF Age 22 - Killed (5)

Air/Gnr (R): F/Sgt. William Jeremiah (Magee) Porritt DFM R/58432 RCAF Age 20 - Killed (6)


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INTRODUCTION

By September 1942 this crew had flown together with No. 10 Squadron for at least six months and most of them for over a year. They had survived a ditching, at least two crashes, many dangerous raids over enemy territory and encounters with enemy fighters. They had taken part in an attack on the Tirpitz on 27 April 1942 and a daylight attack on the German battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. For his actions on this and a later raid over Germany Canadian rear gunner Magee Porritt was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on 29 May 1942 with the citation reading:

As an air gunner, Flight Sergeant Porritt has displayed great skill and coolness in combat. During a daylight attack on the German battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, his aircraft was attacked by 4 Messerschmitt 109's. Using his guns most effectively, Flight Sergeant Porritt shot down 1 of the attackers in flames, probably destroyed another of them and warded off the remaining 2 until fighter assistance arrived. In the encounter, Flight Sergeant Porritt was wounded in the face and arms. One morning in May, 1942, whilst returning from an operation over Germany, he engaged a Messerschmitt 109 from close range. Following a well-directed burst of fire, the enemy aircraft was observed to plunge vertically towards the ground where, a few seconds later, it apparently burst into flames. On both these occasions, this airman undoubtedly saved his aircraft from destruction.

On June/July 1942 16 Halifax Mark IIs and their crews of No.10 Squadron were detached to the Middle East and on 5 July at Aqir in Palestine was joined by No 227 Squadron (non-operational) which acted as a servicing unit and the combined units numbered No. 10/227 Squadron.

16 Halifax and their crews of No. 76 Squadron were similarly detached to Aqir where No. 454 Squadron (non-operational) acted as its servicing unit and thus becoming No. 76/454 Squadron. The servicing unit was replaced in late August by that of No. 462 Squadron and therefore numbered No. 76/462 Squadron.

Operating from various advanced landing grounds in Egypt No. 10/227 Squadron made a series of attacks on Tobruk. By early August the squadron was located at RAF Fayid (Landing Ground 211) 23 km south of Ismailia from where the squadron continued to attack Tobruk.

On 7 September 1942 No. 10/227 combined with No. 76/462 to form No.462 (RAAF) Squadron.


REASON FOR LOSS

On 5 September 1942 eight Halifax bombers of 10/227 and 76/462 squadrons were despatched from RAF Fayid on a daylight raid to bomb Heraklion airfield, Crete. Captained by Alan Hacking W7973 was leading the final formation of three bombers but on arrival over the target his formation found itself leading the attack at 19.20 hours. They bombed in formation and being the leading aircraft the Germans concentrated their fire them.

The Squadron Operational Record Book records that

W7679 made its run over the target and bombed in a shallow dive pulling out at 7000 feet but was then hit by light flak that hit the starboard outer engine and petrol was seen to stream away from tanks 5 and 6 presumably. Shortly after flames appeared on this engine almost at the same time the petrol stopped streaming out. As the fire continued to grow the pilot turned south onto course. After turning, the aircraft side slipped to port thus keeping the flames away from the inboard section of the wing and fuselage. At this time a figure presumably the Tail Gunner was seen by other crews to bale out of the rear turret successfully, south east of Kastelli Pediada Crete, at 6000 feet. Soon after another chute was seen to open and later just before the breaking up of the starboard wing which was caused by the fire, 3 more chutes were seen to open. The crew of No 3 aircraft did not see a 6th chute but the crew of No 2 aircraft saw a single chute before the whole aircraft broke up in the air and it would appear that the 6th and last member of the crew was the Captain. Immediately after the aircraft crashed in flames south east of Kastelli Pediada.

Effects of the bombing were difficult to observe as the bombers were forced to take evasive action to avoid the flak and enemy fighters.

In a letter of 29 March 1943 to the pilot's father, Flight Engineer Sergeant J.W. MacFarlane recalled the final moments on board the aircraft.

"I told Alan it was hopeless and he ordered 'Abandon Aircraft'. Newt Turner, the Observer, handed up Alan's parachute and baled out. Meanwhile the two gunners Kit Carson and Magee Porritt decided to come forward to bale out.

Then the Wireless Op., Joe Bradley left the aircraft which was blazing by this time, and I asked the Skipper, Alan, to put the aircraft in auto pilot and jump with me. He shook hands, said he wasn't leaving until the other two cleared out, and told me to go. I jumped, and just after I left the whole starboard wing dropped off. I shall never forget the Skipper sitting there as cool as anything, looking as though he was on a joy ride. Alan could easily have saved his own life without affecting the fate of the other two. Instead he chose to go with them to the last.

The three of them were buried with full military honours at a small Cretan town of Kastelli Pediaa, near a German aerodrome. The Germans honoured them with an Air Force escort, and a firing party of thirty airmen, who fired three volleys. The burial was conducted by three Greek priests, and the whole townsfolk turned out to follow the coffins, although a number of their friends had been killed by our bombs. In all there were about 500 people". (Details from Alan Hacking's Memorial Booklet courtesy St. Peter's Old Boys Association, Seaford, East Sussex)

P/O. Newt Turner the Observer landed safely and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war. Given the PoW number 733 he was sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan and Belaria.

Wireless Operator Joe Bradley and Flight Engineer Mac MacFarlane however managed to evade capture. They were hidden by locals and eventually joined up with SOE operatives on the island. They were later evacuated and in recognition of their work whilst with the SOE were both awarded the Military Medal as promulgated in the London Gazette of 20 July 1943.

The citation reads:

These airmen were wireless operator and flight engineer, respectively, of a bomber which was shot down over Heraklion on 5th September 1942, three of the crew being killed and a fourth member taken prisoner. Sergeants Bradley and MacFarlane evaded the enemy, and a fortnight later, linked up with certain British organisers, but were not content merely to remain passive and inactive until arrangements could be made for them to be evacuated. From October 1942, until he was actually evacuated on 14th February 1943, Sergeant Bradley operated a hitherto disused W/T set and made contact with RAF Headquarters, Middle East, sending much valuable information. During the period he remained cheerful in all difficulties and shared, with other members of the organisation, in the trials of hurried night moves and constant hiding necessitated by the activities of German field troops and counter-espionage agents. He also proved invaluable in making friendly contacts with local inhabitants. Sergeant Bradley assisted the organisation in every way and voluntarily became an active and enthusiastic agent. Sergeant MacFarlane proved himself equally valuable, not only assisting Sergeant Bradley but giving continual and encouraging assistance to other wireless operators.

John MacFarlane was an ex-Halton apprentice and an article in Medal News (February 1994) entitled "For Bravery in the Field - RAF Halton apprentices at war" gives much additional information on his role on their Crete activities.

Joseph Bradley and John MacFarlane were both commissioned in April 1944 and remained in the RAF for many years after the war ended. John MacFarlane retired from the RAF Technical Branch in 1964 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant whilst Joseph Bradley retired in 1973 from the RAF Secretarial Branch with the rank of Wing Commander. (See biographical details below for further details)


BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW

(1) A/S/Ldr. Alan Egbert Hacking was born on 13 April 1918 at Kingston, Surrey the son of Alfred Hacking and Elizabeth M. Hacking nee Hartmann. He had an elder sister Joan born in 1913. He was educated at St. Peter's School, Seaford, East Sussex and Marlborough College.

He joined the Metropolitan Police on 28 December 1938 becoming PC 127423 of C Division. He left voluntarily on 24 June 1940 to join the RAFVR.

931940 LAC Alan Egbert Hacking was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation on 17 April 1941 (London Gazette 2 May 1941) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 17 April 1942 (London Gazette 23 June 1942) No further details of his promotions have been found.

We are grateful to St. Peter's Old Boys Association for allowing us to use the photograph of Alan Hacking and other information taken from his memorial booklet. The whole booklet, which also contains a comprehensive account of Alan's life, can be seen at http://www.stpetersseaford.org.uk/memorabilia/alan...





(2) Sgt. John William (Mac) MacFarlane was born on 29 February 1920 at Middlesbrough in the North Riding of Yorkshire the son of John W. MacFarlane and Emma A. MacFarlane nee Whitfield. He had four siblings: Edgar W. MacFarlane born 1917, Harold MacFarlane born 1921, Peter R. MacFarlane born 1924 and Gladys MacFarlane born 1926. The family lived at 3 Westward Street, Middlesbrough.

568967 Warrant Officer John William McFarlane was commissioned in the Technical Branch as an Acting Pilot Officer (54583) on probation (emergency) on 27 April 1944 (London Gazette 30 May 1944) and regraded to Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 7 September 1944 (London Gazette 8 December 1944). He was confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 7 March 1945 (London Gazette 23 March 1945).

On 13 July 1949 he was appointed to commissions (class B) in the Technical Branch as Flying Officer and appointed to the Reserve of Air Force Officers retaining the same rank (London Gazette 18 October 1949).

His service was extended by 5 years with effect from 13 July 1954 (London Gazette 17 August 1954).

He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 31 October 1954 (London Gazette 10 May 1955).

His service was further extended by 5 years with effect from 13 July 1959 (London Gazette 20 October 1959).

Flight Lieutenant John William McFarlane relinquished his commission and retaining his rank on 13 July 1964 (London Gazette 24 July 1964)

He died in the Central Cleveland District in 1995 aged 75.


(3) P/O. Newt H. Turner - Nothing further known. If you have any information please contact our helpdesk


(4) Sgt. Joseph D. (Joe) Bradley MM was born in 1921 at Festiniog, Merionethshire, Wales the son of Oswald J. Bradley and Winifred Bradley nee Deed. He had three siblings; Oswald J. Bradley born 1915, Francis H.G. Bradley born 1917 and Winifred E. Bradley born 1922 died 1927 aged 4.

He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) and on 10 April 1944 (London Gazette 23 May 1944), confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 11 October 1944 (London Gazette 3 November 1944).

Promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war subs) on 11 April 1946 (London Gazette 10 May 1946)

On 5 December 1946 granted four years extended service as Flying Officer on the active list (London Gazette 14 January 1947).

Granted seniority in substantive rank with effect from 11 April 1945 (London Gazette 28 February 1947).

Promoted to Flight Lieutenant (Substantive) 11 October 1947 (London Gazette 25 November 1947)

Appointed to commission as Flight Lieutenant (permanent) 22nd February 1949 and transferred to the Secretarial Branch on 19th May 1949 (seniority 19th May 1949) (London Gazette 10 June 1949)

Promoted to Squadron Leader on 1 January 1956 (London Gazette 30 December 1955

Promoted to Wing Commander 1 July 1963 (London Gazette 2 July 1963)

Wing Commander Joseph D Bradley MM, AMBIM (Associate Member of the British Institute of Management), AMIPM (Associate Member of the Institute of Personnel Management) retired at his own request on 4 July 1973 (London Gazette 7 August 1973)


(5) F/Sgt. Allan Edwin (Kit) Carson was born on 5 March 1920 at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia the son of Cecil Ruddle Carson and Alys Beatrice Carson, of Boyd Road, Nundah, a suburb of Brisbane. He was educated at Eagle Junction State School (1932-33) and Brisbane Boys Grammar School (1933-35).After leaving school he was employed as a Clerk at the Australian Guarantee Corporation in Brisbane and studied Book-keeping and Accountancy. He played hockey, football, tennis and cricket and enjoyed sailing. When he enlisted at Brisbane on 13 September 1940 he was 5' 5" tall weighing 130 lbs with a medium complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.

After 6 weeks at No. 2 Initial Training School Allan embarked for Canada where, after arrival on 20 October he was posted to No. 2 Wireless School at RCAF Calgary, Alberta on 21 November followed on 7 December with a posting to No. 1 Wireless School at RCAF Montreal, Quebec where he was awarded his Wireless Badge on 28 April 1941. There followed a four week course at No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis, Ontario and the award of his Air Gunners Badge on 26 May. The 29 July found him at No.3 Personnel Reception Centre at RAF Uxbridge and the following week on 8 December at No. 2 Signals School, RAF Yatesbury in Wiltshire. On 29 September he was posted to No. 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss, in Morayshire, Scotland for training on the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber. After a posting to No. 102 Squadron on 22 December at RAF Topcliffe he was posted to No. 10 Squadron on 8 January 1942. On 1 July he was posted to 227 Squadron in the Middle East where he arrived on 28 July.

He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour at Nundah, Brisbane and the Australian National War Memorial, Panel 120 at Canberra


(6) F/Sgt. William Jeremiah (Magee) Porritt DFM was born on 15 February 1922 at Winnipeg, Manitoba the only child of William Joseph Porritt and Manchester, England born mother Aide Edith Porritt nee Cohan. His father was a Shipper for the Pacific Meat Company and the family live at 8707 French Street, Vancouver, British Columbia. Educated at David Lloyd George Public and Magee High Schools, Vancouver until 1940, he engaged in swimming, extensively and baseball, volleyball, soccer, basketball and skiing all moderately. An accomplished musician he played Banjo.

After leaving school he enlisted in the RCAF at Vancouver on 10 August 1940. When he enlisted he was 5' 11" weighing 155 lbs with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and hair. He was recommended for training as an Observer and after initial training was posted to No 3 Air Observer School at RCAF Regina Saskatchewan on 9 December 1941. His disappointment at not having been selected for pilot training severely affected his attitude to studying at Observer school and inevitably he failed the course, more due to lack of interest rather than ability. His only desire was to get to England as soon as possible and to achieve this end he remustered as an Air Gunner taking a short gunnery course at No. 2 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mossbank, Saskatchewan where he was awarded his Air Gunners Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 26 May 1941.

On 30 June he embarked for the UK and on arrival was posted initially to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre but barely a week later on 9 July he found himself posted to No. 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire, Scotland for 6 weeks training on the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber. On completion of his training in Scotland he was posted to No. 10 Squadron at RAF Leeming in the North Riding of Yorkshire on 20 August 1941.

He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1 April 1942



BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS


(1) A/S/Ldr. Alan Egbert Hacking was originally buried at the village of Thrapsano, Kastelli Pediada, Heraklion, Crete and reinterred on 17 November 1945 at Suda Bay War Cemetery near Chania (Xania) Crete. Plot 16. Row C. Grave No. 8

No epitaph

(5) F/Sgt. Allan Edwin (Kit) Carson was originally buried at the village of Thrapsano, Kastelli Pediada, Heraklion, Crete and reinterred on 17 November 1945 at Suda Bay War Cemetery near Chania (Xania) Crete. Plot 6. Row E. Grave No.6

His epitaph reads:

In proud and loving memory

Of our son

(6) F/Sgt. William Jeremiah (Magee) Porritt DFM was originally buried at the village of Thrapsano, Kastelli Pediada, Heraklion, Crete and reinterred on 17 November 1945 at Suda Bay War Cemetery near Chania (Xania) Crete. Plot 16. Row C. Grave No. 7

His epitaph reads:

Missing

But never forgotten

Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - May 2017

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 07.05.2017

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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