26/27.03.1943 426 (Thunderbird) Squadron, RCAF Wellington III X3696 OW:T Sgt. Hall
Date: 26th/27th March 1943 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 426 (Thunderbird) Squadron, RCAF
Type: Wellington III
Base: RAF Dishforth, Yorkshire
Location: North Sea off Withernsea
Pilot: Sgt. Eric Hall 1216854 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Obs: Sgt. John Joseph Reade 657755 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Simpson 1238939 RAFVR Age? Missing - believed killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. William Stevenson 1369435 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Clarence Darlington Reed 710081 RAFVR Age 28. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
X3696 took off at 19:22 hrs from RAF Dishforth in Yorkshire joining a total force of 455 aircraft in what has been described as a failure, with the bombing very widely scattered. This was mainly due to the very cloudy conditions and of the 9 Mosquitoes - 5 had to return with technical difficulties another was lost over the North Sea.
The force lost six aircraft, three Wellingtons, a PFF Mosquito, a Halifax and a Lancaster. At least three of these we shot down by flak over the Netherlands and 25 main force bombers returned with flak damage. 25 aircrew were killed, 6 captured and became PoWs, with 1 evading capture.
Detailed reports state that only 15 houses were destroyed with a further 70 damaged. 11 people on the ground were killed, 36 injured.
The last fix on X3696 was 60 miles east of Withernsea over North Sea (5357N / 0120E) at 02.05 hrs, 2 - 2½ hrs after other Sqn aircraft landed at diversion airfields due to weather. Most likely the crew bailed out due to possible damage, injury, navigational problems, bad weather and likely low/no fuel.
It was recorded that a search was made by a Beaufighter, possibly from No 2 (Coastal) OTU based at RAF Catfoss, which found no trace.
Above: Sgt. Eric Hall (Courtesy of Stephen Hall)
Above: Sgt. John Joseph Reade pictured with his brother, James (courtesy Kathryn Church)
Sgt. Eric Hall. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 152. Son of Edgar and Mary Louisa Hall of Hanley, Staffordshire, England.
Sgt Hall undertook his Pilot training in Alabama, USA
Sgt. John Joseph Reade. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 162. Son of James and Anastatia Reade of Kilkenny, Republic of Ireland. He was one of 8 children, 6 boys and two girls and his mother was greatly opposed to any of her children joining the service but John followed his brother, James into the RAF. He was unmarried at the time of his death.
Sgt. Frederick Simpson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 164. Son of Joseph and Esther Ann Simpson of Coventry, Warwickshire, England.
Sgt. William Stevenson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 165. Son of James and Margaret Stevenson of Thornlie Bank, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
Sgt. Clarence Darlington Reed. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 162. Son of Arthur Clarence and Olive May Reed of Marandellas, Southern Rhodesia.
Researched for Aircrew Remembered - May 2017 - Linda Ibrom. Thanks to Kathryn Church for the photograph of Sgt. Reade with his brother. Thanks to Stephen Hall for the updated narrative and for the photograph of Sgt. Hall (Jan 2022). For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.