Pilot Officer Henry Hall, 73 Squadron to his Daughter

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A Letter from Pilot Officer Henry Hall, 73 Squadron, RAF to his daughter Joan dated the 29th March 1940.

    My dearest Joan
    Don’t laugh at the blunder above – my thoughts were far away, with ‘Tubs’ Perry, who has gone to his last account, and with him God alone knows how much of me. Oh Suzie, how I loved that man at my time of life, to find that I could make a friend, and so effortlessly take him to my very heart, and so grieve at his loss-God has favoured me, and in taking him out of my life, has only consecrated that feeling I had for one of the sweetest natures ever produced. To us of the Mess he was known always as the genial J.G.P.’ – that exactly summed him up. I can add little more, for he was incapable of being anything else. Some would have called him a fool on his first acquaintance – but if he was a fool, it was to himself only – and we all loved him; not so much for his virtues as for his weaknesses. My own Orderly Room Corporal begged permission to attend his funeral; and if the whole squadron could go to it, it would go as one man. It has been a heavy, a most bitter blow – and so tragically sudden.
    As I was having breakfast, I heard the clatter of AA fire, and I rushed out, and there, shinning in the sun, and silhouetted against a perfect frosty blue sky, were no fewer than six Do17s – and after them were three of our machines! Brotchie leading, Perry and a sergeant pilot with him. Later Brotchie and the sergeant returned but no Tubs’. It appeared that they had tackled one, Perry gave it the first burst, followed by Brotchie, who put one of its engines out of the running and beat it down nearly to ground level, after killing its gunner. It just managed to scramble over the frontier, with the French ground fire peppering away at it. But Tubs had meanwhile disappeared lost himself, as he was somewhat in the habit of doing. Later on in the morning I heard he had crashed and was injured; and I had just completed the official form to send off to HQ, when Lovett came on the ‘phone. ‘Sorry old man – bad news!’ He had no need to say more. It was enough, and I had lost the greatest gift that Hitler ever made in the wildest of his dreams of power.
    Poor ‘Tubs’ – he tried to land, hit a piece of marshy ground, turned turtle, and broke his neck. Some French soldiers rushed up and released him – he breathed once or twice and passed quietly away. God rest him, and help me to face up to a world without him in it. Yes, I have wept – bitterly, in the quiet of my Orderly Room, but now I feel calm; and ‘Tubs’ would have it so. I was twice his age, and perhaps it has come to very few to form such a queer friendship in such as short time, and with such a disparity in years. I have written to his mother, and paid a last tribute to him in the Official Diary. I have arranged about his coffin, the digging party, the funeral – and I shall pay my respects at his burial on Sunday – and I hope I shall not break down – I must not. You know what he has meant to me – how he was to come home on leave with me next week – oh, it is all so horrible – but I must be borne, with what fortitude I can bring to bear.
    I know you will excuse more from me tonight, Suzie. I hope and know that you have enjoyed your holiday, and I hope to see you next week I will send you a telegram as soon as I am in England; and will try to get ‘Cobber’ to come down for an evening, as he will be in England too.
    All my love. God bless you.
    Yours ever
    Dad xx

    Friday 29th March 1940

    73 Squadron Hurricane P2570 shot down by Oberlt. Boenigk of 9./JG53 during attack on Do17s of 2.(F)/22 and overturned forced-landing at Brienne-le-Chateau at 0915hrs. Pilot Officer J.G. Perry killed and aircraft a write-off.

  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

  3. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  4. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 08.52.49.png
    Squadron Leader Edward HALL 74112 R.A.F.V.R.

    29th May 1898 Barnsley, Yorkshire -
    Enlisted in (1559) 12th Battalion Yorks & Lancaster Regiment 'Sheffield Pals' in 1915
    Commissioned in Royal Flying Corps in 1917
    Posted to 244 Squadron R.A.F. Bangor, North Wales
    Awarded Air Force Cross investiture Buckingham Palace 1919
    Commissioned as a Pilot Officer London Gazette 26th September 1939 p.6506
    Promoted Flying Officer London Gazette 11th November 1940 p.6501
    Promoted Flight Lieutenant London Gazette 1st January 1941 p.37

    Married Emily LITTLER 3rd April 1920 Ormskirk, Lanacshire

    Daughter Joan M. HALL (addressee of the original letter)
    22nd November 1922 Bransley, Yorkshire - 9th October 2009 Denver, Colarado
    Served as a plotter in the W.A.A.F.
    Married Captain John J. ENDERS U.S.A.A.F. in 1Q 1945 Surrey

    Edward HALL was a antiquarian bookseller in Surbiton and a prolific diarist, these are held by Wigan Council archives :

    Edward Hall diary collection


    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    CL1 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The "Cobber" referred to in P/O Edward Henry Hall's letter to his daughter was the No 73 Squadron New Zealand ace Egar Kain who became a fighter ace in short time during the Battle for France......17 Luftwaffe aircraft accounted for ... an early award of a DFC recognised his part in fighter operations to support the BEF.

    Cobber Kain was killed on June 7 1940 .....said on being rested from ops and while giving an farewell impromptu flying display on over the squadron's airfield at Echemines .It may have been on the occasion of the squadron's withdrawal to Ruaudin further west on June 7 ....further withdrawals to the west were made reflecting the dynamics of the German advance,the squadron having four new airfields from June 7 to June 18 1940 when the squadron was evacuated from France to Church Fenton,Tadcaster Yorkshire

    P/O J D Perry is interred in the Chambieres French National Cemetery,Metz....Drew are the photographs shown those of Chambieres?
  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

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