RANVILLE CHURCHYARD June 5th 1944 casualty - how did he die?

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by Ravrick, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Ravrick

    Ravrick Senior Member

    there is a casualty for the 5th June 1944 in Ranville war cemetery in Normandy. Does anybody know the circumstances in which Bdr Hall lost his life? Was it in an aircraft prior to the drop? Any info would be appreciated,

    Name Hall, Henry
    Rank: Bombardier
    Service No: 949424
    Date of Death: 05/06/1944
    Age: 23
    Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery
    53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Lt. Regt.
    Grave Reference: Grave 19.

    Additional Information Son of James Henry and Nellie Hall; husband of Joan Hall, of Brampton, Derbyshire.

  2. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Can only think the date is wrong. Unless he was with some other unit.

    53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Lt. Regt.
    6th June 1944 Place: Bulford
    D-Day; the Regiment less 211 A/L Bty received its orders to move to the marshalling area. 211 A/L Bty went into action by glider from FAIRFORD aerodrome - passed over Bulford Camp at approx 2000 hrs towed by Stirling aircraft.

    211 A/L Bty. 6th June 1944 Place: Normandy
    2130 - Landing by gliders complete. Bty moved to contact "PARKER FORCE". The battery at RANVILLE 1173 ordered under command of 6 Airldg Bde.
    53rd (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment, RA

    Someone else thinks so too.
    Henry Hall | ParaData

    Bit more here.
    Help please. D-Day question.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    The CO, BC, and OP parties of 53 Air Landing Regiment flew in on the night 5-6 June 1944, with para FOOs dropping from 0045-0103 hours. (i.e. 23.45 hours on 5th June French time) Many of the FOOs were missing. It is quite possible that Bdr Hall was a pre-midnight casualty.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    I have sent CWGC a message to confirm date.


    Henry Hall was the son of James Henry and Nellie Hall and husband of Joan Hall, of Brampton, Derbyshire.

    He was enlisted into the Royal Artillery and later served with 53rd Airlanding Light Regiment, volunteering for parachute training in late 1943.

    Gunner ‘Nobby’ Hall qualified as a military parachutist on course 99 which ran at RAF Ringway in January 1944. The course instructors’ report reads: ‘Keen, intelligent, hard worker-very good show’.

    The 53rd Airlanding Light Regiment's first deployment was on Operation Overlord, which marked the start of the liberation of France from German occupation.

    Gunner Hall was killed in action on the first day of the operation on 6 June 1944, aged 23 years old, and is now buried at Ranville Churchyard, Calvados, France. (His headstone shows the wrong date of 5 June 1944.)

    Henry Hall | ParaData
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  6. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Derbyshire Times 6th July 1944

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  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Casualty List No. 1492 dated 7 July 1944
    949424 Hall W/Bdr H, 53 AL Lt Regt, Date Not Reported

    Royal Artillery Casualty Card
    Regiment: R.A. (53 A/L Lt. Rgt)
    Army No: 949424
    Rank: Bdr
    Name: Hall, Henry
    Age: 23
    Country of birth: England
    Date of death: 5/6/1944
    Place of death: Unknown Europe
    [Note: Unknown is crossed through, Europe written underneath]
    Cause of death: Killed in action
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  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Good luck with that.

    Bombardier Hall is not the only soldier with a date of death of 5th June. I am not sure whether it reflects the use of French time. Do you know for certain that he died after 23.59 hrs
  9. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Bombardier Hall is not the only soldier with a date of death of 5th June.
    According to CWGC he is the only British soldier killed in France that day.

    HALL, HENRY Bombardier 949424 05/06/1944 23 Royal Artillery United Kingdom Grave 19. RANVILLE CHURCHYARD [​IMG]
    BAKER, FRANK ERNEST Flight Sergeant 1394370 05/06/1944 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve United Kingdom BAUGE COMMUNAL CEMETERY [​IMG]
    REYNOLDS, JESSE BERTRAM Flying Officer 130182 05/06/1944 26 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve United Kingdom BAUGE COMMUNAL CEMETERY [​IMG]
    LUTKEMOLLER, FRITZ 05/06/1944 German Army German Plot IX Row C Grave 26. BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY.

    Now we can be sure that he did not get to France with the 53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Lt. Regt. as they arrive late on the 6th.
    If he had his date of death would have been the 6th.

    So it would appear that he arrived with the FOO group, but as they jumped late on the 5th, again the date would most likely to be put down as the 6th. Because it would be the 6th, when his body was found. (Would there be another soldier to say it was not the 6th but the 5th as it was 11.30hrs when we jumped?).
    So it has to be an error in the date.
    But is it?
    Lets say the plane he was in, was hit by flak at around 22.00hrs as it was over France and he was killed in the plane. So that would actually be the 5th of June.
    But how would the record keepers know that date and time?
    Why was the body not left in the plane and taken home, but was in France?
    The possibility is that his body was blocking the other paras from getting out, so they had to do, what they had to do and throw him out. Then the aircrew reported it when they got home thus confirming the date he died as the 5th.
    Another possibility is that he was actually in France before the 5th of June.
    Say he went in on the night of 3/4 or 4/5th of June with another FOO or other group to checkout landing zones etc. We have to remember that D Day was postponed for 24 hrs. We know that he would have been a good candidate for this type of mission by
    The course instructors’ report reads: ‘Keen, intelligent, hard worker-very good show’.
    Again this is all guesswork, would be nice to find some hard evidence to say when and what happened.
  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    we dont know hence the query
    we await the detail CWGC have on his date of death
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    According to "Monty's Men",the second publication in 2004 by the National Army Museum,following the first publication in 1994 gave the following parachute planned chronological events.

    0005hrs British 6th Airborne Division at Ranville (0020hrs for paratroop pathfinders into the Caen area according to Belchem...Victory in Normandy)

    From that it is possible that the first drops occurred with an earlier than the planned ETA and that Bombardier Hall was a casualty before midnight on 5 June 1944.

    0130hrs US 83rd and 101st Airborne Divisions in the Cherbourg peninsula centred inland from the Utah beach area around St Mere Eglise.(0130-0230hrs according to Belchem.....Victory in Normandy)

    Air operations against the 10 strongest German coastal batteries deploying 1056 Bomber Command aircraft had to be completed by 2300hrs on D Day -1 before the arrival of the first elements of the airborne divisions.It appears that Bomber Command bombed the remaining targets on the invasion frontage during the period 0315-0500.

    British time was on British Double Standard Time on D Day until September 1944 and I am assuming that the times quoted are BDST.
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Received from CWGC

    Thank you for your email below regarding Bdr. Henry Hall buried at Ranville Churchyard.

    In 2003, and also previously in 1995, other members of the public raised the same question regarding the date of death for this casualty. In both cases it was confirmed, by the ministry of defence from his service file, that the date we hold (5th) is correct.

    The unit with which Henry Hall was serving landed in two ways. The first came in by glider the night preceding the landings and the second by sea some two weeks later. The aircraft that Henry was on made a good enough landing that his comrades were able to bury him in the field and make a very accurate record of the time of death. Anti aircraft hits were also recorded and Henry may have been injured in this way whilst the aircraft remained airworthy, however this is only conjecture.

    I hope this answers your query however please feel free to come back to me if you have anything further.
  13. Robert Cupitt

    Robert Cupitt New Member

    I visited Henry Halls grave just last week. My wife and I have just completed a 4 week tour of some of the D Day sites in Normandy, an experience I will not forget. We stayed in an Aire in Herouvillette and walked through the fields and woods to Ranville church. We took with us a pot of soil from his home village to sprinkle on his grave. His grave is in the churchyard not the cemetery.
    The Derbyshire Times report of his death has the wrong initial for his wife, the correct ones being LJ, Lillian Joan. She married a second time to Bob Cupitt a Sgt in the Royal Signals. I am proud to say that these are my parents.
    Henry Hall disappeared from the unit he had trained with several days before the 6th. This is reported in the memoirs of a colleague. My mother recalled that he said he did not think he would be back from this one. Henry is not listed on any of the planes or gliders that took off from England for D Day.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
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  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Robert,

    Many of the lists of Airborne men who took part in D-Day are missing so it's not unusual that there is no mention of Henry Hall. As noted in other threads David "Dai" King of F Troop, 212 Battery was a friend of Nobby Hall. He writes:

    "One of my closest friends, Bombardier “Nobby” Hall, is buried in Ranville Churchyard. The date on his Tombstone is June 5th 1944. I have tried to find out how he was killed on 5th. As far as I know, nobody was dropped before midnight."

    David King at  Henry Hall's Grave.jpg

    Unfortunately he doesn't tell us what unit Hall was with and if he went in with one of the OPs on D-Day morning. King claims, "Out of the four FOO parties to go with 3rd Para Brigade, only our little party was intact.". Some info on the four observation parties:

    1.) Capt. “Badger” Harrington, Frank McGinley, David "Dai' King. Their story is told fairly well in King's account.

    2.) Lt Robert Edward Ayrton, Dvr. "Blondie" Webster, Gnr. Kenneth J. Lamzed.

    These men were with a Canadian Para mortar stick under Lt. Cote which were dropped beyond Le Havre. All were captured with one man killed. Blondie Webster was wounded

    3.) "Captain Whitney and his two signallers were taken prisoner."

    There was an OP with a 3rd Brigade HQ stick that was dropped wide that may have included these men? They are listed as: Lt. Whitley (FOO-PW), L/Bdr. Newton (FOO-P/W), L/Sgt. Cumpper (FOO-PW). Note the name "Whitley" rather than Whitney here. All the men in this stick were captured with 2 killed.

    4.) "Captain Hastings was wounded and got a blighty. I don’t know what was the fate of his two signallers"

    I couldn't find any information on Captain Hastings and his group.

    The Commader of the 53rd Airlanding Light Regiment, Lt-Col. Tony Teacher's comment on the FOOs:

    "First Landings - The F.O.O's.
    About one o'clock on the morning of D-Day para F.O.O's were dropped with the second wave of the assault. In the third wave flew eight gliders carrying HQ, R.A. and airlanding F.O.O's. HQ, R.A. landed safely except for one glider, but all the F.O.O's and the battery commander of 3rd Para Brigade were missing. 5th Para Brigade were more fortunate, but both gliders carrying F.O.O's crashed and their sets were damaged."

    Regards ...

    Edit: Removed opening statement which was a misinterpretation of Hall's disappearance prior to D-Day.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  15. Robert Cupitt

    Robert Cupitt New Member

    I have been in contact with Dave King's daughter whilst Dave was still alive. It was he who said Henry disappeared prior to D Day and did not know how he ended up in Ranville Churchyard. I have always thought he went in prior to the 6th. They were good friends and trained together at Hardwick Hall, Chesterfield.

    The information in this thread is very good and I, like others on here, would welcome the true details of how he died.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Robert,

    So sorry about my faulty interpretation of your comment on the disappearance of Henry Hall prior to D-Day. I removed that opening statement for fear that impression may stick in peoples' minds when it's obviously untrue.

    Regards ...
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  17. Robert Cupitt

    Robert Cupitt New Member

    Thanks. Changed my reply also.

    I started my research 15 odd years ago but got no further than what is printed above. I did find a Canadian Parachute Regiment that listed Henry Hall as killed in action on the same date but I have never been able to find it again.
  18. Perico

    Perico Member

    Another man from the 6th Airborne Division died the same day: Lieutenant Terry Deacon.
    Cause of death: Injured by a flying shell fragment, which subsequently led to his death following a stroke.

    I have a looooot of questions:
    1. Why are so many men from so many different units who died in so many different years buried together at the same relatively small memorial?
    2. A lot of men were buried in continental Europe but these men were brought back. Why was Hall left in France but Deacon was not? (I guess they died in similar circumstances. I mean, same division, same day, what are the odds that they did not die together?)
    3. Why were they cremated? CREMATED!!! Why to take the extra "work"? "Bio-hazard"? Were they cremated there or brought back and cremated later? Was Hall also cremated before being buried in France?

    Lieut Terry Deacon (Unknown-1944) - Find A Grave...
    British Army Officers 1939-1945  --  D

    I know 4 Americans died the 5th, too. But, the circumstances are clear: A grenade exploded accidentally when they were just taking off and killed Leakey, Vah, etc.
    Four Stars of Valor
    All American, All the Way
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  19. Perico

    Perico Member

  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I assume you are referring specifically to Deacon and those others listed on the memorial wall at PLYMOUTH (EFFORD) CEMETERY?

    "During the two world wars, the United Kingdom became an island fortress used for training troops and launching land, sea and air operations around the globe. There are more than 170,000 Commonwealth war graves in the United Kingdom, many being those of servicemen and women killed on active service, or who later succumbed to wounds. Others died in training accidents, or because of sickness or disease. The graves, many of them privately owned and marked by private memorials, will be found in more than 12,000 cemeteries and churchyards. ...
    Plymouth was a naval station second only to Portsmouth during the Second World War. Devonport was also an important military station and there was a R.A.F station at Mount Batten, opposite Plymouth.

    PLYMOUTH (EFFORD) CEMETERY ...109 Second World War burials are also scattered apart from a small group in Section C, in a plot set aside for service burials that was actually little used. ...

    PLYMOUTH CITY CREMATORIUM is situated in Plymouth (Efford) Cemetery and 61 servicemen and women of the Second World War whose remains were cremated there are commemorated on a screen wall set into a recess in the hedge behind the Cross of Sacrifice."

    I don't know the location of Deacon's death but

    • Cremation in these instances was a matter of personal choice, expressed by the individual or by their Next of kin.
    • To all intents and purposes, the people listed on the memorial wall (on which Deacon is mentioned) died in UK, over the course of the war.
    • Repatriation of remains was not UK//CWGC policy. There are some examples of personnel being buried in UK who were wounded during action on the Continent, but generally speaking they were evacuated and categorised as Died of Wounds. However, just as with aircrew, anyone injured/killed onboard an aircraft would've been returned to RAF Station once mission was completed.
    [I've edited the title of this thread from Ranville Cemetery to Ranville Churchyard]
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