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The Airmen's Stories - P/O W C Hall


William Clifford Hall was born in Chester-le-Street on 14th January 1911, the son of William Nicholson Hall and Barbara Ann Hall.

William Nicholson Hall (1879 - 1960) was born at Bowes House Farm, Burn Moor, on the Lambton Estate near Chester-le-Street, County Durham. He married Barbara Ann Clifford in September 1909, by 1915 they had two sons and a daughter. He was called up from his job at Youngers brewery at the outbreak of WW1 and served in the 6th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers as a stretcher bearer.

He was wounded on several occasions, once losing his sight for some days, while in action at Ypres and Passchendaele. On 10th July 1918 the family received notification that he was now a Prisoner-of-War. Released when the war ended, he took up his previous position at the brewery but the conditions aggravated the kidney disease nephritis that he had contracted while a PoW.

An experienced gardener, he took his family to Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland and started a plant nursery, which is still a thriving business today.


WC Hall worked in the family nursery business after leaving secondary school. At some time in the early Thirties he embarked on a solo visit to Europe, visiting Paris and then Chamonix. While climbing on Mount Blanc he slipped and almost fell in a crevasse in the glacier. Undeterred, he continued to the Rhone Valley and then Zermatt where he made some ice climbs on the Matterhorn. He also collected some alpine plants, including Gentians and Edelweiss.

Heavily involved in the Boys Brigade, he gave this up and joined the RAFVR in 1938.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his basic training and was commissioned, going to No. 1 AONS (Air Observer Navigation School) at Prestwick in October 1939 (below).





His next posting was to 4 Bombing & Gunnery School, West Freugh, Scotland on 23rd January 1940 (below).




Hall was posted to 248 Squadron at North Coates on 1st April 1940.

The squadron, inaugurated in 1939 in Fighter Command, was transferred to Coastal Command in February 1940, re-equipping with the Blenheim IVf. In May 1940 it rejoined Fighter Command at Dyce. The squadron was used to provide fighter patrols over the east coast of Scotland before returning to Coastal Command in June. The squadron spent a short period of time flying reconnaissance missions over the Norwegian coast before moving to Shetland in July 1940.

Hall was detached to No. 1 (C) OTU Silloth on 30th May for further training. He rejoined 248 on 25th June 1940 and was still serving with the squadron on 3rd November 1940.


Above and below: The time at Silloth was spent under canvas and Hall was accompanied by F/Lt. Roger Edward Guy Morewood, they would often fly together in 248 Squadron.


Below: Training at Silloth was carried out in Avro Ansons.





Below: Images from his time with 248 Squadron.


Above: 'Air Gunners at Gosport'.


Above: 'Observers at Gosport'.


Above: 'Blenheims at Gosport'.


Above: 'Blenheim crewed by P/O AE Hill and P/O EC Schollar'.


Above: 'My office'.


Above: 'My office'.



Above: 'F/Lt. REG Morewood'.


Above L to R: F/Lt. REG Morewood, P/O WC Hall, Sgt. DH Proudman.


Above : 'Our despatching officer Sam Shields'.



While living under canvas on Shetland, 'B' Flight of 248 Squadron built a clubhouse in their spare time which they named 'Octane Lodge' (below).








Hall was killed on 14th April 1941 as a Flying Officer with No. 1 PRU when Blenheim IV V5376 was damaged by flak over Vlissingen, Holland and then attacked by Me109s.

F/O JK Flynn, aged 26 and F/Sgt. RA Stephens, aged 19 were also lost.

The aircraft came down at Breskens, on the Dutch coast just north of the Belgian border.

Hall was 30 and is buried in Vlissingen Northern Cemetery, Flushing, Netherlands.

The crew's graves were tended by locals for many years and a correspondence between them and the families developed.


The majority of research and all images courtesy of Judith Lockey, niece of Flying Officer William Clifford Hall.





Above: the cemetery in 1954.



Above image courtesy of Des Philipett.



Above: Hall is also commemorated on the war memorial in St. Andrews Church, Heddon-on-the-Wall.

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