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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. H J L Hallowes


Herbert James Lempriere Hallowes was born in Lambeth, London on 17th April 1912. As a boy he spent three years in the Falklands, where his father was a medical officer.

Hallowes was educated at the King Edward VI Grammar School at Stratford-upon-Avon. He joined the RAF in January 1929 as an Aircraft Apprentice at Halton and passed out in December 1931 as a Metal Rigger.

He applied for pilot training in 1934 and was selected. With training completed, he joined 43 Squadron at Tangmere in August 1936 as a Sergeant-Pilot.




On 3rd February 1940 Hallowes shared in destroying a He111, the first enemy aircraft to crash on English soil in the war. On 4th April he damaged a He111 and was surprised when it followed him down to the aerodrome at Wick. The pilot believed he was landing on water and after stopping he let go his dinghy and emerged from the aircraft, minus his boots, into the snow, only to be confronted by a soldier with a fixed bayonet. Both rear gunners were dead.


Above: the pilots later posed with the dinghy, L to R Hallowes, unknown, Sgt. R Plenderleith.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.

Near Dunkirk on 1st June Hallowes destroyed a Me110, two Me109s and damaged another. On the 7th his aircraft was set alight in combat. As he was about to bale out, a Me109 overtook him. Hallowes resumed his seat, shot down the enemy fighter and then baled out, dislocating his ankle on landing.

Soldiers told him the Me109 had crashed. Hallowes was taken to No. 4 Base Hospital at La Bause and rejoined 43 Squadron soon afterwards.

On 8th August Hallowes claimed two Me109s destroyed, on the 13th a Ju88 and a Do17 destroyed, another Ju88 probably destroyed, and another damaged, on the 15th a Ju88 probably destroyed, on the 16th three Ju87s destroyed, on the 18th another three and destroyed a He111 and shared another on the 26th.

Hallowes was awarded the DFM and Bar (gazetted 6th September 1940).




Commissioned in September 1940, he was posted away on 18th December to 96 Squadron, then being formed at Cranage. He returned to 43 Squadron later in the month. In early 1942 Hallowes was serving with 122 Squadron at Scorton. He got a probable Fw190 and damaged another on 5th May, damaged a Fw190 on the 9th, got another probable Fw190 and damaged two others on the 17th.

Hallowes was given command of 222 Squadron at North Weald in June 1942. In August he took command of 165 Squadron and led it in the Dieppe operation on the 19th, destroying a Do217 and damaging another and on 8th November he damaged another Fw190.

Hallowes was awarded the DFC (gazetted 19th January 1943). In October 1943 he took command of 504 Squadron at Peterhead.

Hallowes was promoted to Acting Wing Commander in March 1944 and became Station Commander at Dunsfold. He stayed on in the RAF, in the Secretarial Branch, and retired on 8th July 1956 as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander.

He went to work for the Ministry of Transport.

Hallowes died on 20th October 1987 on a visit to Tenerife.


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