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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D Hastings


Douglas Hastings was born on 6th December 1915, the youngest of two sons of Francis and Mary Hastings of Hartlepool, at that time part of County Durham. For some reason the birth was on the opposite side of the country at Barrow-in-Furness, perhaps in a relative’s house.

This may be connected to the German naval bombardment of Hartlepool in December 1914 when the area around the Hastings home was badly damaged.



Hastings attended Henry Smith School in Hartlepool, leaving in 1933 to go into his father's fish business. In the mid-1930s he moved to North Shields to manage a new branch of the business at Fish Quay. It was here that he met his future wife, Wilhelmina Hails, they were married on 7th October 1939 at Christ Church, North Shields.

Hastings had joined the RAF on a short service commission in June that year and after training he was posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 28th April 1940. He converted to Hurricanes and was posted on 15th May to Uxbridge for allocation to a squadron in France.

Instead he was posted to 74 Squadron at Hornchurch later in the month. In action with them he claimed a Me109 destroyed and another damaged on 11th August, a Do17 destroyed and another probably destroyed on the 13th and a Me110 probably destroyed on 11th September.

While practicing dogfighting over Coltishall on 8th October 1940 Hastings collided with P/O FW Buckland and was killed when he crashed, inverted, south of Green Farm, Gillingham (near Beccles) in Spitfire P7329.

Buckland, in Spitfire IIa P7329, was also killed.

Hastings was 25. He is buried in Preston Cemetery, Tynemouth.

His wife gave birth to a daughter on 25th December 1940.

Douglas's brother Frank, born in 1911, was a member of the Merchant Navy and was lost on 28th December 1942 when his ship, the SS Treworlas, was torpedoed off the coast of Trinidad.

Additional research courtesy of Craig Brandon


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