Howard Hadfield

Yesterday Yorkie wrote about his Uncle Jack who was killed in World War Two while serving with the RAF and it seemed fitting to mark Remembrance Day by remembering my mother’s cousin who also lost his life in on a bombing mission.

Howard Hadfield was handsome and popular and had a great future in front of him. He had married in 1940 when aged 19 and a career in the family transport business beckoned, but he joined the RAF as war raged.

He trained in South Africa as a Sergeant-Observer, but transferred to the bomb-aimers section and returned to England at Christmas 1942. He joined 620 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and on Monday, 26th July 1943, he flew from Chedburgh, Suffolk, in a Mark I Stirling on a mission to Essen

His aircraft was shot down over Holland by Major Werner Streib, known as the father of the German night fighters. The plane crashed at 00.28 hours on farmland owned by the Bekx family, at Lieshout in the Noord-Brabant province.

Of the seven crew of the Stirling, five died that night — Sgt J R G McDonald, RCAF, Sgt G Jones, Sgt J B Lamont, Sgt H Hadfield and Sgt J McLauchlan.

The first mentioned was Joseph Roderick Gerald McDonald from Kindersley, Saskatchewan and the McDonald Falls in Northern Saskatchewan are named in his memory. Sgts C H Mutton and J Daly bailed out and became prisoners of war, the former at Stalag Muhlberg  and the latter at Stalag Moosburg.

Howard’s wife remarried and the family firm is now Hadfield Transport Ltd. Above is a photo of his grave at Woesnel, Eindhoven, taken many years ago.

He was sorely missed by my mum and nana and the rest of their family and I remember them speaking of him often. It is a reminder that the dead are not the only victims of war, but also those they leave behind.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

2 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 15th November 2010

    “…the dead are not the only victims of war, but also those they leave behind” – that’s very true and thank you for telling us about Howard so many years after his tragic death.

    (N.B. A “Yorkie” is either a chocolate bar for truckers or a Yorkshire terrier. I am neither of these but please rest assured that I am cool with such a nickname.)

  • SUE BATES 14th May 2011

    “Paddy” Hadfield was a friend of my parents.They lost 3 close friends in the war, all RAF.One of Dad’s uncles was his best man at their wedding which we always thought unusual but not so surprising when we realised what had happened to his best friends.
    I knew his wife, Ilona in the 60s when she was Mum’s hairdresser on Mottram Rd. Stalybridge; she & her sister (Nora?) had been at school with Mum. I have several wedding photos of people I can’t identify where Mum is a bridesmaid but don’t think Howard & Ilona are among them-I think I would recognise her.Thanks for your article.


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