Hector Roy HANNAFORD DFC

Poppy

HANNAFORD, Hector Roy

Service Number: 407427
Enlisted: 12 October 1940, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Last Unit: Operational Training Units (RAF)
Born: Gumeracha, South Australia, 9 June 1917
Home Town: Cudlee Creek, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Electrical fitter
Died: Accidental (plane crash), Scotland, 28 March 1945, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Ottawa Memorial, Canada
No known grave
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Cudlee Creek Honour Roll*, GumerachaHB2*, Ottawa Memorial, Ontario, Canada
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World War 2 Service

12 Oct 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 407427, Aircrew Training Units, Adelaide, South Australia
29 May 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Airman Pilot, SN 407427, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
5 Jan 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 407427, Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre
1 Aug 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 407427, No. 450 Squadron (RAAF), Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre
28 Mar 1945: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 407427, Operational Training Units (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

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Biography

"Flight Lieutenant Hector Roy Hannaford, 407427, was born in Gumeracha, South Australia on 9 June 1917. An average pilot during his period as a flying cadet in Australia in 1941, Hannaford went on to distinguish himself in the Second World War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for outstanding service and leadership flying Kittyhawks in the Mediterranean theatre of operations in 1944.

Following training, Hannaford's first operational posting was to the Western Desert with 250 Squadron RAF in January 1942 where he flew bomber escort, strafing runs and coastal shipping patrols. By the end of May he was honing his skills in dogfights against German ME 109 and Italian Macchi C.202 fighter planes.

On 28 May he was on bomber escort duties when he was jumped by a ME109 and sustained a 20 mm hole through a propeller blade. Two days later he turned the tables by inflicting damage during a dogfight with another ME109.

His first serious incident occurred on 16 June when he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire during a strafing run over Sidi Resegh in Libya. He survived the crash and was picked up by the staff of the commander of XXX Corps in North Africa, General Charles Norrie. Three days later he was escorting Boston bombers east of Tobruk when his unit was again attacked by ME 109s and the wing of Hannaford's plane was holed.

On July 8, Hannaford was taking part in a bombing and strafing run on Daba Aerodrome when his unit was attacked by the German and Italian fighters. On this occasion he was wounded in the hand and leg and crash landed. He remained in hospital for the remainder of July.

At the beginning of August 1942 he was posted to 450 Squadron. Nicknamed the 'Desert Harassers' following a broadcast from the German propagandist Lord Haw Haw claiming they were little more than 'Australian mercenaries whose harassing tactics were easily beaten off by the Luftwaffe', 450 Squadron became one of the best known RAAF squadrons of the Second World War.

Early the following month he was escorting Boston bombers when he was again wounded in the shoulder and crash landed after being attacked by enemy fighters. In the engagement he claimed a 'probable' on one of the Italian planes. Following hospitalisation, Hannaford was transferred to RAF Helwan in Egypt and spent the next few months test flying repaired aircraft during which he crash landed on at least three occasions.

He rejoined 450 Squadron in Libya in June 1943 and began operational flying again the following month. Over the next 12 months Hannaford took part in rigorous bombing and strafing runs over Italy and Yugoslavia. For outstanding service and leadership during this period in the Mediterranean he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation for the award reads:

'Flying Officer Hannaford has completed a very arduous tour of operational duty during which he attacked many enemy installations, destroying gun posts and on one occasion being responsible for the beaching of an armed cruiser in a Jugoslavian [sic] harbour. In March 1944, he scored an effective hit on a railway bridge in enemy territory which destroyed a span. This officer has proved himself an excellent leader who has always completed his sorties with keenness and determination.'

In July 1944 Hannaford left operational flying and was posted to the Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire. In October he transferred to the Operational Training Unit at RAF Lindley, Warwickshire.

His final posting was to Royal Air Force Transport Command in February 1945 where he completed a course on the Hudson bomber on March 18. Ten days later Hannaford was killed in an accident off the coast of Scotland while ferrying aircraft between Iceland and Prestwick. Hannaford's body was not recovered. He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial and the Ottawa Monument in Canada." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)

 

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