Sgt Ronald E Herd. R.A.F.

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Whilst walking through my local Church Graveyard, I saw a plaque, nearly buried at the base of an Oak tree, cleaning of said plaque revealed the following, " Killed in Action, Sept 1939 buried at Sage War Cemetary, Oldemburgh. Germany" I cleaned this small plaque so it was very visible, as it seemed to have been forgotten about over the years. Has anyone any idea as to who he was, and the part he played in the RAF which may have caused his demise?. Not quite sure if this should have been posted on Historical or not. Jim Lincoln .7
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Hi Mike, Brilliant bit of work, and many thanks. I wonder if this was one of the first casualties of the War?. I will take it upon myself to make sure the plaque remains clean and readable for as long as I can. Brave men indeed, one and all. Thanks again for your help. Jim Lincoln .7
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He's also listed on the Roll of Honour inside All Saints Holbeach, Linc. One must suppose that relatives placed the small plaque in his memory and perhaps subsequently moved away or died leaving it forgotten.

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Hi, Linc. No sweat, good to think there will be a nice outcome, well done.
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Hi Chas. I did wonder about going into the Church and having words with the (Lady) Vicar, but the doors were locked !! Vandalism. What have we come to when one cannot enter a place of worship as and when.I did notice that the Link that Mike had so very kindly put up, stated that Sgt Herd was indeed the Pilot, of the aircraft that was shot down. and wondering just how far we were into WW2 when this happened must qualify as one of the very first missions. Jim Lincoln .7
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Not got the details to hand but the first deaths were on the 3rd or 4th of September, a bit of foolhardiness by a gaggle of Blenheims that resulted in the loss of (I think) four aircraft and also the first British PoWs.

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Stand to be corrected on this point; I noted that the senior man on board was a Wing Commander, also listed as a pilot. Presumably then, the squadron commander? And wasn't it practice for a pilot to perform the role of navigator on Hampdens early in the war? I've always been a bit hazy about Hampden crewing practice but from my thoughts our Sergeant Herd would be a qualified pilot acting as nav on his CO's aircraft. Please feel free to comment on this; as I say, Hampden arrangements are a black hole to me!
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Mike, I had the same thoughts as you, but then thought, would a Winco, lower himself to fly the A/C himself, when he had a Sgt to do it?. Jim. Lincoln .7

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I reckon so, Linc. This was still essentially the pre war RAF, not half so 'democratic' as it was later. And of course, the Hampden had only the one pilot's seat. But don't quote me. As I said earlier, Hampden crewing? I know nothing!
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Sergeant Pilot 564710 Death:29/09/1939 Age:25 144 Sqdn. Grave Reference:5. B. 12.Cemetery:SAGE WAR CEMETERY Son of Albert Ernest Herd, and of Sarah Elizabeth Herd, of Holbeach, Lincolnshire. No. 144 Squadron suffered an early loss on the 29th of September 1939, when a formation of five Hampden's were all shot down over Heligoland. Five men were saved to spend the rest of the war in prison camps and fifteen were killed, including Ronald Herd whose sister, Mrs Kath Edgson of Horncastle, Lincolnshire, was invited to unveil the RAF Hemswell Memorial in 1995. Hemswell's Hampden's are credited with being the first Bomber Command aircraft to drop bombs on German soil.
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The squadron's next mission, another armed reconnaissance over the North Sea on 29th September, was a very different story indeed. Eleven Hampdens, split into two sections - a section of five led by Wing Commander JC Cunningham, the CO, and a section of six led by Squadron Leader WJH Lindley - were detailed to search part of the Heligoland Bight to within sight of the German coast. Cunningham's section left Hemswell at 4.50pm and was not heard from again. Lindley's section found two enemy destroyers in the search area steaming east in line astern at 20 knots but, owing to the destroyers' manoeuvres and "flak" umbrella, only three Hampdens were able to attack; the results were not observed. All six Hampdens returned safely to base. Same op: http://www.aircrewremembered.com/coste-gonga.html
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Snapper, Nice to see you back on here after so long. Thanks for the additional information, and in particular the memorial at Hemswell, where I have often been to, (They have a lot of antique places there) But I didn't know there was a memorial there. I will certainly try and find it when I go next. Thanks again. Jim Lincoln .7
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Just passing while bored.
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You MUST be bored to "Look see" on here after being away for so long.......:D Jim Lincoln .7

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Thanks for that, Snapper. Much appreciated. Linc, I too am a regular at Hemswell. Usual drill is for me and Mrs Meteor to check our phones are on 'make a noise' and separate to browse to our hearts content, ( she doesn't get musty old books and ancient militaria - I don't get curtains and kitchen utensils!). If we need each other, and neither of us is as steady as we used to be then we are able to call for help. Anyway, I wonder if you have ever noticed the picture in the room, I think it's at Canberra Antiques, that shows Hemswell in the 1950's. On it there us what appears to be a Lincoln fuselage mounted on concrete blocks in front of the hangars. Any ideas what it is for?
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Hi Mike, No, I've no idea, however, I will make a point of asking next time I go, (If I remember!!). Jim Lincoln .7

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Cheers, Linc. Must have seen it a dozen times by now and still have no idea what it was for, would be interested in your thoughts.
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I can but try Mike. Jim Lincoln .7