A Memorial Cross to American Pilot Hanan; Lost over Holland 1943
A Memorial Cross to Pilot Hanan; Lost over Holland 1943; GRVI (SGT. PILOT S. HANAN R101482). Naming is impressed. Dark patina, light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of his Attestation Paper, Service Records, Service Award Computer Card and assorted research papers. Footnote: Samuel Hanan was born on April 29, 1922, the son of Nahman Moreno Hanan and Marie Calo Hanan (nee Shelby) of Los Angeles, California. Both his parents were born in Turkey: his father in the Rhodes Islands, his mother in Galipoli. He completed his High School and Junior Matriculation in Los Angeles, with interests in various sports, including Baseball, Basketball, Football, Swimming and Track. He was an American citizen, fluent in both English and Spanish, having studied Journalism at College for two months and had been a Salesman for five years, before enlisting with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Vancouver, British Columbia. He signed his Attestation Paper on May 17, 1941, as an Aircraftman 2nd Class (R101482), at No. 2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba, naming his father as his next-of-kin, stating that he had no previous military service, that his religion was Jewish and that his occupation was that of Student. After two months at Brandon, he was posted to No. 2 Initial Training School at Regina College & Regina Normal School, in Regina, Saskatchewan, on July 15th, where he achieved the rank of Leading Aircraftman. Six and a half weeks later, Hanan was posted for two months to No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School at Goderich, Ontario on August 31st. That was followed by a posting to No. 5 Service Flying Training School at Brantford, Ontario, on October 26th, where he graduated Course #41 on January 15, 1942, in the rank of Temporary Sergeant and received his Pilot's Badge. The wings parade was held in the drill hall, with Group Captain Johnson speaking to his graduating class: "You must keep the organization going as trained reserves are essential if we are to win. If you do your work conscientiously you will gain an added advantage for the time when it will be your turn to go overseas." Hanan was posted to No. 1 "Y" Depot at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on February 15, 1942, for overseas service, then placed with the Royal Air Force Trainees Pool on March 12th. Hanan disembarked in the United Kingdom on March 23rd and was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth. One month later, he was posted for three weeks to No. 11 Advanced Flying Unit at Calveley on April 23rd, followed by a posting one month afterwards to No. 1524 Beam Approach Training Flight at Bottesford on May 16th, where he would serve for five and half weeks, before being posted to No. 16 Operational Training Unit at Upper Heyford on June 23rd. It was at No. 16 OTU where he would be named Temporary Flight Sergeant on July 16, 1942. In early December 1942, Hanan was posted to 429 (Bison) Squadron on the 7th. No. 429 (Bison) Squadron was formed at East Moor, Yorkshire, on November 7, 1942, as a bomber unit of No. 4 Group, but was assigned to No. 6 (RCAF) Group five months later. Hanan was piloting a Wellington X3399 at East Moor airfield at 19.20 hours on January 4, 1943, when it was being taxied, prior to taking off for a night-time training exercise, when the aircraft left the perimeter track just before the start of the runway. The aircraft collided with an unlit floodlight and received slight damage. The accident didn't interfere with his promotion to Temporary Warrant Officer 2nd Class on January 16th. R101482 Warrant Officer 2nd Class Samuel Hanan, 429 "Bison" Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, from Los Angeles, California, was piloting a Wellington MK-X aircraft HE382, returning from a night sortie to Duisburg, Germany, a major logistical centre in the Ruhr Area and location of the chemical, steel and iron industries. Also included among the crew of six were two airmen from the Royal Canadian Air Force: R/81411 Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) Frank Sydney Lane from Kelowna, British Columbia and R/105100 Warrant Officer Class II (Bombadier) Frederick Hugh Purchase from Toronto, Ontario; along with three airmen from the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve: 778810 Sergeant (Navigator) Malcolm Penvil "Mickey" Brown from Livingston, Rhodesia, 776126 Sergeant (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner) Edwin Giles Litchfield from England and 1038224 Sergeant (Pilot) George Kenneth Thompson from England. Witnesses on the ground confirmed, that on the night of April 26-27, many formations of bombers of the Royal Air Force where flying over the Twente region of eastern Holland (Netherlands). It was a "normal appearance that those squadrons would fly over occupied Holland. They did not only bring fear in the people, but also hope and anticipation of a free Netherlands." The crew on board where probably relaxing after a hair-raising and nerve-racking evening and night of bombing on the city of Duisburg. At 3.45 hours on a dreary, wet night, they were near and above Borne, near Almelo in the province of Overijsel and close to the German border, flying in a northerly direction from Duisburg. The Germans were on the ground between Borne and Bomebroek and had been informed of the bombing in Duisburg, looking for any sort of air traffic and scanning the sky with their searchlights. They managed to catch a silhouette of an aircraft, the one piloted by Hanan. The Germans opened up there anti-aircraft defences, hitting the aircraft and damaging it. The Wellington having been hit by flak and catching fire tried to escape but without success, the aircraft dropping off to the left and crashing to the ground. The six man crew were initially declared "missing" during night operations, then later declared "presumed dead". At the nearby Sonder farm in Enterstraat, Mr. and Mrs. Sonder had not retired to bed, most likely on due to the extensive air traffic and bombing, as most Dutch parents would stay up just in case of bombing or shooting, remaining always vigilant and on guard. The Sonders were living there with their thirteen children, the youngest was a ten month old and the oldest was seventeen years old. Many had not gone to bed, as they were kept awake by the searchlights, some wandering outside in their pajamas and seeing the worried faces of their parents, who where looking at the sky. Mrs. Sonder was in prayer, perhaps having a foreboding of what was to come. The family were panicking, as it looked as though the burning aircraft would land on their farm. They ran into the house and out again to the front of the house, where they saw the burning airplane out of control, the tail hitting the ground no more than five metres in front of them. A part of the airplane, most likely the wing, hit Mrs. Sonder and she was killed instantly. The airplane fuel that came out of the ruptured tanks became a sea of fire and they could hear the ammunition that had remained on the aircraft explode. Mr. Sonder was badly burned by the fuel and he was wounded by the shrapnel but he didn't notice that he was wounded. The Sonder's daughter, Marie, was sixteen years old at the time and recounted the events of that fateful night: "It was terrible....I thought this is the end of the world. I heard my Dad call "Are you all there?" We were crying so hard, we yelled we screamed. They must have been able to hear us from afar. The rest of the children were in bed under dust and broken glass, but they were all uninjured. The clock in the front room had stopped at the time of impact 10 to 4. Together with my Dad we carried the body of my mother in the house, although at the moment I did not know that it was my mother...you could not recognize her. Pastor Groenen gave Mom her last rites as Dad probably called him. The Germans came right after and told us that we had to go out. The neighbours took us in. We sat up the rest of the night. We were all in shock. When we went the next day to get our clothes, we saw that they were putting the burned bodies of the airman in the coffins. I remember that one of the airman was thrown out of the airplane. He was laying behind our hedge, he was alive but died soon after. They had put my mother in a bedsheet. A brother of Mom from Tilburg officiated her funeral on the 30th of April. Dad could not attend, as he had to stay in bed on account of his injuries, and was taken care of by ladies from Wilmink for the next month. Dad did view Mom's funeral from our house through binoculars. My oldest sister and I took over the care of the family, now that Mom was gone. That was a big job as we were still children ourselves. There was no time to feel sorry for yourself or even to grieve, and even after so many years I still cannot come to grips with all this. Dad also went through a very hard time, speaking very little of the events of that early morning. He got a lot of strength from his religious beliefs, just like all of us children. Dad lived to be 80 years old. The rest of the war years were hard as well, with all the bombings and the V-l missiles. When the days of freedom where near, our house was in the firing line of German and Canadian troops. Our house was destroyed but we all survived." Warrant Officer 2nd Class (Pilot) Samuel Hanan was Killed in Action on April 27, 1943, two days before his twenty-first birthday, along with the other five crew members. They were buried in a collective grave in Borne (Bornebroek) Roman Catholic Churchyard, Netherlands, Grave Reference: 4-6. Bornebroek is a village and commune six kilometres north-west of Hengelo, in the province of Overijssel. Bornerbroek is a village in the commune, seven kilometres west of Borne village and five kilometres south of the town of Almelo, on the Almelo-Ambt-Delden road. The Roman Catholic churchyard is in the centre of the village, and the graves are in the south-western part. Hanan is commemorated on page 167 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance and is credited with having served in Canada, Great Britain and Continental Europe. For his Second World War service, he was posthumously awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Air Crew Europe Star, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and the War Medal 1939-1945.