D-Day + 10 KIA - RCAF Spitfire Pilot Sqdr Ldr Hall
1939-1945 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Defence Medal; War Medal 1939-1945; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp; and Memorial Cross (S.L. J.D. HALL C1624). Naming on the MC is officially engraved, no ribbon and comes in its case of issue, while the WWII Stars and Medals have original ribbons and are unnamed, extremely fine. Accompanied by an RCAF Operations Wings Badge (sterling silver with a bronze gilt, maker marked STEPHENSON and marked STERLING, screwback); an embroidered RCAF Wings Insignia; an embroidered RAF Wings Insignia; nine RCAF Uniform Buttons; two Photographs on Hall in uniform; and copies of his Officer's Application and Record Sheet, Officer's Declaration Paper, Service Records, Personal Assessments, Report on Pupil Pilot, Province of British Columbia Death Registration, plus various eyewitness reports, letters and correspendence. Footnote: James Dickie Hall was born on February 27, 1916 in Coniston, Ontario (near Sudbury). He signed his four page Officer's Application and Record Sheet while living in Trail, British Columbia on October 2, 1939 and his Officer's Declaration Paper on November 2, 1939, stating that he was single, that he had no previous war service and that his occupation was that of Assayer. He was educated at Sudbury High School (1929-1932), Humberside Collegiate (1932-1933) and Pickering College (1933-1934), before attending McGill University in Montreal, Quebec (1934-1939), graduating with a B. Eng. in Mining Engineering and a M.Sc. in Geology, also playing inter-collegiate football for the Redmen. He was employed by various companies in the Sudbury area while attending McGill. He began his RCAF training at RCAF Station Uplands, in Ottawa in 1940 and was recognized by his peers and superiors as being a very hard working student while in training. In a Final Report dated November 19, 1943 from the RAF Staff College in regards to his 10th (War) Course, it was documented that Hall was "A cheerful officer with a strong character, a pleasant manner, and a sympathetic nature. He is very quiet and reserved but has a definite mind of his own. He shows imagination and initiative. His work shows throughness and sound judgment. He has been consistently sound and reliable, and is a hard worker. He is ready to accept responsiblity. Above average ablility. His written work is above average and is consistent, painstaking and accurate. Because of shyness he is much too reluctant to speak on formal occasions. Suitable for Air or Administrative staff duties in his acting rank. After gaining more confidence in a period of staff employment he would be suitable for Directing Staff duties at R.C.A.F. Staff College.", signed by the Air Vice-Marshal, Commandant, R.A.F. Staff College. He was recommended as a potential Squardon Commander, June 8, 1944. He was Squadron Leader of 402 Squadron in 1942, then Squadron Leader and Commanding Officer of Red Indians in 1943. It was folowed by a term at Staff College and in Sir Arthur Conningham's staff, shifting thereafter to combat on D-Day. He married Kathleen Louise Blaylock and she moved to England in 1942 to work at M.T.C. Headquarters, while he was serving in England. Hall had his allowance and assigned pay diverted to her, also fathering a daughter, Judith Ann, in 1943. On the night of June 16, 1944, three flights of six aircraft from No.144 Wing took off from B-3 Airfield, St. Croix-Sur-Mer, for a sweep into the Argentan area of Normandy. They left at 20.30, twelve of the aircraft being from No. 443 Hornet Squadron (Our Sting is Death), one of which was lead by S/L J.D. Hall, the other by S/L H.W. McLeod, acting independently. His Spitfire MK 397 met with flak from German forces on the ground, his aircraft last having been seen by accompanying planes flying into cloud at 3,000 feet over the Caen area of France. At this point, the Spitfires were engaged by the enemy in air combat over Sassy-Perrieres-Sur-Les-Pres, with up to 90 Fock Wulfs. The weather was bad, combined with the fact they were fighting it out against great odds. His aircraft was shot down and was found near the village of Perrieres near Monteaux, with the aircraft's numbers easily recognizable. Three pilots perished: S/L James Dickie Hall, F/L Hugh Russel and F/O L. Perez Gomez. A fourth pilot, F/L D.M. Walz, parachuted to safety. Walz described that there were "several burning German wrecks on the ground and later when he enquired among the people where he was hiding, they told him of one Spitfire wreck and four German wrecks", a testament to the Squadron's tenaciousness. Hall was Killed in Action at the age of 28 and was initially buried near the wreck, then, after a solemn ceremony on Sunday, June 18, was re-interred in the cemetery of Perrieres. After the liberation, the body was removed by the Allied authorities and laid to rest in the Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, France. In a personal letter addressed to his wife, Kathleen, dated June 20th, 1944, it was noted that "on the evening of 16th June, Jimmy was leading a flight in a patrol over the Allied beach-head.", that they had lost contact with his plane and that "we must assume that they are lost to us." The letter continues, "He came to my Squadron several months ago, and we became firm friends overnight. We in the Squadron admired him greatly, and his keenness to fight the Hun was an inspiration to us all. We shall sorely miss his helping hand in these trying times.", signed H.W. McLeod S/L DSQ DFC, Officer Commanding, No. 443 Squadron (RCAF).