WW2 airman’s family sought

A memorial to the crew on Clare Island in Ireland.
A memorial to the crew on Clare Island in Ireland.

A RESEARCHER has enlisted the help of Together Again to help track down friends and family of a Second World War airman.

On May 25, 1944, Sergeant James Hird 935914, of West Hartlepool, was part of an 11-man crew on board an RAF Sunderland flying boat which crashed into the sea near Clare Island, off the west coast of the Republic of Ireland.

The 23-year-old’s body was never recovered and his name is listed on the Runnymede Memorial for RAF aircrew missing in action.

Sgt Hird’s parents were Ernest James Hird and Alethea (nee Gray) Hird.

He may have had a brother named Henry and a sister named Olga.

Dennis Burke, who runs a website about Ireland during the Second World War, is keen to find out more about Sgt Hird in order to compile a tribute page to the crew.

He said: “I run a small website which lists these former airmen and their aircraft as a means of remembering their deeds.

“I have managed to contact family and friends of six of the airmen who died with James and have been able to get a photo of the airmen.

“I would love to learn a little more about James and add his image alongside his former comrades.”

Dennis, based in Tubbercurry, in County Sligo, Republic of Ireland, hopes any information on Sgt Hird will be the final piece in his jigsaw, as he has already collated information on the other crew members.

These include flight officer and pilot Ernest F Paige, from Ontario, in Canada, flight officer James W Clarke, Sergeant William G Hopps, from Canada, warrant officer Wallace Roy Thompson, from Nova Scotia in Canada, Sergeant Donahan O’Dowd, who was born in India, wireless operators and air gunners Sergeant John Rowe, who was born in South Shields, Sergeant David Purvis, also thought to have been from South Shields, Nottingham-born Sergeant Derek H Richardson, Sergeant Ronald Sherwood from Esh Winning in County Durham and warrant officer Robert B Bryers, an air gunner from California.

Anyone with information about Sgt Hird can write to Dennis Burke, Clooancool, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, Ireland or e-mail: dp_burke@yahoo.com