I found Harold Charles Tuckwell when I was researching WW2 Servicemen from Flintshire, and found him in the Newspapers.
Chester Chronicle 24 May 1941 Page 8 Col. 6
SALTNEY AIRMAN MISSING
Mr. & Mrs. C. TUCKWELL, of the Roslyn Tearooms*, Chester- st, Saltney, have been informed that their youngest son, Sgt. Harold TUCKWELL, R.A.F., is missing. He was an Air gunner and wireless operator and had taken part in may successful operations over enemy territory. He joined the R.A.F. in October 1939, when 18. His Wing Commander told his parents that his skill and resolution were worthy of the highest traditions of the Squadron.
Sergt. TUCKWELL was born in Saltney and attended St. Mark’s Church and Sunday School. He was educated at the Wood Memorial School, Handbridge, St. Mary’s and Love-street Central School. He was employed at Brookhirst and played for the firm’s football team. He also played for Cestrian Commercial F.C. and won the silver cup as the best sportsman in the club. He and his elder brother, George, were active member’s of Don Rimmington’s Brighter Moments Concert Party which gave their services for charitable objects. George is serving abroad.
Mr. & Mrs. TUCKWELL have received many letters of sympathy. *The Roslyn Tearooms was situated at 8 Chester Street …it became the Roslyn Guest House, then the Garden Gate Guest House, now closed under renovation – (5th February 2022) – Thanks to the Saltney Fallen Research Team.
Harold Charles Tuckwell was born in the March Quarter of 1921(Cheshire West CHC/5/57) the son of Charles & Margaret Lottie Tuckwell (nee Ward) who married in St. Mark’s Church, Lache-cum-Saltney on the 29th January, 1910.
Charles Tuckwell, 27, a Bachelor and a Coachmaker’s Assistant, was living at 32, Chainmaker’s Row, his father was Edward Tuckwell a Farm Bailiff. Margaret Ward, 23 was a Spinster and lived at The Gables*, Curzon Park, her father Joseph Ward was a Bricklayer. Their witnesses were David George and Ethel Stockton. They were married after Banns.
*I think that Margaret Lottie may have been “In Service” when she was at The Gables, this is now the present day Convent. https://cpraonline.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/a-short-history-of-curzon-park-clive-howard.pdf
We see them after the marriage, on the 1911 census, living at 31 Chainmaker’s Row, Saltney, Charles was head of the household, age 29, a Factory Labourer (General) (Great Western Railway) and born in Castle Eaton, Wiltshire. Margaret tells us that she is 22, and they had been married 1 year, but no children had been born to them. She had been born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
I believe their first child, George Edward Tuckwell was born in the December quarter of 1914 (Cheshire West CAS/104/37). Harold Charles Tuckwell, their 2nd son was born in the March quarter of 1921. (Cheshire West CHC/5/57).
I do not know about his childhood, except what was written in the Chester Chronicle on the 24th May 1941 when the newspaper reported him missing. This source tells us that he attended St. Mark’s Church and Sunday School, he was educated at Wood Memorial School, Handbridge St. Mary’s and Love-street Central School. He was employed at Brookhirst and played for the firm’s football team. He also played for Cestrian Commercial F.C. and won the silver cup as the best sportsman at the club. He and his elder brother George were active members of Don Rimington’s Brighter Moments Concert Party which gave their services for charitable objects. His brother George was serving abroad.
Harold joined the R.A.F. in October 1939, age 18 years and although the 1939 National Register was taken on the 29th September, he is not on the list of occupants of 8 Chester Street , Chester, unless he was the one closed record.* This source tells us the dates of birth and occupations of the residents. Charles Tuckwell had been born on the 8th April 1881 and he was a Vacuum Fitter (G W Railway), Margaret Tuckwell had been born on the 4th August 1889 and as most married women on this register is described, if they did not have a job, was doing Unpaid Domestic Duties. There are 5 working men living at the same address, so I can only presume they were boarders.
* The National Register tells us :- ”For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.”
Again from the newspaper cutting above, His Wing Commander told his parents that his skill and resolution were worthy of the highest traditions of the Squadron. He was an Air Gunner and Wireless Operator and had taken part in many successful operations over enemy territory.
I downloaded his Operational Records for 40 Squadron for the month of May 1941 and they tell us about his crew and also about another aircraft that was lost on the same night and raid. (See below)
The newspaper, again, held more clues. Telling us that his parents, Charles & Margaret Tuckwell owned the Roslyn Tearooms, Chester- st, Saltney.
I was contacted on the 14th December 2021 by a gentleman, Willem de Jong, from the Netherlands who had seen a wartime photograph taken in May 1941, of the crash site of an RAF Wellington bomber near the remains of the tail section and a German night-fighter pilot standing nearby, who had shot down that RAF bomber. In fact, Willem tells me, it is a trophy photograph of ‘Oberleutnant’ (Obit) Helmut Lent, who became later a well known Luftwaffe ‘night-fighter ace.’
Willem de Jong and his best friend (Mr.) Thomas ‘Tom’ Bint from the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire had their own website from late 2010 (till April 2021) after intensive work and research http://www.626-squadron.co.uk/willem.htm. Mr. Bint being the webmaster, but it is now stopped off line – because of the health of ‘Master Tom’. So sad in fact, because it was ‘sharing’ thousands of names of lost airmen, many and many stories of crashed planes, and hundreds of pictures and maps, etc. So we must thank them for all their work and dedication, without whom, the stories of these brave Servicemen would never be told.
So Willem became interested in finding out more and researched the crew of R1330 of 40 Squadron, leading to me, when he wrote to flintshirewarmemorial.com and his email was passed to me. By strange coincidence I had found out about Harold Charles Tuckwell, when I was researching other WW2 men in the Chester Chronicle newspapers in the Flintshire Record Office at Hawarden, Flintshire. I had found the photograph and the story of Harold Charles being posted as Missing.
Willem has sent me so many photographs and documents, too many to put on Harold Charles’s page, so if anyone wants to know more please contact the website. He was also successful in contacting a relative of Harold Charles, a 6th Cousin and has been telling them about his research.
On the night of the 11th/12th of May 1941 the crew of R1330 were flying with 11 other Wellington Bombers on a night raid to Hamburg, taking off from Alconbury at 22.25. The Losses Database on https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/228573/ tells us the reason for Loss – Shot down by a night fighter, crashing at Suderstapel, near Heide. One crew member survived – Sgt. SHAW.
Willem has gone to great length to research each crew member, shown below, putting me to shame, and I am cut and pasting his findings below, many thanks to Willem:-
‘Skipper’ (Captain) – RNZAF Sgt. Roderick ‘Rod’ William Finlayson – age 24 – gold miner – KIA* (his grandpa, a shopkeeper, the man he was named after, drowned in a local river in NZ).
‘2nd Dicky’ (still a trainee pilot likely) – RAF(VR) Sgt. James Bartle ‘Bert’ Murray – age 23 – solicitor student – KIA also* (he had a fiancée, Betty …?…, but he died before the wedding !)
Observer – RAF(VR) Sgt. Deryck Fletcher (a ‘wizkid’) – age 21 – school teacher at Gregg School, in Ilford (Gr. London) – KIA too*
Front gunner – RAF(VR) F/Sgt. Harold Charles Tuckwell – age 20 – factory employee – KIA also*
Radio Operator – RAF(VR) F/Sgt. James ‘Jim’ Shaw – he was ‘blown out’ of the aircraft, by an explosion, before the air crash self, and he awarded a ‘Caterpillar – insigne’ (later given to him), because, he landed safe by parachute, although wounded on his legs in the rough landing, in the darkness; he became almost ‘lynched’ by local farmers etc., till regular German soldiers brought him to a hospital ………. later POW in camp Vogelsang, near Barth, in W Pomerenia. He survived the war, but wouldn’t speak much about it later on, only to nearby members in his family, and after some beers !) (portrait photos, even more No. 40 Sqdn. pictures / many items)
Rear gunner – RAF(VR) Sgt. Percy Herbert Beckett – he was married with Cicely Mary Rollason Beckett (of Somerset) – his civil employment is unknown till now – age 25 – KIA*
KIA* = Killed In Action; and all 5 airmen are reburied in Kiel War Cemetery, still as a team, thus in graves next to each other.
Willem sent me photographs of so many things that it would be impossible to add them to this page. Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_2g1K8vi-Y – also – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxZ9UZXSync and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZe9UYh-HhE
These video’s show the townspeople showing their respect and thankfulness of the sacrifice of the Allied Servicemen who died for their freedom. They ake me feel very humble and very much affected by their tributes.
One of the photographs Willem sent was of the funeral of either Harold Charles Tuckwell or one of his crew, carried by German Soldiers, when they were first buried in Suderstapel New Cemetery – on the 15th May 1941 by the Germans, please see the photograph below, and the reburied on the 11th August 1947 at Kiel War Cemetery, where they now rest.
Through Willem & Tom Bint’s research, they found that Harold Charles Tuckwell is remembered on numerous Memorials across the country, such as the Roll of Honour of NO. 3 Group in Ely Cathedral and also I found him on the Cheshire Roll of Honour –https://www.cheshireroll.co.uk/soldier/?i=29729/970471-flight-sergeant-Harold-charles-Tuckwell and the International Bomber Command Database – https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/228573/
Excerpt from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website:-
CWGC History Information
Most of those buried in Kiel War Cemetery were airmen lost in bombing raids over northern Europe, whose graves were brought in from cemeteries and churchyards throughout Schleswig-Holstein, the Frisian Islands and other parts of north-western Germany. The cemetery contains 983 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 96 of them unidentified. There are also nine Polish war graves.
I believe that Charles died in the June quarter of 1964 in the Weston-super-Mare Registration District (Inferred County: Somerset Volume: 7c Page: 306).
I also believe that Margaret was to remarry in the September quarter of 1972 to Stanley J. Townsend (Swindon Vol. 7C Page 2870). Sadly Margaret was to die in the March quarter of 1984 (Poole Vol. 23 Page 555) having lost her 2nd husband only 3 years after their marriage.
Charles & Margaret Tuckwell were alive to bear the loss of their youngest son and for his sacrifice, he must be remembered.
Willem tell us : – I send you a Youtube video link here, related to Christmas; because, as you might know perhaps, on Christmas Eve, every year, there are ‘Candle Lightings’ in more than 400 churchyards and cemeteries, on CWGC graves, many of lost Airmen, and all around in the Netherlands (in general very impressive): Holten (Canadian War Cemetery) Anno 2011 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQr9Z8Dnxyo
AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU. MOTHER AND DAD
Addendum:- Please see the last photograph below:-
Courtesy of Willem de Jong, who tells me “a sunset view on West-Terschelling village and habour, at Terschelling island; and in front of it, it is showing us the ‘Dellewal’ area (= Wall Down area), where during WW2 was situated the important Luftwaffe long range radar and ground control station ‘Tiger’, with ‘heavy equipment’ in it, picking up the signals of the starting RAF bombers etc., already from the moments they left Lincolnshire, Norfolk, etc., flying Eastwards into the direction of Germany. The so called ‘Jäger Leit Offizier’ (JLO) in it, thus the commanding German officer there – protected against bombs under a 3 meters thick concrete roof ! – he was wireless leading the nearby German night-fighters to the RAF bombers, And one of those Luftwaffe ‘aces’, indeed, it was the same Helmut Lent, who was shooting down Harold Tuckwell’s and the other crew, in their aircraft R1330; however, over Süderstapel (an der Eider) then, and still as an ‘Oberleutnant’ (Oblt.). He was climbing up to Major (rank), by shooting down many and many Allied aircraft (!), most of them over Friesland / Holland, till he was killed himself, on 7 Oct. 1944 (in an air crash indeed).”