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HOLLOWELL, R S - Pilot Officer

Pilot Officer

  • Canadian Fallen Soldier - Pilot Officer ROBERT SPENCER HOLLOWELL
  • Pilot Officer

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    8 January 1919
    Wolseley, Saskatchewan, Canada
    29 January 1940 in Regina, Saskatchewan, CA
    Pilot Officer
    Royal Canadian Air Force
    1 June 1943
    24 years

  • Pilot Officer ROBERT SPENCER HOLLOWELL's Story

  • Born
    8 January 1919 in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, Canada
    29 January 1940 in Regina, Saskatchewan | Age: 21 years
    1 June 1943 - RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL | Age: 24 years
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Interesting Facts

  • Eldest son of Thomas and Ida Hollowell of Wolseley, Saskatchewan. He had a young brother Donald Terence who also served with the R.C.A.F., as well as five younger sisters. Spencer was a top student throughout high-school, winning many awards. He loved all sports and played hockey and ball from a very young age until after he enlisted. He was in the Boy Scouts, became a patrol leader and later assisted his scout leaders.

    Robert enlisted in the RCAF in Regina on January 29, 1940. When Spencer left Wolseley on the noon train heading to Manning Depot in Toronto commence his basic training, students were let out of school to bid the boys farewell. Family and friends cheered and waved their goodbyes to the boys who stood in the doorway of the train. This was to be the last time his family would see him. Spencer had flown several flights over Germany and was attached to the 420 Snowy Owl Squadron. Just three months after his younger brother's death, his family received word their second son Spencer went missing in action on June 1, 1943, when his Wellington aircraft HE568 was lost in transit from Portreath, England to Ras el Ma North Africa. He has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Runnymede Memorial, England. He was just twenty-four years old.

    This is all that was known for 76 years until 2019 when the following information was uncovered by his nephew, Terry Brown. The Wellingtons of 420 Squadron had recently been temporarily detached from Bomber Command to the Middle East and, from 19 May onwards, had begun ferrying aircraft to North Africa. In order to be clear of the Bay of Biscay before V/KG 40 was on the prowl, most aircraft had taken off from Portreath in Cornwall in darkness, and this is what three 420 Squadron Wellingtons had done, the first lifting off into darkness at 421 hours on 1 June, the other two at short intervals afterwards, heading for Ras El Mar. Unfortunately for them, at least 5 Ju 88s of 13/G 40 led by OBLT Hermann Horstmann, had taken off from Lorient at 0656 hours on a reconnaissance flight. Just over an hour into their sortie, they came across the first of the three Wellingtons, flown by Sgt Alexander Sodero. After a short combat, Oblt Horstmann was credited with shooting down the Wellington at 0805 hours.

    Source: Bloody Biscay the History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40 written by Chriss Goss.


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Fallen Soldiers from Wolseley Saskatchewan, Canada

Fallen Comrades of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Fallen Soldiers buried in RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL