Corporal Joseph Hallas

06 Jun 1944

Corporal Joseph Hallas served with 13th (Lancashire) Battalion the Parachute Regiment (Luard’s Own). He emplaned to Normandy for D-Day as part of Op Overlord with nineteen other comrades in a Stirling from RAF Keevil- the aircraft callsigned "H" for "Hellzapoppin".

At 2348hrs on 5 June 1944, they took off but the flight was not without incident. As the aircraft neared the coast of France, the German anti-aircraft units were alerted, searchlights started to probe the sky and the flak guns opened fire. 

At 0.40 on D-Day the stick jumped over LZ “N” but there were problems as fellow stick member Private John Surgey attested:

'[T]he pilot aborted the run in by switching on the red light as number 8 of the stick was about to exit, but he still jumped. John Surgey followed his particular pal "Taffy" Price as did Sergeant George Kelly at number 10 and Private Ken Lang number 11. But then jumping stopped and the aircraft with its 6 man crew plus the last nine members of the stick disappeared.'

No trace of "H" for "Hellzapoppin" was ever found and the crew and remaining stick were posted Missing in Action (MIA). 

During the whole of D-Day, 13 Para suffered only fifteen fatal casualties, nine of which were accounted for by the loss of “H” for “Hellzapoppin”. One of these 9 was Acting Corporal Joseph Hallas, whose death is officially recorded on 6 June 1944, aged 21 years old. He is now commemorated on the Memorial at Bayeux War Cemetery, Normandy.

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Joseph  Hallas

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