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Aircraftwoman 2nd Class Marguerite Hester Hudson

Marguerite Hester Hudson was born on the 13th October 1920 at 167 Hadfield Street, Sheffield to Claude Osborne Hudson a Physician & Surgeon (who was noted as being Ex-Army) & Bertha Elizabeth Schofield.

Claude & Bertha had married on the 16th September 1919 at St Pauls, Sheffield when both of them were 29 years of age.

In the following year when the 1921 Census was taken, Marguerite now 8 months & her mother 34 were visiting George Hammerton a Physician & Surgeon & his wife Ellen at 7 Wakefield Road, Dewsbury, Yorkshire.    Her father Claude was at home at 167 Hadfield St, the Census states that he worked in his own practice ‘Rutherford & Hudson Physician & Surgeons’ of 52 Burgoyne Road, Sheffield.

Taken in September 1939 the 1939 Register shows Marguerite at 9 Rural Lane, Sheffield along with her Mother Bertha, a Housewife & a sister Helen born in November 1921.   Una Campbell born 1909, a Physician & Surgeon is also living with the family.  On this evening her father was living with Alfred Aizlewood a Chartered Accountant & his family at Springfield, 39 Moorgate, Rotherham, Yorkshire, a note in the instructions column tells us that he served as a Flying Officer, Medical Officer with the Auxiliary Air Force during WW2.

Marguerite joined the WAAFs or Womens Auxiliary Air Force on the 2nd September 1939, was given the Service No 882414 & trade of Driver.  Her full description is not given but it does detail that she was 5 ft 6 inches tall.

She initially joined No 34 County of York Company at Bridge St in Sheffield then part of the historic subdivision of West Riding before being allocated to Station HQ at RAF Driffield on the 18th of November 1939.   Driffield was a Bomber Command Station occupied by 77 & 102 Squadron who both flew Whitleys.

RAf Driffield
RAf Driffield, Yorkshire

RAF Driffield Main Building, 2023

© AAFR 2023

RAF Driffield was one of the few stations subjected to concentrated formation bombing, the attack on the 15th August 1940 came when approx Fifty JU88s from Kampfgeschwader 30, flying from Alborg in Denmark as well as a few He111s & Do17s approached Flamborough Head at approx. 1317hrs.  They split into two formations one heading south to Driffield & the other north towards Tyneside. 

Aircraft from 73 Squadron (Hurricanes), 219 Squadron (Blenheims), 264 Squadron (Defiants) & 616 Squadron (Spitfires) were all scrambled & Anti-Aircraft guns in the area were said to put up a terrific barrage.  The RAF Claimed a number of Luftwaffe aircraft 3 of which were shot down in Yorkshire, 4 lost over the sea, 1 crash landed in Holland & the other landed damaged at Aalborg with extensive damage.   One Blenheim of 219 Squadron was claimed by the Luftwaffe (L8698) piloted by Sgt Dupee it was damaged by return fire near Scarborough & having been wounded in the arm his gunner Sgt Bannister helped him fly to RAF Driffield where it landed with the wheels up.

The Operation Record Book for 77 Squadron details that the Station was bombed by German Aircraft at 1330hrs.  The Officer’s Mess was badly damaged & P/O Saltzgeber & P/O Timoney were injured & taken to hospital.  Five 77 Squadron aircraft were destroyed, Two Airmen were killed & six injured, none seriously.

The Operation Record Book for 102 Squadron details that at approx. 1320hrs the Station was attacked by some thirty German Aircraft, 100 bombs were dropped causing damage to hangars, aircraft & buildings (inc the Officers Mess).  One Airman from the Squadron was killed.

Driffield later estimated that between 169 & 171 bombs fell.  Original reports stated that 12 Whitleys were destroyed, however more recent publications quote this number as being 7 Whitleys & 1 Magister.

A Local Newspaper on the following day ran the headline ‘Der Tag’ for RAF!   The 14th of August had been the day that Hitler had planned to make his triumphal march through London, but instead it was ‘Der Tag’ (The day : signifying the day Germany begins to establish her supremacy) for the RAF. It noted that in addition to their successes in the North- East British Pilots had a gala day in smashing up violent attacks on the South-East Coast.

Following the attack 77 Squadron moved to Linton-on-Ouse & 102 Squadron to Leeming.

Marguerite’s service record shows that she was killed during an enemy air raid at 1330hrs on the 15th August 1940.  She served for a total of 349 days & was just 19 years of age when she died.  She was the first WAAF to be killed during WW2 due to enemy action.   Her death certificate states that she died at RAF Station Kirkburn, Kirkburn was a base 2 miles along the road from Driffield, it is possible that she was moved to Kirkburn after Driffield was bombed or that the bombing extended to Kirkburn.  Her address was given as 9 Rural Lane, Wadsley, Sheffield & that she died due to war operations.  Her death was registered by Henry John Francis Hunter, Officer Commanding RAF Station Driffield.  She is buried at Wisewood Cemetery in Sheffield in a CWGC Plot.

Grave Marguerite Hudson

Marguerite's Grave at Wisewood Cemetery, Sheffield

Courtesy of Chris Ramsden, Find a Grave

Marguerites mother Bertha died on the 9th July 1958 & her father Claude on the 2nd April 1959, both are buried along with Marguerite at Wisewood Cemetery.

Hudson Grave Wisewood Cemetery_edited.jpg

Marguerite's Parents Grave at Wisewood Cemetery, Sheffield

Courtesy of Claire Atkinson, Find a Grave

The following were either Killed or Injured following the bombing: -

Cpl FR White (D/26440) – 6th East Yorks – Killed

Pte T Round (D/39274) - 6th East Yorks – Killed

Pte J Devereaux (D/7752) - 6th East Yorks – Killed

Pte A Harrison (D/37429) - 6th East Yorks – Killed

Pte C Whittleton (D/38889) - 6th East Yorks – Killed

LAC K New (567292) – 77 Squadron – Killed

AC2 K Offard (948296) - 77 Squadron – Killed

AC2 JWM Windle (752773) – Station HQ – Killed

AC1 AS Daws (752795) - Station HQ – Killed

ACW2 MH Hudson (882414) - Station HQ – Killed

Mr Hibbertson or Ibbitson – Civilian – Killed

LAC B Ash (944309) – 102 Squadron – Died of Wounds

Gnr Turner (1523282) – 295 Battery RA – Died of Wounds

LAC J Martindale (617752) – 77 Squadron – Seriously Wounded – Both legs fractured

LAC Miller (567648) – 77 Squadron – Dangerously Wounded – Fractured Skull & Crushed Legs

LAC JL Matthews (611277) – 77 Squadron – Dangerously Wounded – Chest Punctured

LAC H Donkin (632880) - 77 Squadron – Dangerously Wounded – Fractured Skull – Died in Hospital

P/O GW Salzgeber (41325) - 77 Squadron – Dangerously Wounded – Fractured Skull & flesh wounds to right flank & head caused by shrapnel & debris

F/O JHR Lewis (39997) – No 4 Group – Towing Flight – Seriously Wounded –  Wound to head & leg & Concussion

P/O WC Timoney (41536) – 77 Squadron – Wounded – Shocked, Bruises & Abrasions.

LAC A Williams (569281) – 77 Squadron – Wounded on Chin

LAC JL Whittle (540800) – Station HQ – Seriously Wounded on Shoulder

LAC JA Beattie (569468) - 77 Squadron – Wounded – Crushed Legs

AC2 L Harris (919160) – Station HQ – Wounded in Feet

Mr AE Hill – Civilian – Wounded

Mr H Lewis – Civilian – Wounded

The Casualty pack states that all of the above were wounded at Driffield Base Hospital or Killed at RAF Station, Driffield.

Marguerite is remembered on the memorial at the old base of RAF Driffield as well as on a memorial that sits in the park near Driffield town centre.  A memorial at Yorkshire Air Museum also remembers WAAFs in Yorkshire who lost their lives, Marguerites name is included on this.

Memorial RAF Driffield
Memorial RAF Driffield

Memorial at RAF Driffield

© AAFR 2023

Driffield Bombing Memorial

Driffield Air Raid Memorial at the Park in Driffield Town Centre

© AAFR 2022

WAAFs in Yorkshire who died during WW2

Memorial Plaque remembering WAAFs Killed in Yorkshire during WWII

Yorkshire Air Museum

© AAFR 2021

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