Christopher Hallam


Air Mechanic 2nd Class 77450, 21st Squadron Royal Flying Corps

Killed in a Flying Accident 21st August 1917 aged 28

No Known Grave Commemorated Arras Flying Services Memorial, France

Husband of Sarah (Sadie) Hallam

Lived 6, Sharpe Street, Heckmondwike

Christopher was born on 28th July 1889 in New Whittington, Derbyshire the eldest son of Frank Hallam, a Stuff Presser of Bradford and Selina Davey of Nottinghamshire, who had married in Chesterfield. The family had moved to Norristhorpe Lane, Liversedge by 1891 and their daughter Elizabeth was baptised at Heckmondwike Parish Church on the 19th April 1893.

The parents with five children were recorded in 1911 as living at New Yew Tree Cottage, Lumb Lane, Liversedge and Christopher was a Labourer at the Sewage Works. Later they moved to Sharpe Street, Heckmondwike and Christopher was employed by Mr Whitehead at Crystal Mills, Union Road. He attended St Saviour's Church.

On the 7th September 1914, in response to the call “that every man should do their duty” Christopher enlisted at Dewsbury with at least four friends into the KOYLI, but as they were over subscribed he was transferred ten days later into the Plymouth Division Royal Marine Light Infantry as RMLI PLY 174(S). After training he was sent to the Dardanelles aboard HMS Victory. In a letter he sent to his family from there he wrote “I had my first taste of fighting on 4th March. I came through alright but we had to leave some behind us. I shall not forget the experience in a hurry. I cannot say how long we shall be before we will be at it again. The place is very mountainous and you may guess it is hard work whenever we land from the boats and there are practically no roads at all”. The prolonged fighting under difficult conditions later cost the lives of two of his friends from Heckmondwike, George Gale and Arthur Wood on 3rd May 1915.

Christopher was eventually repatriated having had typhoid and was then given a short leave home and on 15th November 1915 he married Sarah (Sadie) Wilson Scott of Norristhorpe at Heckmondwike Parish Church. He was then sent to France and on the 7th September 1916 was appointed Lance Corporal.

Later Christopher was transferred to the Royal Flying Corp becoming an Air Mechanic Second Class . The Royal Flying Corps was the air arm of the British Army before it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1st April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. The Royal Flying Corps supported the British Army by providing artillery co-operation and reconnaissance photography.

On 21st August 1917 Aircraft type RE8 No. A/3622 with Pilot Captain A. H. Smith and observer AM2C. Hallam, whose duty was aerial photography and artillery observation, took off at 9.05am from an airfield in the Ypres locality. The plane was equipped with one Lewis gun and a Vickers gun. No further definite news was received. An RE8 was seen to go down in a spinning nose dive and crash at 9.30am. The pilot and observer were missing.

The local newspaper carried a report that Christopher Hallam was missing stating that he had been through much active and dangerous service in the Dardanelles and France and it was whilst he was flying over the German lines that he was numbered amongst the missing.

It was to be ten months after he went missing that his wife received official word at their home at 54, Jeremy Lane that he must now be “presumed dead”.

Medals: 14/15 Star, British War & Victory

Memorial Book: 6 Sharpe Street, Heckmondwike

Commemorated: Heckmondwike Green Park Memorial and Velum Roll; St Saviour’s Church Memorial now kept within St James’s Church; Norristhorpe United Reform Church Memorial{KH-064}

We have been contacted with information that Christopher and the pilot were shot down by Lieutenant Ernst Hess of Jasta 28. This information has enabld us to find an obituary about the pilot, Captain Smith, that can be viewed by following this link.

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