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Reginald Thomas Hunt

Served with Essex County Constabulary from Jun 6, 1939 and died on May 20, 1944.

Police Constable Reginald Thomas Hunt was the son of William Thomas Hunt and Kate Hunt, of Newbury, Berkshire, and was born in Newbury on 23rd September 1919. He had been employed as a dispatch clerk by the Milk Marketing Board in Newbury prior to joining Essex County Constabulary on 6th June 1939.

After training at Headquarters Reginald was posted to Clacton from 5th August 1939, and then to Grays from 5th December 1939. He left the police on 7th September 1941 and joined the R.A.F. the following day. He was the wireless operator (Warrant Officer 1319408) on Lancaster Mk III JB653 (coded MG-R) of 7 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve which took off from R.A.F. Oakington at 10.23 p.m. on Friday 19th May 1944 on an operation to bomb the railway marshalling yards at Le Mans.

The pilot, Squadron Leader J M Dennis DSO DFC, was Deputy Master Bomber in the seven-man crew. In the early hours of 20th May 1944 the aircraft was hit by light flak and crashed one kilometre north-east of the local airfield. All the crew, presumably including Reginald, were buried in the West Cemetery on 23 May 1944. However, he is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having no known grave and is therefore commemorated on panel 214 of the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey. He was aged 24.

His death came four months after that of fellow Essex County Constabulary officer, Lawrence Hartman, who had also been killed while flying in a Lancaster of 7 Squadron on a raid from R.A.F. Oakington. During the war 7 Squadron flew 5,060 missions, lost 157 aircraft, as well as a total of 800 crew, while 546 received medals and honours.

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