The interwebnet has become such an integral part of most of our lives that we sometimes forget how much help it gives those of us seeking to make connections. Some two years ago, shortly after I had started writing this blog, I posted an appeal for information about the descendants of William (Bill) Hatton, who had flown on the Dams Raid as the flight engineer in David Maltby’s Lancaster, AJ-J. I thought nothing more of it until one day earlier this year when my phone rang. On the other end of the line was a lady who introduced herself as Rene Hopkins, and who turned out to be Bill’s younger sister.
We spoke for ages, and Rene was able to confirm for me the names of their other sister and brother (both now dead) and lots of other family information. The only photo I have of Bill was, she told me, taken near the family home in Wakefield, by the local newspaper when he came home on leave after the Dams Raid.
We finally met a few weeks ago, and spent a very civilised few hours drinking tea in a hotel. I was able to take a few (very fuzzy) pictures of Rene holding the only photo which exists of all the Maltby crew, taken some 67 years ago in the Algerian heat, when they spent a few days in Blida after a bombing raid on some Italian power stations.