A Halifax Mk III bomber in flight
On November 18, 1942, Flight Sergeant Nathaniel Halliday (Royal Canadian Air Force) participated in a bombing mission launched from the Royal Air Force station at Graveley, in Cambridgeshire, England—the target: Turin, Italy.
He would not return for nearly two years.
According to an M.I.9 report, the crew of his Halifax bomber consisted of:
Wing Commander W. C. Robinson (pilot)
Flight Lieutenant M. Middlemass (first navigator)
an unnamed Australian wireless operator
Flight Sergeant Potter (fight engineer)
Flight Sergeant Bruce (tail gunner)
Flight Sergeant Butler (mid-upper gunner)
Nathaniel Halliday himself was the flight’s navigator.
Their mission accomplished, the aircraft was hit by flak on its homeward journey, 10 minutes after leaving the target.
The crew bailed out, and the following day Nathaniel was captured just north of Turin.
Nathaniel was held in Turin for five days. He was then held in an interrogation camp in Rome from November 23 to December 12.
On December 13, he was transferred to P.G. 59 Servigliano, where he was interned until the mass breakout from the camp on September 14, 1943.
“I moved with Flight Sergeant Moran via Santa Vitoria, Monte San Martino, to Montefalcone,” Nathaniel explained in the report.
“We stayed here from 18 September 1943 to June 1944. On 19 June, we moved to Castel di Croce, where we made contact with a British soldier named Brooks, who put us in touch with further help.
“Our route home was Ascoli (on foot), and then by truck to Termo, and by truck and train to Naples. We were flown home from Naples, leaving on 13 July, and reaching the UK on 19 July.”
Nathaniel McClure Halliday was born on September 11, 1915—he was 27 at the time of his capture. His service in the RCAF began on November 5, 1940.
At Graveley, he served in the 35 Squadron Bomber Command.
His “peacetime profession” was salesman, and he lived at 3440 West 22 Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia.
This post is based on a report to M.I.9 (July 20, 1944) from the British National Archives that Brian Sims shared with me several years ago.