John (Jack) Thomas Ackroyd was born in Hartlepool in 1921, he had a sister Alice, born 1924, it appears that their father died in 1925. Elizabeth and Jack can be found in the 1939 England and Wales Register as living at 91 Waverley Road, Great Horton. Jack was an apprentice bricklayer. It is believed at sometime the family lived at Russell Hall farm, Queensbury.
Jack flew in Wellington bombers, his aircraft was X9763. On the night of 2nd November his Squadron and 104 Squadron flew from Luqa and raided Castel Benito airfield, Tripoli. Night fighters of the Italian Airforce intercepted the Allied bombers, Wellington bomber X9763 was shot down with the loss of all six crew.
The following information was found on the shooting down of Jack’s aircraft. Source Håkans aviation page, Biplane fighter aces, Italy.
Tenente (Lieutenant) Egisto Andalò of the 154a Squadriglia claimed to have shot down a bomber (most probably X9763) north of Tripoli and to have probably shot down a second. In its turn, the guns on board the bombers hit his plane and he was wounded in the leg by two bullets. The enemy aircraft crashed down into the sea in flames where it continued to burn for over an hour.
During the raid nearly 28 tons of high explosives and incendiaries were dropped causing damage to the airfield’s hangers, workshops and destroying petrol tanks and ammunition dumps. Several aircraft on the ground were also destroyed. One pilot from 40 Squadron, Sergeant C. A. Armstrong, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal for his actions during the raid.