Bigger, Reginald Austin (No. 580320)

Bigger, Reginald Austin

Sergeant

No. 580320, 77 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Killed in action on Tuesday 24 October 1939 (aged 24)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 1)

Holywood and District War Memorial

Sullivan Upper School

BIOGRAPHY

Reginald Austin Bigger was born on 27 July 1915 at 2 Park Road, Holywood and he was a son of William Austin Bigger and Mary Clark Bigger (nee Gray) who were married on 15 July 1914 in the Ormeau Gospel Hall, Belfast.  William Austin Bigger (aged 26), a riveter from 2 Park Road, Holywood, was a son of Robert Bigger, a book binder.  Mary Clark Gray (aged 22) from Bloomfield Avenue, Belfast was a daughter of George Gray, an engineer.

The Bigger family lived at 3 Anchor Lodge, Kinnegar, Holywood, Co. Down.

Reginald Austin Bigger attended Lower Sullivan Public Elementary School and then Sullivan Upper School, Holywood from 3 September 1928 until 28 March 1933.  After leaving school he joined the Royal Air Force.

During the Second World War Sergeant Reginald Austin Bigger (No. 580320) served in Bomber Command and on 24 October 1939 he was one of a crew of five aboard an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mark V aircraft (N1358).  They took off at 6.50 pm from RAF Driffield in Yorkshire on a Nickel raid (dropping propaganda leaflets) and their targets were Hamburg and Wilhelmshaven in Germany.  A wireless telegraphy signal was intercepted at 11.15 pm but nothing further from the aircraft was heard.  No trace of the aircraft was ever found and the other crew members who died that night were:

  • PO Philip Edwin William Walker (aged 23) from Kentish Town, London
  • Sergeant George Jonathan Burrell (aged 28) from Hitcham, Suffolk
  • Aircraftman 1st Class Alexander Bernard Bogle MacDonald
  • AC1 James Alfred Topham (aged 18) from Bromley Cross, Lancashire

Aged 24 when he died, Sergeant Reginald Austin Bigger (No. 580320) is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey; on Holywood and District War Memorial and in Sullivan Upper School.