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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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132 Squadron crest
15.8.1944 No 132 Squadron Spitfire IXE ML403 FF-T P/O. Harden

Operation: Armed Recce

Date: 15th August 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 132 Squadron (125 Wing, 83 Group TAF)

Type: Spitfire IXE

Serial: ML403

Code: FF-T

Base: RAF Lingèvres, France

Location: Ouville, France

Pilot: P/O. Robert Cecil Harden NZ/402517 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 07:55 hrs with 10 others from the squadron on an armed reconnaissance patrol over Falais in France.

The aircraft of P/O. Harden was last seen streaming glycol after the pilot had called stating that he had been hit by anti-aircraft fire.

After the area was liberated the Spitfire was found in the fields of a Monsieur Lucas at Ouville but no trace of the pilot was found.

Another Spitfire was lost from the squadron on an earlier operation this day:

F/O Prentice reported to be flying MJ403 FF-T and taken Pow. Other publications show that P/O.Harden was flying NH493 FF-J - we are unable to confirm these aircraft serial numbers.

Burial details:

P/O. Robert Cecil Harden. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 263. Son of Cecil John Harden and of Norma Juanita Harden (née McDonald), of Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand. 929 flying hours logged and on his 145th operational sortie.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, also to Peter Hickson (relative) for the great photograph, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 07.11.2018

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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