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
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.
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: