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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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54 Squadron Crest
04.09.1941 No. 54 Squadron Spitfire Vb AB808 P/O. John S. Harris

Operation: Circus 93

Date: 04th September 1941 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 54 Squadron

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AB808

Base: RAF Hornchurch

Location: Palais de Calais area, France

Pilot: P/O. John Stewart Harris 61219 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Escorting Blenheims on a bombing operation to Mazingarbe. Attacked by Me109’s from NKG and shot down during the afternoon.

Above: area of operations with insert P/O. John Harris (courtesy Sherborne School - see credits)

Also lost from the squadron, 27 year old P/O. Michael Medwyn Evans 63830 flying Spitfire Vb W3620 over the English Channel near Gravelines, neither body or aircraft recovered - remembered on the Runnymede memorial.

Note: Spitfire Vb AB808 had been delivered to the squadron just a few days earlier on the 29th August having been built at the Castle Bromwich factory, fitted with the R/R Merlin 45 engine.

In March 2015 we were contacted by the Chairman of the Victoria Cross Trust, Mr. Gary Stapleton. The Trust look after VC Recipient war graves that are outside the jurisdiction of the CWGC. Recently they were working in the cemetery at Brookwood Cemetery - although P.O Harris was not a holder, the group felt they should carry our some renovations to the grave of his parents where he is also commemorated. The Trust is a registered charity and welcome any donations that you are able to offer. Further details and link shown below.


Note: Aircrew Remembered do not recommend any member of the public undertaking such work, there are legal as well as Health and Safety issues to be followed.

Left: Sherborne School, Dorset - Any further information that you are able to assist them with fallen former pupils from all wars, we would be pleased to pass onto them. 

Burial details:

P/O. John Stewart Harris. Dunkirk Town Cemetery, France. Plot 2. Row 2. Grave 27. Further information (courtesy Sherborne School Archives): Born 11th May 1917, son of Frederick Stewart Harris and Evelyn Jane Harris, of Headley Down, Hampshire, England. (formerly of Madras, India). 

Attended Connaught House preparatory school, Weymouth, Dorset. Attended Sherborne School (Lyon House) April 1931-December 1935; 6th form; Prefect; Head of House; 1st XI cricket team, 1935. Chartered accountancy. Grave inscription reads: “Mourned by all who knew him”

Right: Grave at Dunkirk Town War Cemetery (courtesy P. Dagwell)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to With thanks to Sherborne School Archives for additional information. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Aircrew Remembered own Archives. Grave photo courtesy P. Dagwell. Additional sources as shown below.

The Victoria Cross Trust - what they do:

The Victoria Cross Trust is a charitable organisation that works tirelessly to ensure the memory and graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are remembered and maintained for generations to come. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) only takes responsibility for graves of Victoria Cross recipients killed in action during World War I and II. Many more VCs were laid to rest without civic recognition and without continued maintenance to their graves. The Victoria Cross Trust works with families and relatives of those brave men whos graves fall outside the remit of the CWGC, to provide the same level of care and maintenance to their graves. We take steps to ensure these important sites are restored, maintained and protected for the long term with an ‘aftercare plan’, using volunteers to tend a grave and keep it clean and tidy. An application for listing is considered and in some cases we take over the ownership of the grave.

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 29 March 2015, 11:19

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