19.04.1945 416 Squadron (RCAF) Spitfire XVI RR256 Fl/Lt. 'Webb ' Harten
Operation: Armed Reconnaissance
Date: 19th April 1945 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 416 (RCAF City of Oshawa Squadron-Lynx)
Type: Spitfire Type XVI
Base: Diepholz, Germany
Location: Kiebitzreihe, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. ‘Webb’ John Wilbert Edmund Harten J/16665 RCAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
In early 1945, the Allied Armies were rapidly advancing against the retreating Germans. Moving eastwards from Belgium and into Germany, 416 Squadron were tasked with patrolling the front and attacking ground targets.
On April 19th Fl/Lt. Harten spotted a moving freight train near the village of Wilster. Leading his flight, he dove down for the low level attack when his Spitfire was hit by a burst of flak. The aircraft stayed airborne for a short distance before crashing near the village of Kiebitzholz.
Fl/Lt. John ‘Webb’ Harten was on his second tour in Europe when he was killed after spending several months as an instructor at 61 OTU. Just three weeks prior to his death, Fl/Lt. Harten had confirmed victories over a pair of Fw190’s. He and his flight were also credited with the destruction of numerous ground targets during his command with 416 Squadron. On his first tour with 421 Squadron, Harten also shared in the destruction of three other enemy aircraft.
In 1970 Harten Lake in northern Ontario was named after Fl/Lt. Harten.
Fl/Lt. John Wilbert Edmund Harten. Hotton War Cemetery, Belgium. Grave Reference XI C 7. Son of Robert Forest Harten and Aimee May (nee Herring) Harten, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. With thanks to V.A.C. via Phil Miller for photo of Fl/Lt. Harten.