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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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49 Squadron Anson I N5096 P/O. Brian Leslie Gordon Harker

Operation: Training

Date: 04th October 1939 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 49 Squadron (motto: Cave canem - 'Beware of the Dog'). 5 Group

Type: Anson I

Serial: N5096

Code: EA-?

Base: RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire

Location: Upper Saxondale, Lincolnshire

Pilot: P/O. Brian Leslie Gordon Harker 40620 RAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC2. Francis Leo Mcgurk 546733 RAF Age 22. Killed


Taking off from Scampton at 11:15 hrs on a wireless operation training exercise.

Whilst executing a sharp left turn the Anson struck the ground, killing both the crew.

The locals from the area planted five mature trees in the shape of a cross. A memorial stone was also placed but it has since been moved to a nearby farmers field.

The tree memorial 2023 as photographed by Robin Docksey. (Robin would be delighted to provide relatives with a copy of the original)

Burial details:

P/O. Brian Leslie Gordon Harker. Lincoln Cemetery (Newport). Section G. grave 312 North. Born on the 15th October 1917 in Wairoa. Educated at St. Patricks College, Silverstream, passing the University Entrance examination. When applying for a short service commission in the Royal Air Force, in April 1937, he was employed in a clerical capacity by Swifts Limited at Wairoa, and on acceptance embarked on the 30th November on the 'Ruahine' for England.

Trained at elementary flying training at White Waltham, Berkshire, on their 17th January 1938. No. 8 Flying Training School, awarded his flying badge on the 09th July 1938. Attended the School of Air Navigation, Manston, Kent, on the 29th October 1938. Joined 49 squadron in November 1938. A total of 295 flying hours logged with 19 on the Anson.

Son of Harry Lionel (died 19th January 1951, age 60) and Ellen Harker (née Dawson - died 27th January 1963, age 71), of Campbell Street, Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. Brother of Valerie Mary Brownlie and Dudley Lionel Thomas Harker. Epitaph: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Him. R.I.P.'.

AC2. Francis Leo Mcgurk. Lincoln Cemetery (Newport). Section H. grave 191 North. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, National Archives Kew, Robin Docksey for memorial tree photograph.

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding accidents
Pages regarding 1939 Losses
Pages detailing RNZAF Losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 13-08-2023

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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