The Airmen's Stories - F/O H G Hardman
Harry Gordon Hardman was born on 4th May 1915 at Arncliffe in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Shortly afterwards his family returned to England and he was baptised at St. James Church in Plumstead, London on 20th October 1915.
Because of his birthplace he was erroneously designated as of Australian nationality when the Monument master list was drawn up.
He was educated at Cottingham Commercial College in Bexleyheath, Kent and learned to fly at his own expense at Brooklands. He was awarded Aero Licence 14816 on 8th April 1937, his nationality on the licence was recorded as 'British'.
Above: his licence ID photograph.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission in October 1937, was posted to 5 FTS Sealand on 5th March 1938 and then joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on 17th September 1938.
Above: there is an atmospheric shot of his course at 5 FTS Sealand, unusually there is also a detailed caption, Hardman is seated third from left in the middle row. F/O PP Woods-Scawen (first left, KIA 1st September 1940, his brother Charles also shot down and killed the following day) has been identified as a Battle airman, the others are being researched.
He was still serving with 111 at the start of the Battle and on 13th August claimed a Do17 as damaged. On the 18th his section attacked a Do17 that was flying so low that they witnessed strikes on the ground from their own fire.
He was posted away in early September 1940 for instructor duties and rejoined 111 on 6th November 1940. His subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Squadron Leader.
Above: (L to R): P/O W Lapkowski, P/O AR Zatonski ( a glove covering his burned hand), F/O RA McGowan, F/O HG Hardman.
Hardman died in March 1995 in High Wycombe aged 79.
Additional research and images courtesy of Philip G Ross.