The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. H T Archer
Harold Thorpe Archer was born on 6th April 1915 in Brixworth, Northamptonshire, an area with which his family had long been associated. His father had served in the Royal Engineers in the First World War and had worked as an agricultural labourer and a bricklayer's labourer. For the 1939 Register he gave his occupation as 'sub-ganger, engineering staff, roadway'.
HT Archer joined the Aircraft Crew Section of the RAFVR in May 1939 as a u/t Wop/AG. He was called up on 1st September 1939. He appeared in the 1939 register as a storekeeper's assistant.
With his training completed, he joined 23 Squadron (Blenheims) at Ford on 1st October 1940. By 1941 he was serving with 7 Squadron, flying Stirlings from Oakington, Cambridgeshire.
Archer failed to return from an operation to Hamburg on the night of 29th/30th June as an air gunner in Stirling N6001. The aircraft took off at 2257 on 29th June. At 0210 on 30th June it crashed on farmland 25 miles north of Bremen. The farmer witnessed the crash. He reported that the Stirling was flying extremely low, apparently to avoid flak and its engines appeared to be functioning well. However, the aircraft then hit the ground and there was a violent explosion.
The destruction of N6001 and another 7 Squadron Strirling on the same night were later credited to the German ace Oberleutnant (later Oberst) Helmut Lent and his crew member.
Also lost were:
Sgt. RL Barrett RAAF
Sgt. MG Brown
F/Sgt. BW Grocock
S/Ldr. WTC Seale
F/Sgt. RE Walls
Sgt. L Whittle
Archer's was the only body identified at the time and he was initially buried in Geestemünde cemetery.
All members of the crew are now buried in Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany.
Above image courtesy of BobB.