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The Airmen's Stories - F/O D B H McHardy


Donald Ballantine Hardy McHardy was born on 10th January 1918 at Taliaris Park, Llandeilo, Carmarthen and attended Cheltenham College from September 1931 to December 1932.

On 21st July 1937 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion Welch Regiment (TA). He relinquished this and joined the RAF on a short service commission. He began his initial training on 16th May 1938.



With his training completed, he was serving with 'B' Flight of No. 1 AACU at Carew Cheriton by 5th April 1940. McHardy crashed in a Hawker Henley at Lydstep, Pembrokeshire on 3rd May after accidentally knocking off the ignition switches. He was posted from No. 1 AACU to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 27th May.

After converting to Hurricanes McHardy was posted to 229 Squadron at Digby on 8th June. He destroyed a He111 on 27th September. Patrolling the Croydon area on 26th October, the squadron sighted a number of Me109's, which they pursued to the coast of France but then lost.

After this a section composed of F/O GM Simpson, Sgt. RJ Ommaney and McHardy went down to attack a He59 floatplane flying low off the coast near Boulogne. The enemy aircraft alighted on the sea, damaged, and the three Hurricanes were attacked by Me109's and gunfire from the shore.

Ommaney got back to base but Simpson and McHardy failed to return. Simpson, in W6669, had been killed and McHardy was later reported to be a prisoner. He had forced-landed Hurricane V6704 in France reportedly low on fuel. He was taken prisoner and admitted to hospital with a broken jaw and teeth, having been thrown against the gunsight (below).



In May 1941 McHardy was in Dulag Luft, a temporary holding centre for captured Allied airmen at Oberursel, near Frankfurt. He was possibly on the 'permanent staff' of the camp, made up of PoWs who initiated new arrivals into the procedures of being a prisoner of the Germans.

On 1st June 1941 18 PoWs tunnelled their way out. All were recaptured after an extensive search by 3000 police and security personnel.

At some time McHardy was held in Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan (where he designed scenery for the camp theatre) and Belaria.

He was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant. He later joined the RAFVR.

McHardy was a noted painter of pub signs.

McHardy died in 1962 aged 44. He is buried in Taliaris Churchyard.



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