It was about a year ago when I managed to buy an Australian helmet from the bay. It had an army number written on the inside which tickled my curiosity.
During the summer time I had more time to intensify my research.
This helmet belonged to Flight Sergeant Alan Brian Hartley aged 21 who was part of the 467th Squadron. It was probably used on the airplane base.
Alan Brian was part of a crew of 7 who flew several bombing raids above France and Belgium with their Lancaster bomber since the 30th of June 1944.
On the night of 20/21-7 1944 a terrible sound struck when the air-alarm brutally disturbed the quiet night above the city of Courtrai (Kortrijk) Belgium. The dropped red and green target indicators enlighted the sky in an frightening gloom of bad things to come. Civillians fled to the public hide-outs and waited for the things to come. On 0:55 the pounder of airplane formations became stronger and stronger when the hell brake loose. Hundreds of bombs fell on the city causing death and destruction. On 1:12 all became quiet again, the first wave of bombers had completed their mission. On 1:55 The second wave of bombers attacked the already burning city. This last attack lasted until 2:15.
The Lancaster LM101 who took on 23:29 from base Waddington England took part on the mission, but did not make it back to base.The remains of the LM101 and their crew were salvaged by the Germans on the Vercruysselaan, but it wasn't untill November when all the remains of the total crew were found. The crew was buried in Wevelgem, the pilot who was found later has been buried in Courtrai.
During the summer time i was able to visite Ypre and surroundings. I also visited Wevelgem where AB Hartley was buried. It was an honor and privilege to pay respect to this man and all the other aviators who gave their lives so far from home. I also want to thank local historian Etienne Vanackere for providing the photos and any additional info on the bomber crew.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to contact any relative but some day I hopefully will. Let us never forget these men!