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A researched Australian MKII helmet

Article about: 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 tim

  1. #1

    Default A researched Australian MKII helmet

    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.
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    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.

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    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.
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    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!

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  2. #2

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    Excellent!
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  3. #3

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    By doing your research and finding this person you are keeping his memory alive. As a Australian i would like to thank you for doing this and finding FS Brians grave and service record.
    Morris

  4. #4
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    Outstanding....this is what it is all about!

    There is something very humbling about visiting the grave of someone you've researched knowing some of their trials and tribulations.....and how they left this earth.

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. #5

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    This is absolutely terrific mate, you are a credit to yourself for having researched this and visited this mans final resting place, well done!

  6. #6

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    Thanks alot gentleman, it was very satisfying work. While we were standing there at the grave a little Cessna flew over us, he kept circling back as he was right above us as if he was doing a couple of flyby's. It was really a special moment.

    Cheers,

    Ray

  7. #7
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    Nice helmet, but an even better story to back it up, well done.

  8. #8

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    I am the eldest son of Leo Joseph Hartley, Alan's brother, who also flew bombing raids during WWII. Alan was my namesake as I was Christened Allan in my uncle's memory. It was amazing to read this story and I sincerely thank those who have collected this information and related it here. Next time we visit Europe, we will make our way to see Alan's resting place. It is an eery feeling to open a link and find Alan's portrait staring out at me. But that's the wonderful gift of the internet. God bless those who have contributed to this post. Allan Joseph Hartley and family.

  9. #9
    SMP
    SMP is offline
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    What a great story. How lovely that a man's memory is preserved for ever on the internet.

  10. #10
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    A poignant reminder of those few who gave so much - fantastic piece!

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