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John Robert Harding

Admitted to:

Orpington Hospital

Date of Injury:

25/01/1945

D.O.B/Age when admitted:

26

Cause of Incident:

Crashed on take off in a C47.

Transferred to QVH:

29/01/1945

Injuries:

Burns to face and hands. Laceration to face.

No. of Operations at East Grinstead:

2



IDENTITY CARD

This is to certify that the patient mentioned below and whose description is stated hereon is the authorised holder of this Identity card.


Forename:

John Robert

Surname:

Harding

Service No:

J17377

Nationality:

Canadian


Awards/Honours:

DFC

Patient Unit:

168 Sqn

Profession:

Observer

Patient Rank:

Fg Off

Death:

15/05/2001

Age at Death:

80yrs

Dr Rank:

Dr Unit:

Notes:

Assigned to Biggin Hill in October 1944, as part of 168 (RCAF) Heavy Transport Squadron, flying mail from Canada to England, then England to the advancing front lines.

Before returning to transatlantic duties, Harding's crew was asked to do one more trip to the continent to help familiarise a new crew with the route. There was low icy ground fog which meant limited forward visibility, as there had been for several days. The pilot tried to take off at low speed, feeling they were running out of runway, crashing into a parked Spitfire, bouncing and hitting a van, before the plane broke in two and Harding was thrown from the plane.

Harding was visited by "Wingco" Ross Tilley who had him moved to the Canadian Wing of QVH.

By the end of May 1945, Harding was back to flying regularly.

Glossary:

Further Reading:

'The Dancin' Navigator' By John Harding.
'As For the Canadians' By Rita Donovan.

References:

'How I Became a Guinea Pig', Jack Harding, D.F.C., The Guinea Pig, July 1987, pp. 2-4.
'John Harding, D.F.C.', The Guinea Pig, January 2002, p. 5.