Flight Sergeant Harley Cecil HARBER

Service No: 421595
Born: Mosman NSW, 1 July 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 February 1942
Unit: No. 158 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Lissett
Died: Air Operations: (No. 158 Squadron Halifax aircraft HR980), Germany, 24 August 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Cecil Stanley and Una Jean Harber, of Northbridge, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Willoughby NSW
Remembered: Panel 123, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1914 hours on the night of 23 August 1943 Halifax HR 980 took off from Lissett to bomb Berlin. The aircraft had enough fuel for 10 hours. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it did not return to base. Following post war enquiries and investigations it was established that HR 980 was attacked by enemy night fighters and crashed in marshy terrain near the village of Reiersdorf, approximately 40 miles east of Berlin.

The crew members of HR980 were:

Flight Sergeant William Arnold Burgum (414463) (Pilot)
Sergeant Peter Leighton Buck (1391079) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Arthur Cox (1175980) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Harley Cecil Harber (421595) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Gordon Rudolph Harrison (R/76374) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Donald Roy Hemstock (1578243) (RAF) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Roland Hill (1202448) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

The bodies of Sergeants Cox and Harber were recovered by the Germans together with the remains of one unidentified crew member. The remains of all three are buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. The remains of the remaining missing crew members were not recovered and they are recorded as having no known graves.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/17/273

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