Sergeant Francis Ira HARDAKER

Service No: 420941
Born: Coraki NSW, 21 February 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 December 1941
Unit: No. 21 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Station Moreton-in-Marsh
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 21 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft X9618), Oxfordshire, 14 August 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William John Francis and Eulalie Sarah Hardaker, of Maroubra, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Woodburn NSW
Remembered: Panel 123, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1605 hours on the 14 August 1943Wellington X9618 took off from Enstone airfield for a training exercise. At 1705 hours the aircraft crashed near the airfield, north-west from Oxford, as a result of petrol starvation. There appeared to be a misunderstanding in the orders to manipulate the fuel cocks, as an engine cut and the aircraft dived to the ground less than a mile from the runway and caught fire. Five of the crew members were killed and one was slightly injured.

The crew members of X9618 were:

Flying Officer Harry Malcolm Beyer (426012) (Navigator)
Sergeant James Duffey Clarke (1318276) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Francis Ira Hardaker (402941) (Navigator)
Sergeant Lewis (1301143) (RAF) Injured
Flight Sergeant Leonard George Sellen (420066) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Aubrey James White (420091) (Pilot)


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, 166/17/254