HARDING Edwin Mews 406019

LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Edwin Mews HARDING

Service No: 406019
Born: Fremantle WA, 8 December 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1940
Unit: No. 24 Squadron (South African Air Force), Landing Ground 130, Egypt
Died: Air Operation: The Second Libyan Campaigns (No. 24 Squadron Boston aircraft Z2191), Libya, 10 December 1941, Aged 29 years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edwin Meldrum Harding and Emma Mary Warren Harding, of Cottesloe, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Column 245, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 123, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Boston Z2191 of 24 Squadron SAAF took off on 10 December 1941 for an operational flight south of Gazala. The aircraft was shot down in flames and exploded before reaching the ground, with the pilot the only member of the crew to bale out.

The crew members of Z2191 were:

Lieutenant P Middleton-Stewart (103205) (SAAF) (Pilot) Baled Out, Survived
Flying Officer Edwin Mews Harding (406019) (Observer)
Air Sergeant J H Van Dyk (94333) (SAAF)
Flight Sergeant Jack Handley (749481) (RAF) (Air Gunner)

Sergeant Van Dyk and Sergeant Handley and the remains of a third body that could not be identified were buried at Gazala. In 1948 despite searches, their graves could not be located.

References:

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/35/151