Flight Sergeant William Henry HARNDEN

Service No: 417366
Born: Alberton SA, 13 December 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 April 1942
Unit: No. 78 Squadron, Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea
Died: Air Operations (No. 78 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft A29-401), near Biak, Dutch New Guinea, 3 June 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Roy Rupert and Florence Annie Harnden; husband of Norma Joan Harnden, of Toorak Gardens, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 7, Lae Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 104, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Pilot Officer Cowley (1) also flying in Osment’s (2) section, opened fire at 200 yards on an Oscar which he damaged. He then attacked another Oscar from 100 yards, closing to 50 yards. The Oscar caught fire and crashed into the sea, but the Japanese pilot escaped by parachute. Flight Sergeant Harnden, who followed Cowley into action evidently got into difficulties and took to his parachute. The other pilots thought he had made a safe descent to the water and was later rescued by an American destroyer. They learned afterwards that Harnden’s parachute had failed to open and he was killed. The man they saw rescued from the water was a Japanese airman.

(1) Flying Officer Richard Roy Cowley (405834) was discharged from the RAAF on 25 July 1945.
(2) Flight Lieutenant Robert Sydney Osment DFC (400629) was discharged from the RAAF on 29 April 1945.

Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 225


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 156


Wilson, S. (Stewart) Spitfire, Mustang and Kittyhawk in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1988

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