- Contributed by
- Vincent Barnard
- People in story:
- Mr Harry Barnard
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 29 February 2004
My grandad, Mr Harry Barnard died when I was about 6, after suffering his third heart attack. I never really knew him or had a chance to get to know him. All I really know is that my Grandad was a rear gunner in a Wellington Bomber during WW11, and the story of his experience is something I would like to share.
My father told me he did not not talk about his war memories, but he must have confided with my father at a quiet moment for him to pass onto me his story. Some of the facts may be a little vague but the main point of his story remains.
My Grandad's aircraft was shot down over Germany during a raid. His crew was mainly made up of Maori New Zealanders. When the plane was attacked a fire broke out and the crew had to bail out. My Grandad could recall how he saw some of his fellow crew falling to the ground burning as they fell with no parachute. My Grandad survived and was taken Prisoner of War in Germany. Back home the news came back to my Dads Mum that 'Bill's' aircraft had been shot down with no survivors. The shock of this news was so great she died within months and my Dad was looked after by his Aunt.
My Grandad eventually returned to England to be with his son and remarried to Joyce the lady who I called Nan. My father has since been contacted by a historian in Germany who has investigated the remains of the aircraft and its crew.
The accounts of these events should be told and never forgotten with the hope they will never happen again.
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