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mchisholm

2nd Lieut. A.W. (Alexander William) McHardy, 20 Squadron RAF

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I'm seeking details, or suggestions on how I can acquire details, of AW McHardy's service. I'm writing the McHardy's family history, and want to pay him tribute. Also his Grand-neice here in Pictou County, Nova Scotia is publicly honouring him soon, and I wanted to see what I could find for her. Here's what I know. Mr. McHardy was a Canadian who served in the RAF in WWI. I could not find his Attestation papers at www.archives.ca. They (National Archives of Canada) have told the family his service records would have been destroyed.

At http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_detail...asualty=2056551 it states that Alexander was with the 20 Squadron RAF.

In a post by Dolphin on Nov 2, 2008 on this Forum it was stated "2Lt A W McHardy and 2Lt W A Rogers in Bristol F2b F6195 of No 20 Sqn departed Iris Farm aerodrome at 10.20, only to be shot down and killed later". The discussion was focused on who was the last British Airman shot down on the Western Front. What record source would have given such detail on McHardy's movement? I've searched a variety of sites on the net, and can't find reference to that Squadron's diaries.

I've found some info in a local newspaper regarding McHardy's "story". From the Eastern Chronicle of New Galsgow, N.S., issue 29 Nov, 1918, p.1., under the title "Lieut. A.W. McHardy Again Reported Missing" it explains that the family had received a cable from London stating that their son was missing. A few days later a second message was sent cancelling the first, and then they received a letter from their son explaining "while in an air flight his engine went bad and he had to descend at a great distance from his headquarters and the trying cable had been dispatched to the father before he was able to report to his own command". The article continues with how relieved the family were, and how they celebrated when the War ended, thinking their son would be home soon. Then a third cable was received stating that Lieut. A.W. McHardy was reported on November 15th as missing on November 10".

I'd appreciate any quidance as to how I can learn more and complete a more detailed story of Lieut. McHardy's experience. Thanks in advance.

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Welcome to the forum

I would expect his RAF service papers to be in AIR 76, on microfilm at the UK National Archives, but the online catalogue seems to jump over his name:

AIR 76/319 McGowan, J - McGowan, Charles

AIR 76/320 Mackintosh, Alister - Mack, H R

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Mchisholm,

What I have on Hardy is an entry on 10th November 1918 from my book The Sky Their Battlefield as follows:

F6195 Bristol F2b 20Sqn

**OP combat with EA ovCHARLEROI MIA(2Lt AW McHardy KIA/2Lt WA Rodger Can. KIA) left 10-20am

This would have been based on an RAF Casualty Report of the event.

As a bit of background: regarding 20 Sqn, November no lessening of fighting activity - rather an intensification occurred in the final days of the war: in the last seven days of action before the 11th there were nine combat claims. Some would say regrettably that one of the biggest actions occurred on November 10 when an offensive patrol came across seven Fokker DVIIIs attacking a formation of DH9 bombers over Charleroi. Diving onto them they destroyed three and sent down another two out of control, but two crews were also shot down, 2Lts AW McHardy and WA Rodger being killed and, whilst the pilot Lt EAC Britton in the other machine survived and escaped capture, his observer Sgt RS Dodds was killed. These last casualties in the Great War for 20 Squadron occurred barely twenty-four hours before the Armistice was signed.

I've got nothing else as regards the earlier event.

Hope this helps,

Trevor

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Thank you both for your replies! I'll look further into the UK NA records, and Trevor that is very helpful too. Less than 24 hours from the end, wow. 2 Lieut. McHardy's Grand-niece told me that his father (her Grandfather) was never the same after the death of his oldest son.

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We just found a paperback in one of the remaindered bargain bookshops in London called An Airman's Wife - A true story of lovers separated by war by Aimee McHardy. It was first published by Grub street in 2005.

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With regard to AIR76 I am not sure the films are available at the TNA, last time I was there the draws were taped over and the films were to be withdrawn, subsequently the TNA have advised me that they have been offered to the RAFM and other organisations.

It might also be worth looking through W0339 at the TNA, this class can contain a lot of information on a man that AIR76 will not have a search has found two possible candidates WO339/121506 and WO339/129734

john_g

www.66squadron.co.uk

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That's because they are all online, McHardy's record is at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=8643521

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