Change Currency: GBPUSDEURCAD

Change Language: DeutschDanskEnglish (UK)English (US)EspañolFrançaiseעברית (ישראל)DutchTürkçe



Stock Level: 1

Product Information

A fine Great War ‘1917’ FE2d and DH4 Ace’s M.C. group of three awarded to Major H. R. Harker, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force - a skilled Flight Commander with 57 Squadron, who extricated his bomber formation from a dog fight with a vastly superior numbered German force led by Lothar Von Richthofen, 30 April 1917.
A veteran of such skirmishes during ‘Bloody April’, Harker went on to claim at least 5 Victories before tragically succumbing to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919

Military Cross, G.V.R., reverse engraved ‘1917 Awarded To 2nd Lieut. (Temp. Capt.) H. R. Harker. R.F.C. “Consistently Set A Splendid Example To His Brother Officers” Died 27.2.1919 Major In R.A.F.

British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves, mounted upside down officially named to: Capt. H. R. Harker. R.F.C.

Mounted for display, good very fine.

M.C. London Gazette 9 January 1918:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. For nearly a year he has carried out extremely valuable work in taking aeroplane photographs and leading bombing raids far behind the enemy lines, often in the face of great opposition and trying weather conditions. On a recent occasion while returning from a successful bombing raid his formation was attacked by more than twice its number but by his fine offensive spirit and skilful leadership the enemy were dispersed. He has consistently set a splendid example to his brother officers.’
M.I.D. London Gazette 27 May 1919.
Howard Redmayne Harker was born in May 1891, and was the son of Mr and Mrs J. D. Harker of Prestwich, Manchester. He was educated at Laurence House School, St. Annes-on-Sea, Rossall School and Manchester University. Harker had been a member of the university O.T.C., and upon leaving in 1913 was employed in the Experimental Department of the Royal Air Craft Factory. Eventually, despite deferment because of important war work, he successfully obtained a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps in April 1916.
Harker gained his Royal Aero Club Certificate (No. 2945) in May 1916, and having completed his flying training advanced to Flying Officer the following month. He was posted for operational flying with the newly formed 57 Squadron (FE2d’s) to France, 16 December 1916. The Squadron were employed on fighter reconnaissance duties, and Harker achieved their first victory when flying with Second Lieutenant V. D. Fernauld (an American) as his observer, 24 March 1917.
The Combat Report gives the following:
‘FE2d A/1954, armed with 2 Lewis guns, Pilot 2/Lt. H. R. Harker, Observer 2/Lt. V. D. Fernauld engaged a hostile aircraft at 1145, east of Lens, at 9,000ft. The H.A. was a signle seat tractor biplane with one or two fixed guns. The H.A. was engaged from above on his right side with the sun behind the FE2d. A burst of about 20 rounds was fired, from almost directly above the H.A. at a range of less than 50 yards, by the Oobserver. The tracer bullets were seen entering the engine and fuselage, and H.A. went down practically vertically, twisting about....’
The superiority of the German aircraft was to come to the fore the following month, known as ‘Bloody April’, when the Squadron lost a number of pilots in combat. Harker wrote home, 7 April 1917:
‘We are having quite a busy time of late for reasons which you will gather by the time you get this letter and see its date. We are engaged in the somewhat arduous and occasionally mildly exciting task of gaining what the politicians love to call ‘The supremacy of the air.’
I have for the third time been appointed acting Flight Commander and may possibly remain so this time. The man who relieved me of my temporary command the last time went over the line yesterday morning and the unkind Huns promptly shot him down and he landed within 50 yards of our outposts in front of the Hindenburg line. He is now in ‘Blighty’ I expect. He was luckier than the other four machines, which did not return all... This particular patrol were asked to do a well nigh impossible task which we have not been required to repeat so you need not think I am likely to follow them...
It is somewhat parky in the upper atmosphere just now and many of us are suffering from mild frostbite...’
A ‘scrap’ with Lothar Von Richthofen
Harker led a bombing formation, 30 April 1917, which had a brush with Lothar von Richthofen:
‘Forty minutes after his destruction of the 16 Squadron BE, Lothar Von Richthofen and his command, together with elements of Jasta 12, spotted a formation of FEs in the morning light. The FEs, led by Captain H. R. Harker (A6401), were from 57 Squadron.
Earlier at 06.50 the British had spotted German fighters over Lécluse but, outnumbered as they were, had decided that discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew. At 07.00 over Vitry, they were approached by yet another formation of enemy scouts, six above them and three others at their own altitude. In the initial attack, two of the FE’s fell, one to Lothar, the other to the leader of Jasta 12, Adolf von Tutschek.... Another of the FE’s (A1966) was picked off by the three enemy scouts operating at the lower level.... An enemy machine was also hit, going down two miles SW of Douai. Yet another of the German planes went down under the fire of the FE’s, landing near to Vitry at 07.15. The German losses were soon more than made good by the arrival of reinforcements.... Still the Germans continued not to commit themselves to an all-out attack, a situation which allowed Harker and three other FE’s to edge their way slowly back to the British lines.’ (Under the Guns of the German Aces, by N. Franks and H. Giblin refers).
It is highly likely that the above action is one the one referred to in the recipient’s M.C. citation. Harker advanced to Acting Captain and Flight Commander after ‘Bloody April’.
The Squadron re-equipped with DH4’s in May 1917, and was tasked with long range bomber reconnaissance. It moved to Boisdinghem the following month, and joined the 27th Wing as part of V Brigade. The latter was employed in support of the British Army during the Ypres Offensive, and this new role seems to have suited Harker as he added at least another 4 enemy aircraft to his score between 18 June - 21 August 1917 (some sources credit him with 7 enemy aircraft shot down).
Having completed his tour with 57 Squadron, Harker returned to the UK at the end of August 1917. Subsequent appointments included as Acting Squadron Commander of 3 I.T.S., and also instructing at No. 2 School of Navigation and Bomb Dropping, R.A.F. Andover. He advanced to Acting Major in October 1918, and tragically succumbed to the then raging Spanish Flu pandemic, dying at the Officer’s Military Hospital at Tidworth, 27 February 1919. Major Harker was mentioned in despatches for his work at Andover, and this was posthumously gazetted. He is buried in the Southern Cemetery, Manchester.
Sold with a large amount of copied research, including photographic images.

Product Code: EM3553

Customer Reviews

This product hasn't been reviewed yet. Write a review


Mobile Site