Wednesday 24th November 2021
On Monday 22 November, Mary Ward visited the RAF Museum London.
She joined the RAF in March 1940, initially training in catering at RAF Melksham. After having a narrow escape in a Luftwaffe raid on RAF Driffield in the Battle of Britain, she transferred to RAF Pocklington.
From 1941 – 1944, Mary was a map clerk in the Intelligence Office dispensing target charts for raids to aircrew at RAF Linton on Ouse, Yorkshire. Mary was demobbed in December 1946.
She remains very alert and quite active for her age, although mainly wheelchair mobile. (She has a Jaguar XK8).
The purpose of the day was to provide closure for Mary for the loss of her fiance Sgt Douglas Harsom on 12.06.1942 age 20. He was an Observer (navigator) flying from RAF St Eval in a 58 Sqn twin-engined Whitley bomber on the night of 12 June 1942. The Squadron had only recently been transferred to Coastal Command from Bomber Command at Linton on Ouse, Yorkshire (where Mary was also stationed), to help fight the U-boat menace. (This why she viewed the Coastal Command Book of Remembrance).
Incidentally, it took Mary 64 years to discover his fate and grave in the CWGC cemetery in Bilbao, N. Spain. Mary visited the RAF Museum on Monday 22 Nov and was hosted by RAF Museum CEO Maggie Appleton, and members of the museum’s Research Team.