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Thread: "yvonne proudbag"

  1. #1
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    Default "yvonne proudbag"

    What follows is something that i have only just learnt from my father, now 92 and in good health. I am in particular looking for someone who can tell me something about Tony Harper and for an english language edition of the book The Last Flight of "YVONNE PROUDBAG" by De Decker,Cynrik & Jean-Louis Roba.

    Anthony Vyvian Harper was born in 1922. His parents were Vyvian and Stella Mary Harper (nee Herbert-Smith) who before the war were living at Druid Stoke House, Druid Stoke, Bristol.Tony Harper first met Dad in 1940 (now 92 and very much alive) when they were both staying at lodgings at 23 Somerset Road, Frome, Somerset.

    Tony was called up to the RAAF Royal Australian Air Force as a volunteer reserve, and became a pilot officer (air bomber) in 466 Squadron. Between then and Tony’s death in 1943 he met and worked with my mother probably when she was working in one of the RAF plotting rooms who reported to Fighter Command Headquarters, Stanmore, Middlesex.

    Dad had not met Mum at this time but in early 1942 “out of the blue” he received a letter from her while he was in Alexandria with the Royal Navy. This had been at the suggestion of Tony who of course had known Dad in Frome. The reason for writing the letter is unclear but by 1944 this had lead to Mum and Dad meeting, for the first time, on one of his leave visits, in WH Smith in Salisbury.

    Tony Harper had died on 30 May 1943 while on a raid. His bomber, “Yvonne Proudbag” came down at Vollezele (Evere Vlaams-Brabant) near Brussels, Belgium, and the following is an extract from a report...

    29/30 May 1943
    No.466 Sqn
    Welington X HE212 HD- "Yvonne Proudbag"
    Op: Wuppertal
    Took off 2223 Leconfield. Shot down by a night-fighter (Oblt Rudolf Altendorf, I./NJG 4) and crashed 0400 at Vollezele (Brabant), 26 km WSW of Brussels, where all were buried in the Town Cemetery on 1 June. Their average age was 21. In 1994, a memorial to the crew was placed in Vollezele.


    1334109 Sgt (Pilot) Henry Simon Raoul LLOYD RAFVR + (later 147904 P/O)
    1166713 Sgt (Nav.) William Roy HENDON RAFVR + (later 146015 P/O)
    1319319 Sgt (Air Bomber) Anthony Vyvian HARPER RAFVR + (later 145811 P/O)
    1380482 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Sydney Charles LUKE RAFVR +
    1380227 Sgt (Air Gnr.) William James BLUNDELL RAFVR

    The Staffelkapitan of 2./NJG 4, Oblt Rudolf Altendorf's report reads as follows...

    "At 01.46 hrs I started with my Bf110 3C+MK for a patrol in (radar) sector 7A. At 01.55 hrs, we received from the ground station the location of a bomber, flying at 3300 meters at a speed of 280 km/hr." From a distance of 75 meters, Altendorf pushed the button . His guns and cannons spit 366 MG17 - and 80 MGFF bullets towards the "Yvonne Proudbag". Some twenty minutes later the Wellington exploded in the air, to find her end at 02.20 in the fields around Vollezele (some 20 miles SE of Brussels), killing one civilian. Fw Arndt confirmed this 19th victory for his pilot. The following day, the crew visited the crash location, and found out that the wreckage was dispersed over an area of some 1500 meters. In the debris, a German team recovered the five bodies of the "Yvonne Proudbag".

    Tony Harper and my mother had apparently formed a close relationship, and they may have been engaged so that first meeting between my Mum and Dad on Dad’s return in 1944 must have been difficult. However a year later on 26 November 1945 they were engaged, Mum’s 23rd birthday. Within a year they were married and I was born in 1947, christened Anthony in his memory.

    I hope someone can help me find out more about Tony Harper so I can have a better understanding of who my mother was possibly engaged to and after whom I was named. Many thanks.

  2. #2
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    Hello,

    Welcome to the Forum.

    We have discussed "YVONNE PROUDBAG", previously:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?11073-Queries-regarding-Flight-Officer-Wallace-Stanhope-Gaunt

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 19th May 2013 at 13:15.

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