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Thread: Flight Sergeant TH Harmer

  1. #1
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    Default Flight Sergeant TH Harmer

    Hello all,

    Picking up on a previous thread re Harmer http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=840&highlight=harmer, I was giving a friend a lift to the hospital the other day and she regaled me with a fascinating story regarding her grandfather Flight Sergeant Thomas Herbert Harmer (aka the Alf Garnett of Brighton) which she was told by her grandmother when she was a child.

    She remembers that her grandmother never told the story but she had tears in her eyes.

    It seems Tom Harmer was colour blind - but scored well at gunnery so was posted as a rear gunner. The crew reputedly added and used symbols for the colour coded-lights to avoid errors.

    One day Mrs. Harmer received a message to say that her husband had been shot down and is in a hospital.

    She goes to the hospital to look for him but cannot find him. They tell her he is now in the morgue. When she gets to the morgue he is still alive and she points this out. They say he will soon be dead anyway. She stays with him and he eventually recovers. When she gets home a few days later she discovers that her four children have been put into care. The neighbour whom she expected to look after them said she couldn't do it and that grandma had simply abandonned them.

    It was many months before he was able to go back to duty. According to grandma he was a member of the caterpillar and goldfish clubs having been one of the fortunate few to survive bailing out over the Channel. In these respects the story is eerily similar to that given for Sgt Harmer of 78 Squadron. The strange thing is that the uncle has no recollection of this story.

    According to my friend's uncle his father was a Gunnery Instructor at RAF Yatesbury and his chief claim to fame was being the unidentified 'rear gunner' on a postcard depicting a Lancaster bomber.

    I have suggested to them that they need to get his personnel file from the RAF and hopefully they will do that so that I may be able to add further to this thread. His Service number we believe was 1308379. He was not the Harmer who was a 'reporter'.

    Best to all

    Howard
    Last edited by Howdie; 22nd October 2008 at 09:46. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hi
    I would be cautious about this one. If the man was colour-blind it is doubtful that he would have passed the Medical for aircrew at all. Colour Blindness is in most Air Forces a disability that makes the individual unfit to train, let alone fly. I do know of at least one pilot who got round it, but it would be tested for on Initial entry and the candidate rejected and ,indeed rejected for many non-flying duties as well. It sounds as though it has grown a little in the telling.
    Regards
    Dick

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