HARLEY Robert William
Regiment : 103 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service number : 1578786
Conflict : WW2
Date of death : 17th April 1943 aged 21
Buried : Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany, Grave 7. C. 5.
Relatives : Son of William Clowes Harley and Annie Harley, of Winscombe, Somerset
Memorial : Redditch War Memorial
Also appears on : Redditch County High School now Trinity High School WW2 Memorial. Redditch Bates Hill Methodist Church now in Redditch Emmanuel Church.
Robert Harley was born in Gloucester in 1922. The family were resident in the Pershore district when his brother Richard was born in 1923.
Robert died along with 4 other crew members when their Lancaster I serial W4848 Code PM-L from 103 Squadron took off from RAF Elsham Wolds at 2121 on the evening of 16/04/1943 on Ops to Pilsen and the aircraft crashed at 0038 local time near the site of a German Luftwaffe flak battery near Ludswighafen am Rhein.
The following information is courtesy and copyright of Trinity High School, Redditch and was taken from the Commemorative Memorial Book donated to the school by the RCHS Old Students Association:
Robert Harley attended Redditch County High School from 1933 to 1938. He was reported missing from operations on the 17th April, 1943, – a night when many raids took place and Bob’s squadron of Lancasters had to fly at low altitude. The heaviest losses of the War were suffered that night. In 1947, a report was received of his burial in Germany.
The following information has been researched by Jillian Coombes:
Robert W. Harley was born in 1922 in the Gloucester District and his mother’s maiden name was Lane. His father William C. Harley married Annie Lane in 1918 in the Cirencester District of Gloucestershire. Robert’s brother Richard J. Harley was born in 1923 in the Pershore District of Worcestershire. On Ancestry site Probate records Robert William Harley of 146 Easemore Road, Redditch, died on or since 17th April 1943 on war service.