Yesterday’s edition of the Times listed numerous flying honours being conferred by the King. From this we have learnt that the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) has been awarded to Lieut. Donald Hardman (RAF).
Donald joined 19th Squadron at Baillieu, flying a Sopwith Dolphin, just in time for the German Spring Offensive of last year. In the final eight months of the war, Donald shot down nine enemy aircraft, which makes him the second OPS flying ‘ace’ – the other being Capt. Jim MacLean (RAF).
Two of Donald’s total were achieved on the flight for which he was cited for the DFC:
“A bold and courageous officer who has shown most praiseworthy devotion to duty, both in the March retreat and during the more recent operations. On 30th October, while escorting a bombing raid, he, with his flight, encountered some 40 enemy machines. In the combat that ensued he shot down two, and it was mainly due to his cool judgment and skill in leading that the flight inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy, destroying five machines and driving down another out of control. In all, this officer has seven hostile aircraft to his credit – destroyed or driven down out of control.”
Donald left the OPS in 1913 to attend Malvern College, at which he spent only three years before leaving to join the Artists’ Rifles in 1916. He transferred to the RFC in early 1917, but his young age prevented him being posted to France until the following year.
At the time of the Armistice, Donald was taken ill with flying sickness and was admitted into hospital in Boulogne before being transferred to a London hospital to complete his recovery.
We hope to see him back at the School before too long, fit and well.