Driver Leonard S Harper

19 Sep 1944

Leonard Sidney Harper enlisted into The Royal Army Service Corps and volunteered for airborne forces.

Driver Harper was posted to 63 (Airborne) Composite Company, RASC, and took part in Operation Market Garden (Arnhem).

Dvr Harper was one of four Despatchers on Dakota KG-374, of 271 Squadron RAF based at Down Ampney. The aircraft was on a mission to drop supplies from a height of 900 feet when it was hit by Flak, severely damaged and set on fire, despite this the pilot and crew continued the mission and successfully dropped their containers before crashing in flames at Reijerskamp, north of Wolfheze. Dvr Harper died on 19 September 1944, aged 29. Only one of the eight crew members survived, the casualties being given field burials beside the aircraft. The pilot, F/Lt David Lord was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. All of the casualties were re-interred to Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery on 22 August 1945.

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By Rod Gibson

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