Flying Officer Harding James Stuart – J 9289 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
Harding James Stuart completed his Attestation Papers for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Special Reserve on April 26 but his medical, Declaration and Oath weren’t certified until October 7, 1940 in North Bay, Ontario. Harding James was 27 years, 7 months and 18 days old when, as a single man, he enlisted for the duration of the War. Harding James was born in Toronto Ontario on February 19, 1913, he did not have previous Military Reserve experience. He attended the Lakefield Public School from 1920 to 1928; the Lakefield Preparatory School from 1928 to 1933 for Middle and Upper matriculation; Shaw’s Business College from 1933 to 1934 to complete an Office Training Course and then Central Technical School in Toronto in 1938 in Diesel Engineering and received a Certificate for Diesel Engineering. Harding James’ previous employer was F. J. Sullivan, General Manager of the Toronto Ontario Lake Caswell Mine Company doing Secretarial duties in 1934 and then worked for the General Manager when at Headquarters in Toronto up to enlisting in 1940. Harding James was 5′ 10½” tall, 37″ chest, weighed 158 pounds and had brown eyes and medium brown hair and he enjoyed reading, hockey, cricket, softball and rugby. Harding James was assessed as having a healthy – rugged and clean appearance; he dressed conservatively, clean and neat. He had a quick, deliberate and accurate intelligence and a confident, mature and pleasant personality. He was recommended for Air Crew Training Pilot. Harding James’ next-of-kin was listed as his mother; Mrs. Grace Monsaratt Stuart (nee Lillicrap) who resided in Lakefield, Ontario; his father, Herbert James Stuart was killed in action in France in 1916.
Included in the references on his Attestation Paper, were: Civil Engineer (retired), E. P. Clarkson of 41 St. Leonards Ave, Toronto; High School Principal, J. F. Harvey of Lakefield and General Manager of the Lake Caswell Mine Company, F. J. Sullivan of 1465 Yonge St., Toronto. On August 7, 1940 Harding James’ medical was initially done in North Bay, Ontario; it indicated that he had Rhonchi in the left chest, a rattling sound in his lungs, which caused him to be given a D category. A subsequent medical exam on October 7, 1940 indicated markedly diminished sound and the category was changed to A. He was then deemed fit for duty with the RCAF. Harding James Stuart signed the Declaration and Oath October 7, 1940 at RCAF Recruiting Centre, North Bay. He was then enrolled as Air Crew in the rank of Aircraftman 2nd Class (AC 2) [Private Recruit equivalent], in the trade of Aircrew (P or O) with Service Number R 69210.
On October 7, 1940 AC 2 Stuart was struck-off-strength from the Recruitment Centre at North Bay, Ontario and taken-on-strength to No 2 Manning Depot (No 2 MD) at Brandon, Manitoba. All training was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (also known as the Joint Air Training Plan [JATP]). His basic training at No 2 MD would include taking orders, drill, exercises for physical fitness, studies and endless series of inoculations. After 3 weeks of training, on October 24, 1940, he was struck-off-strength from No 2 MD and taken-on-strength to RCAF Station Vancouver, Vancouver British Columbia (BC) and authorized to draw rations. October 31, 1940 LAC Stuart ceased to draw rations and on November 1, 1940 was attached to the Station Hospital for rations and occupied Public Quarters. On November 27, 1940 AC 2 Stuart ceased to occupy Public Quarters and draw rations; he was struck-off-strength from Station Vancouver to No 2 Initial Training School (ITS) at Regina, Saskatchewan. On November 28, 1940 AC 2 Stuart was taken-on-strength to No 2 ITS, Regina. December 14, 1940 LAC Stuart was seen at the Station Hospital – no further information given. After about 5 weeks of training with the ITS, on January 2, 1941, AC 2 Stuart was promoted to the rank of Leading Aircraftman (LAC) and then struck-off-strength to No 12 Elementary Flying Training School (No 12 EFTS) at Goderich, Ontario. January 3, 1941, LAC Stuart was taken-on-strength to No 12 EFTS.
February 14, 1940 LAC Stuart was seen at the Station Hospital – no further information given. After 7 weeks of training, on February 24, 1941, LAC Stuart was struck-off-strength from No 12 EFTS to No 1 Auxiliary Manning Depot (AMD) at Picton, Ontario. He was taken-on-strength to No 1 AMD on February 25, 1941; authorized to occupy Public Quarters and draw rations and granted 5 days leave to March 3, 1941. On March 4, 1941 LAC Stuart was struck-off-strength from No 1 AMD, Picton to No 1 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) Camp Borden, Ontario and ceased to occupy Public Quarters and draw rations. Then on April 15, 1941 LAC Stuart, after 5½ weeks of training here, was struck-off-strength from No 1 SFTS Camp Borden to No 1 MD, Toronto. April 16, 1941 LAC Stuart was taken-on-strength to No 1 MD, Toronto; authorized to occupy Public Quarters and draw rations. Almost 4 weeks later, on May 12, 1941, he was struck-off-strength from No 1 MD, Toronto to the Composite School, Trenton, Ontario and ceased to occupy Public Quarters and draw rations.
Apparently LAC Stuart had some difficulties in pursuing the Pilot Training phase and was re-assigned to become an Air Gunner. May 13, 1941 LAC Stuart was taken-on-strength from No 1 MD and taken-on-strength to the Composite School, Trenton, Ontario where he occupied Government Quarters and drew rations. Two weeks later on May 26, 1941 he was struck-off-strength from the Composite School and taken-on-strength to RCAF Station Trenton and the next day, May 27, 1941 LAC Stuart was struck-off-strength from RCAF Station Trenton and taken-on-strength to No 1 Wireless Station, Montréal, Québec. LAC Stuart spent 5 months and 12 days at No 1 Wireless Station, Montréal and qualified as a Wireless Operator, then, on November 8, 1941 he was struck-off-strength to No 6 Bombing and Gunnery School (BGS), Mountain View, Ontario. LAC Stuart was qualified as an Air Gunner and taken-on-strength to No 6 BGS on November 9, 1941. December 6, 1941 LAC Stuart was awarded his Air Gunners Badge.
On December 8, 1941 LAC Stuart was promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant (T/Sgt) with pay, he qualified as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Standard Group and was authorized to wear his Air Gunners Badge. Also on December 8, 1941 T/Sgt Stuart was discharged as an “other rank” and re-enlisted as a Pilot Officer (P/O) with Service Number J 9289. On December 9, 1941, after one month of extensive training, he was struck-off-strength from No 6 BGS to No 1 Y Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia. P/O Stuart was taken-on-strength to No 1 Y Depot December 10, 1941 where he occupied Government Quarters and drew rations. P/O Stuart was granted Pre-Embarkation Leave from December 9 to December 18, 1941 and was entitled to ration allowance and a Travel Warrant issued December 5, 1941. On December 10, 1941 P/O Stuart married Valada Oliver in Lakefield, Ontario. On December 26, 1941 he was authorized to occupy Public Quarters and draw rations. January 6, 1942 P/O Stuart; ceased to occupy Public Quarters and draw rations and was struck-off-strength from No 1 Y Depot, Halifax to the Royal Air Force (RAF) Trainees Pool, UK. He embarked from Halifax January 7, 1942, disembarked the United Kingdom (UK) January 23, 1942. P/O Stuart then proceeded to Int C 208, No 3 Personnel Reception Centre (PRC), England arriving January 24, 1942.
March 18, 1942 P/O Stuart was struck-off-strength from No 3 PRC to No 5 Special Service (SS). From March 19 to April 22, 1942 he successfully completed the No 1 War Course. Then after 1 month and 17 days with No 5 SS he was posted to No 23 Operational Training Unit (OTU), UK on May 5,
1942. June 5, 1942 P/O Stuart was granted 7 days Privileged Leave to June 11, 1942. July 14, 1942 P/O Stuart was granted 9 days Privileged Leave to July 22, 1942. P/O Stuart completed 2 months and 18 days of Operational Training when he was struck-off-strength from No 23 OTU to the 1651 Conversion Unit on July 23, 1942. The same day P/O Stuart was posted to No 419 “Moose” Bomber Squadron RCAF at Mildenhall, Suffolk, England, part of No. 3 Group of Bomber Command, Royal Air Force (RAF). Although there are no notes in his Military File about operational missions over France and Germany, over the next 2 months and 8 days P/O Stuart would have flown on a number of missions in his Wellington aircraft as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. On October 1, 1942 P/O Stuart was promoted to the rank of Temporary Flying Officer (T/F/O). October 2, 1942 T/F/O Stuart’s Crew was reported missing after an Air Operation over Krefeld, Germany. F/O Stuart was presumed dead on October 2, 1942.
The lone survivor of F/O Stuart’s Wellinton was Sgt Norman Nelson who stated that the aircraft was shot down over Holland on October 2, 1942. The crew were ordered to bail out at 2,000 feet. He bailed out first and when taken prisoner the Germans told him that F/O Stuart had been found dead in the crashed plane.
Flying Officer Stuart, Air Gunner was buried at the War Cemetery at Uden, North Brabant, Holland.
F/O Stuart was awarded the following medals:
1939 – 45 Star;
Air Crew Europe Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Bar; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also qualified for the General Service Badge. In 2013 Canada started to issue a “Bomber Command Bar” for qualified Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew members. This Bar may be received by a qualified family member of deceased Air Crew qualifiers by contacting Veteran’s Affairs Canada.
Harding James Stuart served for 1 year and 3 months in Canada and 8 months and 9 days in the United Kingdom plus 16 days en-route to the UK for a total of 2 years.
On May 4, 1943 a Ministerial Card was sent to Harding James’ wife at Mrs. H. J. Stuart, Apt 4, 1542 St. Matthews St., Montréal, Québec. On May 31, 1943 a Royal Message was sent to Harding James’ wife at Mrs. H. J. Stuart, Apt 4, 1542 St. Matthews St., Montréal, Québec. On June 18, 1943 Memorial Crosses were sent to the Chaplin; then on June 22 a Memorial Cross was sent to Harding James’ wife at Mrs. H. J. Stuart, Apt 4, 1542 St. Matthews St., Montréal, Québec. On June 23 a Memorial Cross was sent to Harding James’ mother at Mrs. H. J. Stuart, 29 Lemoine St., Longueuil, Québec.
From the “Thou Shall Grow Not Old — A Book Of Remembrance” – Thanks to F/Sgt Arnold Graham
STUART, HARDING JAMES Flight Officer, Wireless Air Gunner J 9289. From Lakefield, Ontario. Killed in Action October 2, 1942 age 20. # 419 Moose Squadron (Moosa Aswayita). Target – Krefeld, Germany. Wellington aircraft missing during a raid against Krefeld, Germany. Flight Sergeant Hubert Douglas Price, Air Gunner R 79132, Flight Sergeant Helgi Sveinn Sveinson, Pilot R 107046, Flight Officer Arthur Bryan Morlidge, Observer J 9762 and Warrant Officer Class 1 Sidney Vernon Stowe, Pilot R 87673 were killed. One member of the crew, Sergeant N. Nelson was taken Prisoner Of War. Flight Officer Wireless Operator Air Gunner Stuart is buried in the War Cemetery at Uden, North Brabant, Holland.
The Crew from 419 Goose Squadron Aircraft – Wellington:
Flight Sergeant Helgi Sveinn Sveinson, R 107046 Pilot F/Sgt
Sidney Vernon Stowe, Pilot R 87673 Pilot WO 1
Arthur Bryan Morlidge, J 9762 OBS F/O
Sergeant Norman Nelson, R 79214 A/B Sgt taken Prisoner Of War #27201
Hubert Douglas Price, R 79132 A/G F/Sgt
Harding James Stuart, J 9289 A/G F/O
Note: Trade designations may not be correct due to lack of information.
Harding James Stuart had Life insurance with the Prudential Life Insurance Company and the Excelsior Life Insurance Company and had arranged for Insurance Premiums to be paid.
An excerpt from an article in McLean’s magazine by Barbara Amiel, September 1996
The military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to
die for your nation. What could be more honorable?
HARDING JAMES STUART
Harding James Stuart was born February 19, 1913 in Toronto Ontario to Herbert James Stuart, & Grace Monsaratt Lillicrap.
Herbert James Stuart of the Royal Canadian Regiment was killed in action in France on October 3, 1916
Harding James Stuart lived in Lakefield, probably after his father’s demise and attended school there. He attended the Lakefield Public School from 1920 to 1928; the Lakefield Preparatory School from 1928 to 1933 for Middle and upper matriculation; Shaw’s Business College from 1933 to 1934 to complete an Office Training Course and then Central Technical School in Toronto in 1938 in Diesel Engineering and received a Certificate for Diesel Engineering. He had an interest in reading, hockey, cricket, softball and rugby. Harding James married Valada Oliver December 10, 1941 in Lakefield, Ontario
THE HARDING JAMES STUART FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
Harding James Stuart’s grandparents are Robert James Stuart & Hattie Beatrice Cummings of Norwood Ontario. Robert & Hattie had 7 children: Herbert James, married grace Monsarratt Cummings; Lillie; Hattie; Lileon Joyce, married Gilbert Francis Cardell; Aervine J., Robert Charles Victor, married Elsie Christine Chubb and Violet Victoria Elizabeth, married William Andrew McKay.
Harding James’ father, Herbert James Stuart, born October 20, 1882 in Norwood Ontario, married Grace Monsaratt Lillicrap, born in Bradford Ontario about 1914. Grace M. Lillicrap was living in Lakefield in 1940 and she received a pension from her husband’s service. Harding James’ father, Lieutenant Herbert James Stuart of the Royal Canadian Regiment was killed in action in France on October 3, 1916. He is interred in the Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt France.