RAAF Service Number: 407672
RAAF Trade: Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 10th of December 1940
Rank Achieved: Flying Officer
Operational Sorties: Nil
Date of Birth: 13th of November 1918, at Inglewood
Personal Details: John ws the son of the Reverend Edgar Lionel Harvie, known as Lionel, and Mrs Charlotte Roberta Harvie. The family moved to Cambidge in May 1927 from Epsom, when John's father left St Andrew's Church in Epsom to take up the position of Vicar at St Andrew;s Anglican Church.
John spent more than two years attending Cambridge Primary School. When his father was offered the position as rector to St Bartholomew's Church in Adelaide the family emigrated to Australia, leaving Cambridge on the 26th of November 1929. John then continued his education at St Peter's College in Adelaide. He also had three sisters, Frances Roberta Harvie, Dorothy Margaret Harvie and Mary Kingsnorth Harvie.
Before joining the Royal Australian Air Force, John was on the staff of the National Bank of Australia. He was single at the time of his death.
Service Details: John enlisted at No. 5 Recruiting Centre, Adelaide, on 10th of December 1940. On being attested for RAAF servive he went immediately from the recruiting centre to No. 5 Initial Training School, at RAAF Pearce, in Westerm Australia, and began his basic training there on the 12th of December 1940.
He was reclassified as a Leading Aircraftman on the 1st of February 1941, and on 6th of February he was posted to No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School at RAAF Cunderdin in Western Australia. Here he learned the basics of flying in de Havilland DH82a Tiger Moths. He completed this course on the 3rd of April 1941.
From there John joined No. 9 Aircrew (P) Course, at No. 4 Service Flying Training School at Geraldton, W.A. This advanced flying course saw him flying twin-engined Avro Ansons, from 7th of April through till the 25th of July 1941. During this course John was awarded his Flying Badge on the 29th of May 1941.
Upon completing his flying training course John was commissioned in the General Duties Branch as a Pilot Officer on the 29th of July 1941.
it's likely that he had some Final Leave at home during August, and then he was attached to the Royal Air Force and embarked overseas from Sydney on the 1st of September 1941.
He disembarked in Egypt 25th of September 1941 and joined the Middle East Pilot Pool (MEPP), to acclimatise to the new country and await a further posting. This came a few weeks afterwards when he departed from the MEPP on the 24th of October 1941, boarded another ship, and arrived and disembarked at Mombasa in Kenya on the 7th of November 1941.
John then travelled inland to to Nairobi by rail on the 8th of November 1941, then took another train the same day to the RAF station where he joined the Kenya Pool.
A few days later John was posted to No. 70 Operational Training Unit on the12th of November 1941. This was based at Nakuru in Kenya, and there he was flying Martin Baltimore twin-engined bombers. He will have firmed a crew here and they would have been preparing for operational service.
On the 24th of January 1942 John seems to have been posted to Almaza, which was known to the military as RAF Heliopolis, in Egypt. He was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on the 29th of January 1942
John then left Almaza on being posted to Air Headquarters on the 18th of February 1942, but was further posted from AHQWD to No. 14 Squadron RAF, which at that time was flying Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV's in Egypt.
It seems however he did not make it to the squadron. he set off on the 2nd of February 1942, but was killed in an air accident en route or perhaps just after arrival on the 4th of March 1942.
Details of Death: On the 4th of March 1942, John took off from Qasaba as pilot without any crew onboard in Bristol Blenheim IV (Z7893/U) to undertake a ferry flight to deliver the aircraft to No. 14 Squadron RAF (which he'd just joined), at the Egyptian desert base known as LG116. He arrived at the destination at 12.30hrs and turned steeply to approach the strip when the port wing tip of the aircraft struck the Officer's Mess tent which was on the perimeter of the airfield. This put the aircraft into a steeper turn and it crashed and burst into flames. John was kiilled in the impact,aged 23 years
Buried at Plot A IV.F.15., El Alamein WarCemetery, Egypt
Connection with Cambridge: John had lived in Cambridge for at least two years before moving to Australia with his parents. Also John's mother Charlotte's sister, Mrs H.E. Russell, lived in Pukeroro, Cambridge, at the time of his death.