FREDERICK FRANCIS HARPER

Born: 31st May 1913, Calcutta, India.

Died: 13th January 1941; age: 27; killed when aircraft collided mid-air.

Residence: 1, Fleur-de-Lis Court, Carter Lane, St. Paul’s, London, E.C.4.

Occupation: Author.

 

Rank: Pilot Officer; Service Number: 86727.

Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 46, Squadron.

 

Grave Reference:

X.H.431.

Ipswich Old Cemetery,

Ipswich.

 

Father: Frederick Charles Harper, born 31st December 1875, Calcutta, Bengal, India. A Merchant.

Mother: Gwendolyn Louise Edith Maud Harper (nee Campbell), born 1892.

For many generations the Harper family had been a prominent Anglo-Indian merchant family in Calcutta.

 

On the 16th July 1920, 7 year old Frederick, his mother and father – a Merchant, and 4 year old brother William arrived at the Port of London. The Harper family had sailed 1st Class from Calcutta, on board the S.S. ‘City of Manchester’ of the Ellerman City Lines. Master D.M. Bremnel.

On the 9th September 1921, 8 year old Frederick, his mother and father – a Merchant, and 5 year old brother William departed on board S.S.’City of Cairo’ of the Ellerman Lines Ltd., from the Port of Liverpool. They sailed 1st Class and were contacted to land at Calcutta. The Harper family had stayed at ‘Cedars’ Wells Road, Bath, Somerset.

 

Frederick and William attended St. Joseph’s School, North Point, Darjeeling, India; followed by a school at Windsor, England.

 

ENGLAND & WALES REGISTER 1939

Frederick was an Author. He was living at Green Park Hotel, 29 – 41, Half Moon Street, City of Westminster, London.

 

Probate to Ian Ross McBean, a civil servant.

 

13th January 1941

Aircraft: Hawker Hurricane; Serial number: P3062; based at Digby, Lincolnshire. Frederick’s aircraft collided mid-air with Hawker Hurricane V6816 during a cine-gun air-to-air combat practice, almost overhead Barkston Heath airfield. Both aircraft crashed killing the respective pilots. Frederick’s aircraft came down at Lod/Lodge Farm, Ancaster, Lincolnshire. Kenneth Markham’s aircraft fell at Belton Park, Grantham.

V6816 Pilot: Kenneth Edgecombe Markham; Sergeant/Pilot; age 24; R.A.F.V.R.

 

Aircraft information courtesy of John Allan.

 

Frederick’s brother, The Honourable William John Harper, was born July 1916, Calcutta, India. In July 1937, he joined the R.A.F. and saw action during the Battle of Britain. In August 1940 William was shot down, and crash in a field near Felixstowe, Suffolk. He recovered from his wounds and continued his service in the R.A.F. until his retirement in April 1949 with the rank of Wing Commander. William emigrated to Southern Rhodesia with his wife Elizabeth and their children. They settled in Gatooma, Mashonaland West Province where William had businesses in mining, farming and as an earth-moving contractor. William held strong conservative views and entered politics. He was a member of the Dominion Party from May 1958 – 1962, and then a member of the Rhodesian Front from 1962 – 1968. He signed the country’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1965. William believed in white supremacy and a socio-economic system. In 1979, when majority rule began in Zimbabwe Rhodesia, William left the country and moved to South Africa. He died aged 90, Cape Town, South Africa.

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