This is the war diary of my Grandfather, Gilbert Henry Harnden. Until recently I knew very little about his war time exploits, but in December 2010 a fascinating program called DIG1940 was aired on BBC1. This was at about the same time I had started to read his war time diary and to my surprise the program was about a pilot called Willie Rhodes-Moorhouse, the exact same person my Grandfather was talking about on the page I was reading.

Here is a short clip of DIG1940:

It transpires my Grandfather was a member of 601 Squadron, a squadron consisting of the very well-heeled, not just aristocrats but also sportsmen, adventurers and self-made men. Whilst my Grandfather was unfortunately none of these, it appears he served alongside some of the most famous RAF pilots of his generation and his diary details some fascinating historical moments.

During the war Gilbert was fortunate enough to have his efforts recognised and was awarded the British Empire Medal. This award was made by the King himself at a simple investiture at Duxford on 16th January 1940, which can be seen here at the end of this British Pathe newsreel.


With this site I intend to publish his diary and his photos, which I hope will be helpful to those interested in 601 Squadron, and perhaps learn a little more about the bravery of those who served in World War II.

Posted in General | 3 Comments