No. 567646, Royal Air Force
Killed in an aircraft accident on Thursday 29 March 1945 (aged 26)
Peterborough (Eastfield) Cemetery, Northamptonshire (Division 4 Block 16 Consecrated Grave 6370)
Corporal John Hardy’s death was reported in the 14 April 1945 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Former Ards Footballer Killed. It was reported that John Hardy had died in a flying accident in England and that, when he was stationed in Newtownards, he had played some ‘sterling games’ for Ards Football Club. For some time before his death John Hardy had been playing for a club in Oxfordshire and he was about to have a trial with Clapton Orient (now Leyton Orient).
John Hardy was born in Yorkshire and, during the Second World War, he served with the Royal Air Force. He was a passenger aboard an Operational and Refresher Training Unit (ORTU) Short Stirling Mark IV aircraft (PW391) which was returning to base when it crashed at 2.55 pm at Knarr Cross Farm, Thorney Toll, Peterborough after a mid-air collision with a solo-trainer Miles Master Mark II aircraft piloted by Corporal Robert L. de Bienkewicz of the Free French Air Force.
Corporal de Bienkewicz and all seven aboard the Stirling were killed. In addition to John Hardy the other six Stirling crew members who died were:
- Warrant Officer Frederick Charles Aldersley (aged 23)
- Flight Lieutenant Walter John Howes (aged 22) from Lampeter, Cardiganshire
- Flying Officer Kenneth Rhodes Inger (aged 21) from Wallasey, Cheshire
- Flight Sergeant Robert Henry McAlpine (aged 37)
- Flight Sergeant Frederick William Rees (aged 33) from Weymouth, Dorset
- Sergeant Kenneth Slee (aged 19) from Harrowgate, Yorkshire
Corporal John Hardy was 26 when he died on 29 March 1945, his death was registered in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire and he was buried in Peterborough (Eastfield) Cemetery, Northamptonshire.