A great friend of the Juno Beach Centre has just left us… It was with sadness that we learned of the passing of Royal Canadian Air Force veteran Harry Hardy. The Juno Beach Centre sends its sincere condolences to his children, family and friends.
Blue skies to you, Harry, we will miss you!
Read on to learn more about Harry’s incredible story.
Laden with two 500-pound bombs and adorned with black and white invasion stripes, a model of Harry Hardy’s Hawker Typhoon IB “Pulverizer II” hangs proudly in the “Road to Victory” room at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France. There is a certain fierceness in its profile, especially looking up into the four-bladed propeller, four 20 mm cannons, and the large under-fuselage chin radiator scoop. This Typhoon is a scale model, but you can begin to understand the fear the “Tiffy” squadrons inspired amongst German troops in Normandy and Northwest Europe.
Flight Lieutenant Harry Hardy, DFC was one of six Typhoon pilots who visited the Juno Beach Centre before the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 2014. On a previous visit (2008) he was gracious enough to donate his prized Typhoon model for permanent display.
Battle of Normandy veteran Harry Hardy enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, completed pilot training, and was assigned to 163 Squadron RCAF in Vancouver, BC flying Hawker Hurricanes. Harry’s first close encounter with death came while flying a Kittyhawk, which he considers a “touchy” aircraft. For good reason! Harry went overseas in 1944 and joined 440 Squadron RCAF in Normandy on 10 August 1944, flying Hawker Typhoons in close support bombing missions for the army. His first missions occurred during the Battle of the Falaise Pocket. Harry’s war also took him to the Battle of the Bulge, where he had another close encounter with death. At 97 years old, Harry has worked in recent years to raise awareness of the Typhoon — giving his beloved plane its due.
Harry James Henry Hardy passed away on May 21st 2020. He leaves behind an impressive legacy. As Anne Gafiuk notes in her article from our From Juno to Victory blog post series, Harry worked at the end of his life to raise awareness of the Typhoon, the pilots who flew them, and the ground crews who supported them.
In addition to our Legacy of Honour video above, Harry was featured in two episodes of our Juno Beach and Beyond podcast: The Typhoon Project and Tiffy Boys. The latter episode features interviews with three Typhoon pilots who flew during the Battle of Normandy with 440 Squadron RCAF. We conducted the interviews in early 2019. Sadly, all three of these veterans — Walter Ward, Doug Gordon and, now, Harry Hardy — have passed away.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.