Hartley, Robert

Date of birth:
1923 (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flight Sergeant
Unit:
No. 9 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
October 24th, 1944
Action:
"Flight Sergeant Hartley completed a tour of 29 sorties, principally on the most distant and heavily defended German targets, including Berlin (5 times), Stuttgart (3 times), Schweinfurt (2 times), Augsburg, Nurnberg and Munich. On two occasions his aircraft was attacked by an enemy fighter. On the second occasion, when on a sortie to Stuttgart on 20 February, the enemy fighter made a diving attack on the port quarter. By Flight Sergeant Hartley’s good co-ordination with the pilot’s manoeuvres and accurate fire, the enemy aircraft was forced to break away.

After completing his first five operational sorties, this Air Gunner had to be withdrawn from flying with a perforation of the right ear drum. Although grounded for two months, he was undaunted and eagerly resumed his tour to complete a further 24 sorties in three months.

It did not come to light until he had completed his tour that he must have carried out all his operational sorties suffering constant pain, the result of a duodenal perforation sutured after an operation for the removal of his appendix prior to entering the Service. This has been confirmed after his tour by his entry to hospital where he has now been for two months. On no occasion did Flight Sergeant Hartley refer to his physical handicap, not even when admitted to hospital on the interruption of his tour - his one thought was to return to operations.

The degree of dogged courage required to withstand some of the longest sorties which Bomber Command has been called upon to execute - he completed six operations of over eight hours duration - in such conditions of pain may well be unsurpassed.

For fighting determination to strike the enemy, despite his physical handicap, continued cheerfulness, courage, selflessness and devotion to duty of the highest order, his tour of operations represents a sustained heroism for which I strongly recommend him for the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal."
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM)

Sources