A YEADON war hero who received the distinguished flying medal for bravery for his raids on Germany in the Second World War is to be memorialised for the first time on a new Wall of Honour’
Harry Mills survived 58 missions as a Lancaster Bomber rear gunner – including his part in the lead plane in the 1000 bomber raid on Bremen – despite rear gunners having the highest mortality rate of any branch of the Armed Forces during the war, with the average man completing just five.
Following his death in 2011 at the age of 91, Mr Mills’s ashes were scattered in the Wharfe Valley, and there has been no permanent memorial or headstone recognising his achievements. But that will now change, as he will be commemorated through Royal British Legion Industries’ Wall of Honour campaign – a project offering members of the public the opportunity to have their name, or the name of a loved one, engraved onto a plaque in the charity’s memorial garden in Aylesford, Kent.
Mr Mills’ sons Mike, who himself served for 25 years in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and his brother Russel Mills – a renowned artist within the music scene having created album cover art for musicians including Peter Gabriel and David Sylvia, are supporting the charity’s efforts to honour war heroes in the memorial, which will be officially opened on Armistice Day.
Mike, 71, said: “Dad’s contribution to the war effort was enormous. His ashes were scattered at Almscliffe Crag in the Wharfe Valley where he used to play as a child but because we didn’t have any permanent memorial for him – no headstone or anything – when RBLI’s Wall of Honour came up, I thought ‘what a great place to celebrate my dad.’ I just hope that RBLI raises an awful lot of money, fills the Wall of Honour with names and, on the day, we have some sunshine. I think it’s going to be very emotional – I will feel very honoured to have him up there.”