Return to List of Names


Brian HarbenFlying Officer Brian Harben was born on the 17th of December, 1926. At the outbreak of the Second World War he and his sister, Jill, went to stay with relatives in Canada. 

"We came back to England in 1945 at the end of the war. Brian went to Cranwell in 1946 then spent a year at St Andrew's University. He then went back to Cranwell until 1949. The photo was taken just after doing a cross-country exercise in a Harvard aeroplane. He left Cranwell in 1949/1950. He then flew out to Kuala Lumpur in a Brigand, which was not suitable for the tropics.

His Commanding Officer wanted to ground all the Brigands. Brian and his navigator were the last pair to be killed. Then, the plane was grounded.

There is a plaque in Malacca and Brian's name is on this, as there was no grave"

These are the words of his sister, Jill D'Arcy Clark, recalling her young brother's death nearly sixty years ago. Never were the words "Age shall not weary them" more apt, when we look at the happy young face of Brian Harben, having just completed a cross-country exercise in a Harvard on July 23rd 1948.

Flying Officer Brian Harben was killed two years later, on the sixth of July, 1950, during a sortie over the Malayan jungle over Kelantan The dive brake bellows of the Brigand plane operated the movement of the wings in dive-bombing the enemy in the dense jungle below. They were rendered ineffective in the heat and humidity of the tropics. The planes went out of control, and many young airmen lost their lives.