Bio / Text:
From the National Archives AIR/27/2072
5th November 1944
Information was received that the position at which Capt. R.R. HART (South African) SA205792V SAAF/GD, had crashed on 7th October 1944, was now in our hands. As a result of this, one of the Squadron Officers set out to locate and identify the crash. Having reached the area – MONTELBONE VILLAGE (R) 610965 – enquiries were made of an Italian farmer, who remembered the incident, explaining that some aircraft had been bombing and strafing MONTELBANE and that one had crashed into a nearby hillside, the pilot having been killed. He then indicated the position about half a mile away.
The crashed aircraft was found on a steep hillside in a vineyard. The farmer and a peasant woman were both questioned independently and both told the same story – the aircraft had flown in a shallow dive, turned on its back an hit the hillside upside down, The aircraft had exploded and disintegrated from the force of the impact and the wreckage had rolled down the hillside for a distance of about 100 feet. This man and woman related how the Germans had taken no interest in the crash and that they (the Italians) had collected the remains of the pilots body and had buried them alongside the plane, erecting a cross over the grave. The wreckage was searched for positive identification and as well as the Squadron Emblem being found on one piece of the wreckage, the aircraft number P.L. 345 – was also found on another piece. The Officer searching the area felt without any doubt that this was the crash of CAPT HART and the cross was marked accordingly. The crash and grave is located at M.R. R.60449820 – Map SOGLIANO AL RUBICONE, Sheet 100 IISW, Italy 1:25,000. CAPT R.R. HART was therefore reported as KILLED on 7th OCTOBER 1944.