Aircraftsman 2nd Class Harry Redford Royal Air Force
1914-18 British War Medal. Victory Medal, Defence Medal. War Medal 1939-45.
The Man Harry Redford was born on 20th July 1889 in The Parish of Whitefield, Manchester, son of George and Edith. George's occupation was interestingly described as working in the cotton industry as a Calico Makeup, Bleach Worker. Harry was one of six children, Minnie born in 1888, George 1894, Clifford, 1901, Frank 1907 and another sibling who sadly died young. In 1891 the family were living at 34 Lily Hill Street, Pilkington, Whitefield and by the time of the 1911 census 20 years later the family had moved a few doors away to 58 Lily Hill Street and Harry now aged 21 was described as a Mechanic within the Iron Industry. On 7th September 1914 aged 25 Harry enlisted for the duration of the war into the Manchester Regiment as a Private, service number P11656, his trade being given as a General Fitter. His service within the Manchester Regiment is unknown, although it seems he served at home. On 20th September 1917 Harry transferred into the Royal Flying Corps at the rank of Air Mechanic, on a rate of pay of 2/- and with a new service number of 99500. He was described as 5'.7" tall with dark brown hair and brown eyes, dark complexion and a chest of 31". On 18th October 1917 Harry was posted to the Western Front in France, and on 1st April 1918 transferred into the newly formed Royal Air Force as Airman 2nd class. On 1st June he was promoted to Airman 1st Class, and again to Leading Aircraftsman, before returning to the UK on 16th February 1919. Following the end of the war he was transferred to the RAF reserve on 21st March 1919 and between October and December the same year married Evalyn Isherwood in Bury. He was deemed discharged from the RAF on 30th April 1920 when his character was described as very good and his degree of proficiency satisfactory. He was awarded the 1914-18 British War and Victory Medals. Between the wars Harry's civilian occupation was a Maintenance Mechanic and on 19th August 1939 aged 50, with World War II approaching, he enlisted into the Class E RAF Reserves for a period of four years at RAF Ternhill. His medical category was given as AI. Harry was likely to have served at home during the War and was entitled to the Defence and British War Medal 1939-45. In later life Harry and Evalyn lived at Eastdale, Woodlands Avenue, Whitefield in Lancashire. Harry was taken ill and sadly died in the back of an ambulance on his way to Bury Infirmary on 5th September 1947 aged 58.
This group of medals is one I have only been able to find a small amout of detail on. They are in effect 'work in progress' as one day something additional may well be uncovered. Please feel free to contact me should you know of, or have any information on this man.
The Story The First World War pair of medals awarded to Harry Redford were given to me in January 1989 by Joan McCartney, a friend from the Royal Air Forces Association, in memory of her husband Jim, who had recently died, and had been sent him by a friend, Reverend W A (Bill) Seville in August 1988. As research was more difficult at the time, and RAF records not being available on Ancestry.UK, the medals sat within the collection for 24 years with nothing being done. In preparation for a visit to the National Archives in London on 18th May 2013, and specifically towards another group, Redford's medals were called to mind and added to the list of RAF people to check. Having been in the collection for all that time with no idea of detail, his first name, Harry, was revealed within a few minutes of arrival at TNA, followed, about an hour later, by his RAF records. The records provided sufficient information for ancestry.uk to be checked, revealing various extra detail and with the extraction of his will allowed a brief biography to be produced. Having been forgotten for the best part of 60 years Harry's biography is now recorded for posterity.
As Harry had enlisted back into the RAF for service duing World War II aged 50. It was likely he would have served at home and been entitled to the Defence & War Medal 1939-45, alhough having died in 1947, never claimed them. The full group was therefore made up to reflect his full entitlement. Sadly Joan died just a few days after this research was completed in May 2013 and therefore was never aware of the additional information.
- 1914-18 British War Medal: 99500. 2.A.M. H.REDFORD. R.A.F.
- Victory Medal: 99500 . 2.A.M. H.REDFORD. R.A.F.
- Defence Medal: Unnamed as awarded.
- War Medal 1939-45: Unnamed as awarded.
This page last updated 5 Jun 14