Harry Franklin Black Jnr

B: 29th July, 1912, Webbville, Lawrence County, Kentucky, USA

Harry was a technical representative of the Allison Engineering Division, General Motors, Indianapolis.  He was one of a team of US expert advisors sent to Australia in the later stages of WW2 to support the Pacific Region Allied forces based in Australia.  As such, he was considered as “employed by and subject to the military law of the U.S. War Department.” (Reports of the Deaths of American Citizens, compiled 01/1835-12/1974. Publication A1 5166. NAI: 613857. Record Group 59. National Archives at College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.)

With the outbreak of hostilities, in October 1940, Harry registered for the draft when, at the time, he was employed by the Appalachian Electric Light Co., and apparently single as he gave his father as next of kin.  Further investigation reveals that, according to the US Census of April 1940, he was in fact married to Virginia.  His role at the power company was given as an accountant.

On loan to the R.A.A.F., it is not clear when Harry began working for the Allison Engineering Company but, as one report claims, he was busy in the region:

Representative of the Allison Engine Co., Mr H. F. Black was an American, citizen on loan to the RAAF. He was on his way to join an Air Force station at Mildura. He recently returned from a tour of the South- West Pacific area.
Whilst in Melbourne, Harry’s work companion and co-resident at the Hotel Alexander, was James Alterator, an Australian engineer who also worked for General Motors.  James had travelled to the US in 1943 to undergo Aircraft Engine investigation training. He was tasked with the post mortem identification of his colleague.


As Harry was a US citizen and subject to US Military law, his remains were interred in a US Military Grave site at Springvale Botanical Cemetery.  After the conclusion of hostilities, his remains were repatriated to Kentucky and re-interred in Grayson Memorial Cemetery. Also returned to his wife was an engraved watch which had been recovered and handed to authorities some months after the crash.

Image sourced from: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/188229123


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