09.04.1943 No 489 Squadron Hampden TB.I AT258 XA-T F/O. Latta
Date: 09th April 1943 (Friday)
Unit: No. 489 Squadron (18 Group - Coastal Command)
Motto: Whakatanagata kia kaha - 'Acquit yourselves like men, be strong'.
Type: Hampden TB.I
Base: RAF Wick, Caithness, Scotland
Location: North Sea
Pilot: F/O. Selwyn Latta NZ/41339 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed
Nav: F/O. Sydney Herbert Walpole 120137 RAFVR Age 30. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John McAllister 1052442 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Wallace John Douglas NZ/403618 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 14:45 hrs with five others from the Squadron - two failed to return. (2)
Some 250 km north of Bergen they found a convoy of three vessels which they then proceeded to attack. Fierce anti-aircraft fire was encountered along with defending fighters escorting the ships. AT258 dropped a torpedo which struck one of the ship. It was then seen to climb steeply away before crashing into the sea, exploding on impact. None of the crews bodies were knowingly recovered.
(1) Fl/Sgt. Wallace John Douglas was of Maori descent and enlisted with his brother W/O. Adrian Vincent Douglas 403617 RNZAF - both enlisted at the same time. Sadly he also was listed as killed later the same year on the 06th September 1943 whilst serving with 149 Squadron. For further details of his loss read archive report.
(2) The other, Hampden P1189 Flown by FO. Denis Walton Wheeler 121416 RAFVR was listed as missing along with two other crew, one of the crew bodies was later recovered and buried at Stavne Cemetery, Trondheim, Norway.
F/O. Selwyn Latta. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 197. Born on the 20th December 1916 at Greymouth, the son of Robert Sanderson & Annie Florence Latta (née Napper), Devonport, New Zealand. Completed 19 operational sorties with a total of 489 flying hours logged. Worked as a photographer with Crago Photography, New Plymouth prior to enlistment.
F/O. Sydney Herbert Walpole. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 130. Son of Sidney Robert and Florence Miriam Walpole, of Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire, England. (B.A - Manchester University) Also commemorated on the Eccles Grammar School Memorial.
Sgt. John McAllister. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 157. Born on the 17th July 1921 of Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland. An apprentice architect prior to enlistment.
Fl/Sgt. Wallace John Douglas. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 04th August 1921 at Rotorua, the son of Edward and Marguerite Douglas (née McPherson), Ohinemutu, Rotorua, New Zealand. Completed 15 operational sorties with a total of 343 flying hours logged. Worked as a compositor for the Rotorua Morning Post prior to enlistment.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand for bringing this loss to our attention, the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand for details, David McNay of the Scottish Military Research Group for details on Sgt. McAllister. Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: