10/11th May 1940 17 OTU Blenheim IV L4889 P/O. McFarland
Date: 10/11th May 1940 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 17 Operational Training Unit. 6 Group
Type: Blenheim IV
Base: RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire (Formerly Huntingdonshire)
Location: Green Dyke, near Upwood
Pilot: P/O. Grenville James McFarland 42413 RAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off on a solo night circuits and landings exercise his first at night.
During approach to the airfield at 22:40 hrs after 3 hours of practice suddenly dived in from 1000 ft into the ground at Green Dyke, near Upwood.
P/O. Grenville James McFarland. Bury Cemetery. Row A. Grave 21. Born on the 25th December 1915 at Auckland. A student of Nelson College when he was head prefect. A member of the RNZAF Civil Reserve as a pilot at the Marlborough Aero Club. Obtained his 'A' licence on the 14th March 1938. Logged 40 hors flying time prior to RAF. Selected for RAF short service commission and embarked for England on the 06th May 1939 arriving on the 08th June 1939. Attached to No. 9 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School at RAF Ansty for further pilot training. Awarded his pilot badge on the 19th August 1939. Joined 17 Operational Training Unit on the 08th April for conversion training on the Blenheim. Son of James Andrew McFarland, and of Clarice Karina McFarland (nee Clayton, later Gilbert), of Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand. A total of 127 solo flying hours logged.
There are 3 other New Zealand aircrew all from the same unit buried in this cemetery:
12 August 1941: 24 year old, P/O. Ronald Peter Bell NZ/402841 Blenheim IV L1245 flown by 21 year old, P/O. Walter Edgar Anthony Wand 84312 RAF, 25 year old, Sgt. Evan Aneurin Davies 1375288 shot down by Hptm. Rolf Bussmann flying a Ju88. Further details here. (Shown right)
28 August 1940: 20 year old, P/O. Henry Michael Hoadley NZ/39919 flying Blenheim IV L9262 Solo. crashed shortly after take off 21:45 hrs. (33 killed from 17 OTU in 1940 with 26 aircraft destroyed) (
14 December 1940: 27 year old, Sgt. Alfred James Victor Secker NZ/40743 Blenheim IV L4835 flown by 19 year old, Sgt. Ian Munro Curror with 20 year old, Sgt. John Pinchard as W/Op/Air/Gnr. All 3 crew killed when in poor visibility crashed into the side of Titterstone Clee Hill. (41 killed from 17 OTU IN 1941 with 41 aircraft destroyed)
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below: