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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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RAF Crest
28.08.1941 Fighter Defence Hurricane I Z4485 F/O. Pettit

Operation: Test flight

Date: 28th August 1941 (Thursday)

Unit: RAF Delivery Flight

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: Z4485

Code: Not issued

Base: RAF Takoradi, Ghana

Location: Lagos Lagoon, Lagos

Pilot: F/O. Noel Carroll Pettit 36273 RAF Age 20. Killed


With the great research carried out by Errol Martyn on the Royal New Zealand Airforce losses we have been able to compile this page. If you have further information and or photographs we would welcome contact from you.

Not many details on this loss but placed in order that others could perhaps contribute further information.

It seems that he may have been on a pre-delivery test flight when flying low over Lagos Lagoon at 11:25 hrs struck and crashed into the water.

Above Course No. 9 Pilot training course New Zealand. Tragically all seven pilots were to lose their lives, 5 of them within months of this photo being taken! Rear L-R: P/O. Eric Orgias 36272 RAAF - killed 25th September 1940, P/O. William David Finlayson 36268 RAF - killed 24th May 1940, P/O. Herbert Gregory Ballantyne 36265 RAF - killed 14th August 1940, Front: P/O. Peter Knox Sigley 36276 RAF - killed 24th May 1940, Sq/Ldr. Peter Bettley Robinson 36274 RAF - killed 10th September 1942, F/O. Noel Carrol Pettit 36273 RAF - killed 28th August 1941, P/O. William Oscar George Krogh NZ/2521 RNZAF - killed 22nd July 1940.

Acting pilot officers who have completed training in the ninth course at Wigram Training School passed out on Saturday. Standing, from the left, P/O. Herbert Gregory Ballantyne 36265 RAF - killed 14th August 1940, P/O. Allan Bridson 36267 RAF killed 14th March 1941, P/O Clive King Saxelby, J.L. Bicker-Uke, P/O. Charles William Miller 36270 RAF - killed 11th July 1942, P/O. Eric Orgias 36272 RAF killed 25th September 1940. Seated, P/O. William Henry Hodgson 36269 RAF - killed 13th March 1941, F/O. Noel Carroll Pettit 36273 RAF - killed 28th August 1941, P/O. Peter Knox Sigley 36276 RAF - killed 24th May 1940, P/O. William Oscar George Krogh NZ/2521 RNZAF - killed 22nd July 1940, H.O Newman, G.N. Fitzwater, Sq/Ldr. Peter Bettley Robinson 36274 RAF - killed 11th September 1942. Acting P/O. Allan Bridson and P/O. Krogh are remaining for service with the RNZAF in the Dominion.

Burial details:

F/O. Noel Carroll Pettit. Ikoyi No.2 Cemetery, Lagos. Grave 361. Born in 1921, the son of Mr. Percy Arthur (former WW1 L/Cpl 11/2193) and Queenie Eleanor (née White) Pettit of Gisborne, New Zealand Queenie murdered in 1927 - see notes below. His mother was a niece of James Carroll (hence Noel’s second name). His step-mother was Hine Sybil née Harding who married Percy Pettit in 1929. A total of 315 flying hours logged.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Lorraine Williams from New Zealand for her detailed research and sent to Aircrew Remembered December 2017, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, the Paper Past Archive, other sources as quoted below:

From 'The Truth' Newspaper 07th April 1927:

'As a wedding party celebrated inside a Gisborne bungalow on an autumn night, a jealous sheep farmer nursing rejection aimed his rifle through a window at the woman he thought was the bride. But when he pulled the trigger, a bullet smashed through the dining room window and hit, not the bride, but mother-of-three and wedding guest Queenie Eleanor Pettit, 35.'

'Pettit looked similar to the bride, Noelina Victoria "Winnie" Oman, who was in another part of the dining room and out of view to the gunman, George Edward Nowell. Pettit was the niece of the long-serving politician Sir James Carroll, who had died in the year before the 1927 shooting and had been the first Maori to be Minister of Native Affairs. Nowell, 25, fled and took his own life. Formerly in the British navy, Nowell moved to New Zealand around 1924 and took up farming in the Waikohu area inland from Gisborne. He was married but his wife left and took their child to Auckland. Nowell took to living at a Gisborne boarding house for several months.'


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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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