06th October 1944 33 Squadron Spitfire LF.IX PV160 W/O. Roney
Operation: Breskens, Netherlands
Date: 06th October 1944 (Friday)
Unit: No. 33 Squadron (motto: 'Loyalty'). 135 Wing. 84 Group. 2nd Tactical Air Force
Type: Spitfire LF.IX
Base: B.53 Merville, France
Location: Groeneweg, Schoondijke
Pilot: W/O. George James Roney NZ/417113 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The squadron took part in two operational sorties on this day. The first was to Dunkirk in the morning. dropping bombs on some stores - light flak encountered. All aircraft returned safely.
The second, taking off at 15:00 hrs to attack a pocket of resistance in the Breskens area.
3 of the squadrons Spitfires failed to return.
P/O. Reginald Roy Clarke Aus/420149 RAAF flying Spitfire NH480 5R-J was hit by flak but he managed to bale out and evade capture returning to his unit. Sgt J. McNee (no details which Spitfire he was flying) was also hit by flak but managed to force land his Spitfire near Kortrijk in Belgium.
It was assumed that the squadron would find W/O. Roney back at base. Although reports by locals stated that a Spitfire had crashed in the Groeneweg area they were not able to investigate due to the heavy fighting taking part. It would be four years before his fate was discovered. The wreckage of PV160 with the pilots body still inside was recovered in mid 1948 and buried at the Schoondijke General Cemetery.
W/O. George James Roney. Schoondijke General Cemetery. Grave 303B. Born on the 01st January 1922 at Oamaru. Prior to service worked as an apprentice motor mechanic for Maude Brothers of Oamaru . Prior to enlisting in the RNZAF on the 21st December 1941 served with NZ territorial army for a year and a half. After training in New Zealand awarded his pilots badge on the 19th December and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 16th January 1943. Joined 33 squadron on the 05th August 1944 from 84 GSU. Son of George Charles and Rose Anna Roney (nee Berry), of Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand. His brother Stanley Vincent 15621 served with the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Third Echelon who survived the war. A total of 505 flying hours logged and on his 20th operational sortie.
P/O. Reginald Roy Clarke born on the 30th December 1920. Son of Jean Elizabeth Clarke of 9 Bunnerong Road, Daceyville, Sydney. Worked as a radio announcer prior to service. Enlisted on the 25th June 1941 in Sydney. Embarked for England on the 13th November 1942 for England. He survived the war, no further details.
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”, 33 Squadron, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below: