Date: 17th June 1942 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 73 Squadron (motto: Tutor et Ultor - 'Protector and Avenger') 243 Wing. 211 Group
Type: Hurricane IIc
Base: Gambut, Libya
Location: Gambut, Libya
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Derek Harland Ward DFC and bar 40786 RAF Age 24. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 12:30 hrs to provide cover for Boston bombers.
During their approach to land they were bounced by enemy fighters who shot down four Hurricanes. BN277 fell about 2 miles west of Gambut, his body was buried nearby but later reinterred at the Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery.
Burial and personal details:
Sq/Ldr. Derek Harland Ward DFC and bar. Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery. Grave 1.C.10. Born at Whangarei on the 31st July 1917. A student at Auckland Aero Club with his first solo flight on the 14th February 1937, gained his 'A' licence on the 27th April 1937. Selected for RAF short service commission. Enlisted at Wigwam on the 08th June 1937. Transferd to the RAF on the 01st June and received his commission. Awarded his pilots badge on the 10th December 1937. Served with 151 squadron flying the Gauntlet and Hurricane, 87 squadron where he completed 170 operational sorties before joining 73 squadron completing 92 operational sorties. Son of Lt.Col. Dr. Sidney Harland Ward and Margaret Emilie Ward, of Whangerei, New Zealand. 1400 flying hours logged and on his 262nd operational sortie. Credited with 7 enemy aircraft destroyed, 1 shared destroyed1 probable and 1 shared probable with 5 others damaged.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire, Ian Banks for pilot photo, and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: