Operation: Duel instruction
Date: 13/14th March 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 15 Pilots Advanced Training school. 21 Group
Type: Oxford I
Base: RAF Andover - satellite at Greenham Common
Location: RAF Greenham Common
Pilot (Inst): Sgt. Walter Charles Asher NZ/414573 Age 26. Killed
Pilot (U/T): Sgt. Victor James Joseph Stride 1391318 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On approach to the satellite airfield, undershot struck a 60 ft. high tree a quarter of a mile wnw of the airfield and caught fire at 03:40 hrs. Both of the crew were killed.
During training at No. 3 Flying Training School on Wednesday the 14th January 1942, Sgt Asher was involved in a mid air collision at RNZAF Ohakea with another Tiger Moth flown by Sgt. Pirani (1) - both pilots baled out uninjured.
(1) P/O. Frederick Bryan Pirani NZ/414674 RNZAF Age 20, was listed as Missing - believed killed on Friday the 18 February 1944. Flying Hurricane IId KX124/G with 20 squadron (motto: Facta non verba - Deeds not Words), after taking off from Nidania in India at 14:16 hrs failed to return from a offensive reconnaissance over Akyab and Pauktaw Islands in Burma.
Pilots course 21c, No. 3 Service Flying Training School, RNZAF Station Ohakea.
L-R: Rear; Keith Campbell Johanson NZ/414634 (killed 05th February 1943, Albert Augustine Haydon NZ/414287 (killed 02nd september 1942, George Francis Ridgway NZ/414680 (killed 03rd September 1942, AC Relph, OJC Anderson, JC Elmsly, Kenneth Gordon Dunn NZ/414605 (killed 03rd August 1942, A.F Lissette NZ/414643 (PoW No. 3262), Alfred Bruce Clarke NZ/411565 (killed 05th April 1945), FW Herring, Walter Charles Asher NZ/414573 (killed 14th March 1943, Albert Andrew Johnson NZ/414635 (killed 18th November 1943.
Centre; Bernard Moore NZ/414727 (killed 03rd December 1942), SH Jagger, Jack Gabe George Turner NZ/413912 (killed 03rd September 1943), David Findlay Strachan NZ/414696 (killed 08th August 1942), Alexander Bridges Coburn NZ/414594 (killed 16th September 1942), Frederick Bryan Pirani NZ/414674 (killed 18th February 1944), Duncan Barclay McLaren NZ/414653, Arthur Edgar Kemp NZ/414638 , Roy Rowe NZ/414720 (killed 25th August 1943), Robert Keith Cunningham NZ/414597 (killed 15th March 1943).
Front; Murray Llewellyn Gray NZ/40124 killed 18th June 1943), JM Pollard, KM Farquhar, WN Smythe, Russel Tonson Garlick NZ/414609 PoW No. 3430) , William Arthur Hoskins NZ/414627 (killed 16th September 1942), Douglas Charles Henley NZ/414622 (killed 01st September 1943), Eric William Mitchell Jacombs NZ/413422 (killed 18th January 1943), Albert Lens Murray NZ/414661 (killed 01st December 1942), Herbert William Lacy NZ/414303.
Inset; TF Collerton, Andrew Albert Haydon NZ/405569.
Burial and personal details:
Sgt. Walter Charles Asher. Greenham (St. Mary) Churchyard. Grave 78. Born 27th December 1916 at Auckland. Worked as a typewriter engineer for Beechey and Underwood in Auckland prior to service. Served in territorial army for 18 months prior to enlisting at Levin on the 17th August 1941. Trained initially at No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School joining on 28th September 1941 and then onto No. 3 Flying Training School joining on the 08th November 1941. Pilots badge awarded on the 20th December 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 31st January 1942. Embarked for England on the 22nd February 1942. Attached to No. 5 Pilots Advanced Training school on 23rd July 1942 and the No. 2 Flying Instructors School on the 19th August 1942. Joined No. 15 Pilots Advanced Training school as an instructor on the 14th October 1942. Son of Lionel Isaac Asher (died 30th August 1949, age 57) and Ethel May Asher (nee Sullivan), of Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 558 flying hours logged with 302 hrs solo on the Oxford.
Sgt. Victor James Joseph Stride. Abney Park Cemetery. Sec. E.7. Grave RN.46336. Son of John Frederick Stride and Daisy Maud Stride, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex; husband of Lilian Edith Stride.
(1) P/O. Frederick Bryan Pirani. Singapore Memorial. Column 445. Born on the 17th June 1923 at Wellington. Worked as a clerk for Universal Business Directories Ltd prior to service. Enlisted on the 17th August 1941. Trained initially at No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School joining on 27th September 1941 and then onto No. 3 Flying Training School joining on the 08th November 1941. Pilots badge awarded on the 09th October 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 08th March 1942. Attached to No. 15 Pilots Advanced Training school on 02nd June. 1942 Further training on the 59 Operational Training Unit joining on the 23rd June 1942. Embarked for India on 29th September 1942. Joined 20 Squadron on the 25th December 1942. Son of Frederick and Iris Helen Pirani (nee Doer) of Karori, Wellington. 356 flying hours logged and on his 22nd operational sortie.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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