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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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30th December 1943 488 (NZ) Squadron Mosquito NF.XIII HK375 Fl/Sgt. Behrent

Operation: GCI Practice

Date: 30th December 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 488 (NZ) Squadron (motto: Ka ngarue ratau - 'We shake them'). 11 Group. Air Defence of Great Britain

Type: Mosquito NF.XIII

Serial: HK375

Code: ME-?

Base: RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex

Location: North Sea

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Ernest Henry Behrent NZ/416079 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Noel Breward NZ/421668 RNZAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed


Taking part in a Ground Controlled Interception exercise when after a short period passed over the airfield at 2000 ft heading west at 22:10 hrs.

It appeared he was slowly losing height and preparing to land and was showing a red navigation light (which may have been an engine fire). Shortly afterwards the Mosquito crashed into the sea 8 miles south east of the airbase.

It was seen burning for about 12 seconds before exploding. No wreckage or bodies were recovered.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Sgt. Ernest Henry Behrent. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on 20th May 1920 at Te Aroha. Worked as a farmer for the NZ Co-op Dairy Company prior to service. Enlisted on the 09th November 1941 at Leven. Trained at No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School joining on the 11th January 1942 and then No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School where he joined on the 12th February 1942. Followed by training with No. 2 Service Flying Training School 05th April 1942 final training with No. 1 Service Flying Training School on the 13th June 1942. Awarded pilots badge on the15th June 1942 and promoted to sergeant on the 05th September 1942. Promoted to Fl/Sgt on the 01st June 1943.

Embarked for England on the 16th September 1942. Further training with Pilot Advanced Flying Unit 19th January 1943, No. 51 Operational Training Unit 16th March 1943, No. 54 Operational Training Unit 22nd July 1943 flying the Beaufort and Beaufighter. Joined 488 squadron on the 14th September 1943.

Son of Henry Ernest (died 24th October 1947, age 63) and Elizabeth Sarah Behrent (nee Butterworth later Armer). Of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty region and Te Aroha in the Waikato region. Parents separated when he was 4 and was brought up by his aunt and uncle Thomas (died 01st November 1955, age 80) and Helena Ottillie Wing (nee Behrent - died 15th September 1969, age 87) at their Ngahinapouri farm In the Waipa District and Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island. A total of 384 flying hours logged with 1 solo on the Mosquito.

Fl/Sgt. Noel Breward. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 20th November 1914 at Christchurch. Worked as a farm manager for Mrs. E.B Gubb at 'Hillcrest', Okoroire prior to enlisting. Served in the territorial army for 12 months. Enlisted at Roturua on the 07th March 1942 for training as a pilot. No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School on the 01st May 1942 but pilot training terminated on the 29th June 1942 and remastered as an air observer on the 06th August 1942.

Embarked for Canada on the 02nd October 1942. Trained at No. 7 Air Observer School in Manitoba. Ai observer badge awarded on the 05th March 1943 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 28th March 1943. Further training with No, 62 Operational Training Unit on the 05th May 1943 on a radio observer course. No. 51 Operational Training Unit 09th June 1943. No. 54 Operational Training Unit 15th June 1943. No. 62 Operational Training Unit 14th September 1943. Joining 488 squadron later the same month.

Son of Harry (died 2nd July 1963) and Clara Breward (nee Cooke - died 02nd October 1966), of Tauranga, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 201 flying hours logged.

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:

KTY 02-09-2021

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