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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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1 Squadron (RNZAF) Hudson III NZ2024 P/O. Benfield

Operation: Training

Date: 25th January 1943 (Monday)

Unit: No. 1 Squadron (RNZAF)

Type: Hudson III

Serial: NZ2024

Code: -

Base: Whenuapai, New Zealand

Location: Waitemata Harbour, Auckland

Pilot: P/O. Rolph Joseph Benfield NZ/42362 RNZAF Age 31. Killed

Pilot: P/O. Cyril Henry Comrie NZ/416458 RNZAF Age 26. Killed


stalled on approach to Whenuapai AFB and crashed in the upper Waitemata Harbour between Hobsonville and Pine Island (now Herald Island) at 13:35 hrs.

Both crew killed.

Burial details:

P/O. Rolph Joseph Benfield. Karori Cemetery. Grave 17.E/3(S). Born on the 15th October 1911 in Wellington. Educated at Wellington School. Enlisted at Levin on the 11th January 1942. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 03rd May 1942. With No. 1 Service Flying Training School on the 24th July 1942. Pilot badge awarded 19th October 1942. Commissioned on the 19th September 1942. Joined 1 squadron on the 02nd January 1943. A total of 136 flying hours logged with 3 on the Hudson.

Son of Joseph (died August 1924) and Violetta Harriett Benfield, of Wellington, New Zealand. Husband of Sarah Jean (née Griffin - died 15th December 1989, age 75) Benfield (née Leatherland - married 17 October 1942), father of Rolph Alistair born 17 October 1943 of 73 Devonshire Road, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand.

P/O. Cyril Henry Comrie. Karori Crematorium 13.A1. Brick wall. Born on the 05th January 1917 in Wanganui. Educated at Wellington Technical College. A porter for New Zealand Railways. Enlisted at Levin on the 30th November 1941. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School 10th January 1942. With No. 1 Service Flying Training School on the 13th June 1942. The pilot badge was awarded on 15 June 1942 and commissioned on 05th September 1942. Joined 1 squadron on the 31st December 1942.

Son of Henry Pearson Comrie (died 19th April 1945, age 62), and of Olga Mary Narome Caddy Comrie (née Lane - died 28th May 1949, age 69), of Paekakariki, Wellington and husband of Helen Comrie (née Smith - died 02nd August 2002, age 82), of 4a Hutt Road, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand.

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, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 10-06-2022

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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