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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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3 Elementary Flying Training School Tiger Moth II NZ1429 F/O. Blair

Operation: Training

Date: 27th July 1942 (Monday)

Unit: No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School

Type: Tiger Moth II

Serial: NZ1429

Code: -

Base: RNZAF Harewood, Christchurch, New Zealand

Location: Harris Field, near Harewood

Pilot (Inst): F/O. Kenneth Sinclair Blair NZ/40962 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Pilot (U/T): LAC Leonard Matthew Keat NZ/421062 RNZAF Age 29. Killed


On a duel instruction exercise they collided with another Tiger Moth NZ839 who was on a solo training flight. The pilot, LAC. Robert Baines Knight overtook NZ1429 at 09:45 hrs from the port quarter as it made a left hand turn.

They both crashed out of control quarter mile east of Harris Field near Harewood. LAC. Knight survived with serious injuries whilst both of the other crew were killed. A report later recorded that as both aircraft were camaflaged and that was a contributed to a factor leading to the accident.

Burial and personal details:

F/O. Kenneth Sinclair Blair. Wellington Crematorium (Karori). Screen Wall. Born on the 09th January 1917 at Wellington. Moved to Australia and attended Scots College in Sydney and then to Sydney University. Returned to New Zealand and attended Victoria University College, Associate to the Hon Mr. Justice Blair. Served 6 months in territorial army. Enlisted at Levin on the 09th April 1940 as a pilot under training. With No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School 07th May 1940. Seriously injured in aircraft accident 19th June 1940. Rejoined 1 EFTS 30th December 1940. With No. 1 Flying Training School 18th January 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 01st March 1941 and received his commission on the 12th April 1941. Flying Instructor School 21st April 1941. Joining No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 10th June 1941 as instructor. Baled out after wing failure, uninjured (LAC Bryan Walter Lambourne killed) 11th September 1941. Son of Kenneth John and Elizabeth Blair of Belmont and husband of Geraldine Mary Blair (née Litchfield, later Addison), of Wadestown, Wellington, New Zealand. 1046 hours solo with 990 hours on the Tiger Moth.

LAC Leonard Matthew Keat. Hamilton East Public Cemetery. Public Area A6, Row O, Plot 15. Born on the 07th March 1913 at Mercer. Worked as a paymaster clerk for Survey Department in Rotorua. Enlisted at Levin on the 08th February 1942 as a pilot under training. With 3 Elementary Flying Training School 13th June 1942. Son of John Edward (died 15th November 1965, age 90), and Amy Bertha Keat (née Impey - died 12th July 1978, age 80), of Rotorua and husband of Irene Josephine Keat (née Newcombe, later Pretty), of Rotorua, New Zealand


F/O. Robert Baines Knight. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 285. Born on the 15th April 1919 at Waiuku. Educated at Waiuku School. A farmer on his fathers farm at Taurangarura near Waiuku. Served 3 years in territorial army. Enlisted at Rotorua as a pilot under training 04th April 1942. With 3 Elementary Flying Training School 13th June 1942. Involved in a series accident on the 27th July 1942. With No. 1 Service Flying Training School 13th April 1943. Pilot badge awarded 07th June 1943 and promoted to sergeant on the 31st July 1943. Embarked for England 21st August 1943. With Pilot Advanced Flying Unit 21st March 1944. With 10 Operational Training Unit 06th June 1944. Crashed on take off 30/31st July 1944 (uninjured).Awarded commission on 18th August 1944. Involved in a crash landing with Sgt. John Lamont NZ/427518 (both uninjured) 23/24th August 1944. With 5 Lancaster Finishing School 03rd December 1944. With 1669 Heavy Conversion Unit 13th October 1944. Joined 630 squadron 09th January 1945. Killed on 630 squadron Lancaster III ND554 LE-A on the 08/09th February 1945 all crew lost. Son of Harry Knight (died 09th May 1972, age 82) and of Elizabeth Knight (née Thomson - died 14th May 1953, age 60), of Waiuku, Auckland, New Zealand.

Note: His brother, 20 year old, Fl/Sgt. Jack Muir Knight NZ/4210031 was also lost. Born on the 08th February 1924 at Waiuka. Worked as a farmer on his fathers farm at Taurangaruru. Served in the home guard. Enlisyed at Seagrove on the 15th August 1942. With 3 Elementary Flying Training School 03rd April 1943. With 2 Flying Training School on 24th July 1943 aster a period of sick leave. Plot badge awarded on the 27th September 1943 and promoted to sergeant on the 20th November 1943. With 20 Operational Training Unit flying the P-40 on the 12th December 1943. Joined 19 squadron on the 02nd February 1944. With squadron to South Pacific on the 18th February 1944. Taking off in Corsair NZ5292 at 09.25 hrs and whilst staffing a boat and jetty his engine appeared to catch fire. Th pilot baled out at 10:30 hrs but his chute failed to deploy before he struck the water. Bourail Memorial. Panel 6. He was nearing the end of his second tour of operations.

Above: L-R: Rear; W.L. Hardie, R.A.F. Anderson, J.G. Flanagan, A.J. Jeeves, A.L. Galletly.Centre; M.G. Hegglun, E.A. Horan, D.A. Ingham, W.J. Geary.
Front; J.D. Forbes, B.C. Levet, R.B. Knight, A.G. Jones, O.J. Hawkins.


LAC Bryan Walter Lambourne. Hillsborough Cemetery. Area 4, Block I, Grave 17. Born on the 21st October 1922 at Auckland. Educated at Mt. Albert Grammer School Worked as a clerk for New Zealand Shipping in Auckland. Enlisted at Levin on the 06th July 1941 as a pilot under training. With 3 Elementary Flying Training School 17th August 1941. Son of Cyril Walter (died 08th August 1935, age 36) and Meta Lambourne (née Philips - died 31st August 1988, age 89), of Mount Albert, Auckland City.

Above: L-R: Rear; A.K. Saunders, A.J. McCracken, J.T.E. Matheson, P.J.D. Cooney, H.A. Chandler, W.D. Stuart, C.J. Stirling, L.B. Ware, J.A.G. Barthgate.
Centre; L.M. Checketts, F.W.H. Burney, R.H. Higgins, A.D. Bayly, K.F. Moore, K.S. Blair, W.R. Kemp, R.E. Stevenson, C.B. Wareham, J.E. Smith.
Front; T.C. Goodlet, B.D. Christopher, A.T. Parata, B.G. Wallace, J.D. Broadley, S.S. Obery, B.T. Shannon.

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 23-05-2022

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