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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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501 crest
25th September 1944 501 Squadron Tempest V EJ590 Fl/Lt. Bonham DFC

Operation: Diver Patrol

Date: 25th September 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 501 Squadron (motto: Fear Nothing')11 Group

Type: Tempest V

Serial: EJ590

Code: SD-L

Base: RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex

Location: Near Harwich, Essex

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Gordon Loversidge Bonham DFC. NZ/402434 RNZAF Age 23. Killed


Whilst with 243 Squadron in the Far East he was severely injured on the 18th January 1942 during an engagement with Japanese aircraft with one of his knees being shattered by a bullet. But he managed to land his badly damaged Brewster Buffalo at Kallang airfield and was evacuated via Ceylon to New Zealand. After treatment and sick leave he returned to England on the 10th November 1943.

After taking off at 18:50 hrs on a Diver patrol (V1) and on return he reported his compass seemed faulty. He requested the airfield lights to be turned on. Whilst descending in poor visibility to break the cloud at 200 ft. he flew into the ground at Spitfield Sarm near Harwich at 21:00 hrs.

DFC April 28th, 1944:

'He fought courageously, pressing home his attack with great determination in spite of the fact that he had a serious bullet wound in a knee which caused him great pain. He displayed a high degree of skill and determination in flying back to base and landing the damaged aircraft before he fainted from loss of blood.'

Beatrice Mary Bonham wrote a poem and placed it in a New Zealand newspaper.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Gordon Loversidge Bonham DFC. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 8. AA. 15. Born on the 24th March 1921 at Dunedin. A telephonist for P an T Department of Christchurch before enlisting on the 25th November 1950 at Wigram. Son of Frederick Thomas Bonham and Beatrice Mary Bonham (née Loversidge), of 474 Worcester Street, Christchurch, New Zealand. 957 flying hours logged with 94 on the Tempest. Carried out 53 operational sorties in a Spitfire with a further 41 on the Tempest. Credited with 1 enemy aircraft destroyed, 1 damaged an 5 V1's destroyed.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire 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:

KTY 05-02-2021

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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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