Date: 29/30th September 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 1 Service Flying Training School (ATS)
Type: Oxford II
Base: RNZAF Wigram, New Zealand
Location: As shown
Pilot (Staff): P/O. William Raymond Brant NZ/413019 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Pilot (U/T): P/O. Neville George Bailey NZ/4210074 RNZAF Age 31. Killed
Pilot (U/T): P/O. Eric Thomson Munro NZ/426107 RNZAF Age 31. Kiled
REASON FOR LOSS:
Airspeed Oxford Mk.II BG455: Built by Airspeed Ltd, Portsmouth, England. Brought On Charge at RNZAF Hobsonville on the 12th September 1942 and assembled at No.1 Aircraft Depot. To No.1 Service Flying Training School, Wigram.
Taking off at 23:10 hrs on a night cross country dual exercise. In deteriorating weather the crew flew into rising ground about hall way between Halkett and West Melton.
The wreckage was located from the air prior yo 07:00 hrs on the morning of the 30th September. A ground party arrived on the scene at 08:25 to discover the 3 dead aircrew.
Oxford 1 NZ1375 took off at 23:30 hrs on the same exercise. Piloted by staff pilot, P/O. Francis Davitt Mandivall Moran. Whilst attempting to fly under cloud in the adverse weather the aircraft crashed out of control about half way between Eyreton and Clarkesville.
The wreckage was located at 02:00 hrs on the 30th September and a ground crew reached the scene two hours later. Trainee pilot, LAC. LAC. Alan Henry Broad from Kakanui, and pilot, P/O. Francis Moran from Palmerston North were both seriously injured and taken to hospital (both recovered and survived the war). Sadly LAC. Graham Watson Browne was already dead.
Burial and additional details:
P/O. William Raymond Brant. Marton Cemetery (Mount View). E. 10. (Old Anglican Cem. Adjacent to Public Cem.) Born on the 23rd August 1920 in Marton. Educated at Marton High School. Worked for Marton Sash and Joinery Company. Enlisted at Levin on the 25th May 1941 as a pilot under training. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School 26th July 1941. No. 2 Service Flying Training School on the 07th September 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 18th October 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 29th November 1941. With No. 1 Service Flying Training School as staff pilot on the 11th December 1941. Commissioned on the 01st May 1943.
Son of William Robert (née Knox - died 17th December 1958, age 79) and Marion Mason Brant (died 26th September 1971, age 82), of Marton, Rangitikei. Husband of Gladys Jean Brant (née Jewett, later Ryan) and father of 1 son, of 128 Rolleston Road, Christchurch, New Zealand.
P/O. Neville George Bailey. Christchurch Cemetery (Bromley). Grave 500.15. Born on the 23rd July 1912 in Christchurch. Educated at Christchurch Boys High School. An accountant with Internal Marketing Board in Wellington. Enlisted at Whenuapai as aircraft hand on the 22nd August 1942. Trentham Officer course 06th January 1943 and commissioned. Aircrew training 30th March 1943. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School for pilot training on the 29th May 1943. With No. 1 Service Flying Training School on the 24th July 1943.
Son of George Herbert (died 02nd June 1958) and Josephine Oldaker Bailey (née Pulley - died 02nd May 1965), of 360 Papanui Road, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
P/O. Eric Thomson Munro. Christchurch Cemetery (Bromley). Grave 23. 1F. Also remembered on family grave in Waikaraka Cemetery, Ōnehunga. Born on the 12th July 1912 in Auckland. Educated at Mount Albert Grammar School. Enlisted at Whenuapai as aircraft hand on the 30th May 1942. With 30 Conversion Training Unit in October 1942 and commissioned on the 06th January 1943. With Initial Training Wing as a pilot under training on the 01st April 1943. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 29th May 1943. Involved in a landing accident on the 17th June 1943 but no injuries. With 1 Service Flying Training School on the 24th July 1943. Pilot bade awarded on the 28th September 1943.
Son of John Alexander (died 17th September 1947, age 74) and Hannah Leys Munro (née Thomson - died 28th January 1958), of 25 Marlborough Street, Mount Albert. Husband of Mary Gwendoline Munro (née Stokes) and father of 1 daughter, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
LAC. Graham Watson Browne. Pukekohe Public Cemetery. Services Section, Front Row, Grave 2. Born on the 02nd February 1912 in Pukekohe. Educated at Pukekohe Technical High School. A shop assistant for C.G Johnson, mens outfitter. Enlisted at Levin as an aircraft hand on the 19th September 1942. Re-mustered as a pilot under training on the 04th March 1943. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School on the 29th May 1943. With No. 1 Service Flying Training School on the 24th July 1943.
Son of Wilfred Victor (died 14th September 1966, age 72) and Janet Elizabeth Browne (née Watson - died 08th May 1974, age 75), of Pukekohe, Auckland.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, 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:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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