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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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Fleet Air Arm
29th June 1944 889 Squadron Seafire IIC MB253 Sub/Lr. (A) Chittenden

Operation: Patrol

Date: 29th June 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 889 Squadron Fleet Air Arm

Type: Seafire IIC

Serial: MB253

Code: -

Base: HMS Atheling (Aircraft Carrier)

Location: As above

Pilot: Sub/Lr. (A) John David Chittenden RNZVNR Age 23. Killed


The Seafire bounced on final approach catching the undercarriage on the barrier. The aircraft skidded along the flight deck and crashed into the deck park. It hit several personnel and Seafire LR807 which was unmanned.

Both aircraft then fell into the sea at 15:00 hrs. and sank immediately. Three of those struck were killed at the time, another New Zealand pilot, Sub/Lr. (A) Bisman died at 16:45 hrs never regaining consciousness.

Burial and personal details:

Sub/Lr. (A) John David Chittenden. New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport, Auckland. Panel 8. Born on the 10th November 1920 at Wellington. Worked as a clerk for the Council of Fire and Accident prior to service. Joined the RN/FAA for pilot training on the 14th May 1941. Pilots badge and commissioned on the 07th March 1942. Son of Henry Hector and Wilhelmina Chittenden (née Cooper), of Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand. Also served with 794, 709, 733, 757 and 759 squadron prior to joining 889 on the 30th March 1944.

Sub/Lr. (A) Royden Thomas Bisman. Age 24. New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport, Auckland. Panel 8. Born on the 27th February 1920 at Invercargill. A salesman for Para Rubber Company prior to service. After 3 months in the NZ Territorial army joined RN/FAA to undertake pilot training on the 28th August 1941. Pilots badge and commissioned on the 20th November 1942 after training in Canada. Son of James Thomas and Ivy Lillian Bisman (née Anderson), of New Brighton, Christchurch. New Zealand. Also served with 752, 772 and 733 Squadron before joining 889 on the 05th April 1944. Involved in a landing accident on the 04th June 1944 but suffered no injuries.

Air Mechanic 2nd class Ronald James Milton FAA/FX. 108105 Age 20. Lee-On-Solent Memorial. Bay 5, Panel 4. Son of John and Ida Milton of Buenos Aries, Argentina.

Air Fitter. Herbert Patrick. FAA/FX. 100335 Age 23. Lee-On-Solent Memorial. Bay 5, Panel 3. Son of Herbert and Florence Patrick and husband of Beatrice Patrick.

Able Seaman. Norman Brechin. D/JX 305515. Plymouth Naval Memorial. Panel 85, Column 3.

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 17-03-2021

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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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