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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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487 crest
487 Squadron (NZ) Mosquito FB.VI HX864 P/O. Coates

Operation: Rail and Transport

Date: 04 December 1943 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 487 Squadron (NZ) 140 Airfield HQ. 2 Group. 2nd Tactical Air Force (motto: Ki te mutunga - 'Through to the end')

Type: Mosquito FB.VI

Serial: HX864

Code: EG-E

Base: RAF Sculthorpe, Norfolk

Location: North Sea

Pilot: P/O. Kenneth John Coates 168679 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Nav: P/O. Colin Bruce Muir NZ/413459 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed


Took off at 12:10 hrs for attacks on rail and transport targets in NW Germany with five others. Fl/Sgt. M.E Barriball and Fl/Sgt. L.L Thompson flying as reserves turned back after crossing the English coast. Each aircraft carried 4 x 500 lb bombs fitted with an 11-second delay.

Low clouds and fog were encountered off the Dutch coast, forcing them to abandon the sortie. The Mosquito was last seen in a skidding dive at 13:25.hrs. Presumed to have crashed in the sea, its two crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. All the others returned safely.

Burial details:

P/O. Kenneth John Coates. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 131. Born in March 1923 in Pelsall. Awarded commission on the 13th of October 1943. Son of Frederick Josiah and Edith May Coates, of 52 Old Town Lane, Pellsall, Staffordshire, England. On the 25th of November 2015 his medals, sweetheart broach and letters were sold for £400 by auctioneers Noonans of Mayfair, London.

P/O. Colin Bruce Muir. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on 12th August 1920 in Auckland. Educated at King's College, Auckland. Worked as a clerk for Frank Neil Estate agent. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 14th of June 1941. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 27th July 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 22nd of September 1941. With No. 12 Service Flying Training School on the 11th October 1941. Remustered as Air Observer on the 31st December 1941. Air observer badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the 20th July 1942. With No. 34 Operational Training Unit flying the Ventura on the 01st September 1942.

Embarked for England via New York on the 05th January 1943. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the 13th January 1943. Attached to 107 squadron on the 01st April 1943. Joined 487 squadron on the 12th April 1943 where he flew 4 operational sorties. A total of 381 flying hours logged. Awarded his commission on the 14th of October 1943.

His brother 26 year old, Sgt Donald Ferguson Muir 980442 serving in the RAFVR was killed over Egypt on the 06th November 1941. The full story on the loss of the Wellington II Z8365 can be found here.

Son of Bruce (died 10th January 1953, age 65) and Agnes Mabel Muir (née Ferguson - died 01st August 1946, age 60) of Gisborne, New Zealand.

L-R: Rear; Alfred William Burge 414238, Thomas Bernard Burrowes 414239, TTW Green, Raymond Francis Connor 414377, S Alcock, Robert Alexander Banks-Martin 414226, Terence Douglas Blewett 414376, Walter Ian Charteris 414246, Beryck Phillip William Dalcom 414261, Albert Farmer 414270, Alexander Stuart Keith 414300, IG Grant, Wilfred Everleigh Wildey 414368, Leslie Cormac Maunsell 414318, FE Coates.

3rd row; Arthur David Leese 413943, Thomas Reginald Johnston 4313838, CL Clare, Derek Frank Blackmore 414233, Gordon Keith Claris 414250, Douglas Robert Bannerman 414380, DL Shears, AC Kenning, GK Malcomson, Douglas Haig Mann 414316, Richard Hilary Woodhouse 413925, Mervyn Jack Mills 414321, Robert John Kemp 414302, Melville Collinson Baynes 414229.

2nd row; FM Downs, R Clark, HLF Goggon, William Tidswell Ellis 413703, Lindsay Keith Goodwin 413992, D Jackson, Noel Buchanan Daniel 414262, Raymond Chesney 414247, WR Craig, George Thomas Couttie 414253, Murray Metcalfe 413876, Malcolm Kirk Jackson 414297, FL Welford, Raymond Ernest Joseph Hogg 414292, Leicester George Smith 414352.

Front; Nelson Whittington Watts Warner 411479, Horace Robert Harrap 414286, Herbert James Dalzell 414263, James Gough Polson 414339, Frederick George Shears 413489, JW Morris, Maxwell Wintringham Dixon 414265, Charles William Hildreth 414291, DJ Galbraith, HJ Wright, Norman John Rowe 414344, George James Mee 414319, Douglas Moultrie 414324, Thomas Otto Metcalfe 414386, Colin Bruce Muir 413459. (Courtesy Air Museum of 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, Noonans of Mayfair, London, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 28-06-2022

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