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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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School of N and R Anson I NZ414 Fl/Sgt. John Paterson Cummins

Operation: Navigation Exercise

Date: 04th September 1944 (Monday)

Unit: School of Navigation and Reconnaissance

Type: Anson I

Serial: NZ414

Code: P

Base: RNZAF New Plymouth

Location: Slopes of Mount Egmont

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Paterson Cummins NZ/405638 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

Pilot/Nav: Fl/Sgt. Maurice Roy Haycock NZ/4216224 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Bruce Frederick Aslin Rough NZ/? RNZAF Age 24. Injured

W/Op: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Frederick Peterson NZ/4310151 RNZAF Age 22. Injured


Taking off from New Plymouth Airfield at 14:19 hrs on a navigation exercise. While cruising at an altitude of 1,200 feet, the twin-engine aircraft went through a cloudy area over Mt Egmont (Mt Taranaki). Familiar with the area, the second pilot saw trees 200 feet below and took over the control to turn to the right to avoid any collision with the mountain. Unfortunately, the aircraft stalled, hit tree tops, and crashed in a wooded area.

Fl/Sgt. Peterson was able to extricate himself from the aircraft and with considerable difficulty reached Ōpunake and summoned assistance. He showed commendable courage and fortitude, tramping through seven miles of dense bush, in spite of his injuries to obtain help. Although search parties were organised, the approach of night hindered their efforts and the aircraft and occupants were not located The search continued through the night however and at dawn the following day an aircraft taking part in the search was able to confirm that groups on the ground had reached the wreckage.

On-site, the rescuers were able to evacuate a second crew member alive while both other occupants were killed. The two survivors were taken to New Plymouth hospital suffering from various limb injuries and shock. The coroner reported that the two pilots suffered multiple injuries.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. John Paterson Cummins. Wellington Cemetery (Karori). Grave 40-J/3. (S). Born on the 24th July 1921 at Wellington. Attended Wellington Technical College. Worked as a radio serviceman for Radio Corporation in Wellington. Served 6 months in the New Zealand Corps of Signals. Enlisted at Harewood on the 27th December 1940. Embarked for England on the 26th of May 1941. 307 Sqn PAF (Beaufighter) 23rd August 1941, 456 Squadron RAAF (Beaufighter) 6 25th November 1941. Remustered as Radio Direction Findings Mechanic 21st May 1942, 488 Squadron RNZAF (Beaufighter) 30th June 1942. Remustered as a pilot under training on the 14th of September 1942. Embarked for Canada on the 02nd July 1943. Pilots Badge and promoted to sergeant on the 14th January 1944. Returned to New Zealand on the 27th of May 1944. School of Navigation and Reconnaissance on the 30th August 1944. Son of William Henry Cummins, and of Sarah Hepburn Cummins (née Houlder), of Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 237 flying hours logged with 70 hours on the Anson.

Fl/Sgt. Maurice Roy Haycock. Brightwater Anglican Cemetery. (Saint Paul). 6. B. Born on the 09th October 1916 at Hope. Studied at Nelson College and a butcher prior to service. With the territorial army for 4 years from 1933. Enlisted at Nelson on the 05th December 1942, Attached to No. 3 Elementary Flying on the 26th June 1943, joining No 1 Service Elementary Training School on the 28th August 1943. Pilot badge awarded on the 25th December 1943 and promoted to sergeant. 40 Squadron (Dakota) 04th January 1944. School of Navigation and Reconnaissance on the 10th July 1944. Son of George Aubrey Catley Haycock (died 07th June 1965, age 81) and of Vera Muriel Haycock (nee Harvey - died 17th June 1968, age 77), of Brightwater, Nelson and husband of Gladys Maude Haycock (née Best), of Brightwater, New Zealand. A total of 886 flying hours logged.

Sgt. Bruce Frederick Aslin Rough survived the war. Born on the 02nd February 1922 - Died 15th June 1988, age 66, cremated at Taita Lawn Cemetery. Block 01, Row C, Plot 19. Of 75a Hamilton Road, Hataitai, Wellington.

Fl/Sgt. Alexander Frederick Peterson survived the war. Born on the 12th March 1920 - Died 04th February 1979, age 58. Of New Plymouth. Andersons Bay Cemetery Tomahawk Road Dunedin New Zealand. Block 8SC. Plot 7. of 82A Arthur Street, Dunedin. A school teacher after leaving the RNZAF.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Fiona for grave photo, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram, Andrew Halligan for grave photo, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 05-02-2022

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