Date: 24th January 1943 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 122 Squadron. 11 Group (motto: Victuri volamus - 'We fly to conquer')
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: RAF Hornchurch, Essex
Location: North Chelmsford, Essex
Pilot: W/O. Samuel David Earwaker NZ/404345 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at around 15:45 hrs on a training exercise.
25 minutes later dived from around 30,000 fr then entered a spin at 5,000 ft from which he failed to recover. The aircraft dived into the ground north of Chelmsford.
Investigators concluded that inadequate instructions had been provided to the pilot on the use of oxygen. The bayonet fixing joining his mask to the economiser and had not been securely connected and had become detached.
We understand that some of the wreckage had been recovered and the Merlin is now on display at the RNZAF Wigram Airforce Museum, Christchurch.
W/O. Samuel David Earwaker. Hornchurch Cemetery. Sec. A. Grave 1362. Born on the 25th December 1916 at Christchurch, the son of William Samuel and Lily Harris Earwaker (née Moore), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Husband of Phylis Seyer Earwaker (née Washer, later Spence). Prior to service worked for T.H. Green and Company at Christchurch as a Clerk. A total of 574 flying hours logged with 62 of these on the Spitfire and having completed 2 operational sorties.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, 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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