Date: 31st August 1940 (Saturday)
Unit: No. Flying Instructors School
Type: Tiger Moth II
Base: RNZAF Hobsonville
Location: Rangitoto Channel
Pilot: P/O. Robert Michael Goldstone NZ/39914 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
Pilot: P/O. Boyd Victor Le Pine NZ/391329 RNZAF Age 24. Injured
Taking off at 09:15hrs to practice aerobatics over the Rangitoto channel.
At 10:00 hrs it was seen to spin at a low altitude and crashed into the sea 600 yards off Narrow Neck Beach.
'North Shore residents saw the Tiger Moth down the harbour, perform aerobatics over the Rangitoto Channel and then go into a bank. The aircraft went into a dive, variously estimated from 200 ft to 1000 ft. The accident happened so quickly that eye-witness accounts vary. The naval examination vessel, anchored about 500 yds away, was on the way to the scene of the crash within a minute. The tail of the 'plane was still above water when the examination vessel, a small trawler, arrived.
P/O. Boyd Victor Le Pine was seen to crawl out to the tail and was taken aboard the trawler. Almost immediately, before a rope could be attached to the sinking aircraft, the Tiger Moth disappeared. The area was then buoyed, so as to mark the spot, as rescue operations were hampered by a fast, ebbing tide. Two dinghies began to operate.
Leaving the dinghies, the examination ship headed for the port at full speed, taking P/O. Le Pine to the naval base, for conveyance to the Auckland Hospital by St. John ambulance. '
His injuries consisted of severe concussion, shock and lacerations to the face, knees and arms.
The examination vessel sent a Morse message to the shore authorities, advising that air force personnel had been involved in a crash. Both P/O. Goldstone and P/O. Le Pine belonged to the Instructors' School at Hobsonville. They had been at the air station only a few weeks after completing the usual course of pilot training at a South Island station. Their flight this morning was a routine training flight'.
Port Promptly Closed.
'During operations at the scene of the crash, the port was closed. A small vessel which attempted to enter port during this period was pulled up short by two bursts of machine-gun fire from one of the coastal defence stations. Warned by the bullets whistling across her bows, her skipper put about and anchored nearby. The port was reopened about midday.
Scores of civilians along Narrow Neck Beach watched the rescue operations, as did several hundred officers and men at the Narrow Neck camp and nearby coastal defence stations. Fairly thick, misty rain was falling during the search for Pilot-Officer Goldstone. Two naval launches appeared on the scene shortly after the examination vessel had sent the Morse message'.
The body of P/O. Goldstone was recovered three days later during the salvage of the wreckage.
P/O. Robert Michael Goldstone. Wanganui Cemetery (Aramoho). Grave O.3.127. Born on the 29th of October 1918 in Waimate. Educated at Wanganui Technical College. A clerk for Kemthome Prosser and Company. An RNZAF Civil Reserve pilot at Wanganui Aero Club by 16th September 1938. 'A' Licence 23rd November 1938.
At RNZAF in Levin as Airman pilot under training 26th October 1939. With 2 Elementary Flying Training School on the 20th November 1939. 2 Flying Training School on 28th December 1939. As staff pilot from 06th July 1940. Pilot badge awarded 21st March 1940. Commissioned 28th June 1940. Joined Flying Instructor School on the 14th of August 1940. A total 0f 179 hours solo with 24 on the Tiger Moth.
Son of John (died 27th October 1970, age 89) and Margaret Goldstone (née Frost - died 29th March 1965, age 76), of Wanganui, New Zealand.
P/O. Boyd Victor Le Pine. Born on the 04th March 1916 in Wellington. Survived the war as Wing Commander. (died 25th March 1985, age 69). Husband of Marion Stephen Le Pine (died 08th May 2021, age 98). Ashes interred at Waikanae Cemetery.
Above L-R: Rear; Robert William Douglas Cowper NZ/39903 26-05-43, W.B Mackley, Reginald Wilfred Prout NZ/39936 06-11-40, Stronach Vivian Smith NZ/39942 23-12-40.
Centre; P.S Fougere, Hector Hugh Crawford NZ/39904 06-02-42, P.F.L Stephenson, G.S Halley, Keith Stuart Strode-Penny NZ/39932 26-10-42, K.C Lee.
Front; TW Horton, Dick Middleton Poynter NZ/39933 24-12-41, John Crayley Blundell NZ/39898 30-06-44, H.G Miller, J. Bayly, Henry Michael Hoadley NZ/39919 28-08-40, Robert Michael Goldstone NZ/39914 (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)
Above as described - shaking hands with Wing Commander Boyd Victor Le Pine (Courtesy Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library)
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, Dave Homewood and the great 'Wings over New Zealand Aviation Forum', grave photographs courtesy Alison and Pockets106 of 'Find A Grave', 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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