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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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2 Service Flying Training School Harvard II NZ930 P/O. Gumbley

Operation: Training

Date: 27th January 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 2 Service Flying Training School

Type: Harvard II

Serial: NZ930

Code: -

Base: RNZAF Woodbourne, New Zealand

Location: Delta Landing Ground

Pilot: P/O. Louis Joseph Norfolk Gumbley NZ/421704 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

PX: Cpl. Eric Courtney Bell NZ/421300 RNZAF Age 22. Killed


During a night flying test they collided with a tree during low flying and crashed close to the Delta Landing Ground at 19:55 hrs.

Both crew killed. Cpl. Bell had recently transferred from the army and was engaged in defence duties prior to commencing aircrew training.

Burial details:

P/O. Louis Joseph Norfolk Gumbley. Aramoho Cemetery. Grave Q.2.56. Born on the 03rd December 1921 in Wanganui. Educated at Wanganui Technical School. A shop assistant for London Town Enterprises Ltd at Wanganui. Enlisted at Rotorua on the 07th March 1942. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 03rd May 1942. With No. 2 Flying Training School 25th July 1943. Pilot badge was awarded on the 19th of October 1942. Commissioned on the 19th December 1942.With No. 1 Service Flying Training School as staff pilot 18th January 1943. With No. 2 Service Flying Training School as staff pilot 21st January 1943. A total of 166 solo flying hours logged with 126 on the Harvard.

Son of Charles Norfolk Gumbley (died 0th March 1973, age 83), and of Ethel Mary Gumbley (née Cooksley- (died 19th October 1980), of Wanganui, New Zealand.

Cpl. Eric Courtney Bell. Aramoho Cemetery. Grave Q.2.57. Born on the 22nd of August 1921 in Wanganui. Educated at Wanganui Technical School. A clerk for New Zealand Railways. Served 1 year in the territorial army. Enlisted at Woodbourne 24th October as an aircraft hand but then for aircrew training.

Son of James Courtney Bell (died 13th May 1964, age 71), and of Isabella Alice Bell (née Comrie - died 27th May 1963, age 73), of Wanganui, 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, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 10-06-2022

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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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