Nelson Aero Club Piper PA-18-95 Fl/Lt. John Eustace Haycock DFC
Operation: En Route
Date: 05th September 1963 (Thursday)
Unit: No. Nelson Aero Club
Type: Piper PA-18-95
Base: Nelson, New Zealand
Location: Okiwi Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand
Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Eustace Haycock DFC NZ/422396 Age 40. Killed
Px: Mr. Raymond Wehner Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Evening Post 27th February 1945:
'By skilful piloting during a bombing raid on enemy objectives in the Rangoon area, a New Zealand pilot not only saved his Liberator and crew, but also accounted for a Japanese fighter. He is Flying Officer John Haycock, of Nelson.
He made a swift but quite unorthodox manoeuvre with the aircraft so that the waist gunner caught the enemy in his sights and 50 rounds of accurate gunnery did the rest, but not before the Liberator was swishing through shrubs only 11 feet off the ground. Mushrooming smoke and steam, the enemy aircraft disappeared into the broad waters of the Irrawaddy. Flying Officer Haycock arrived in India early last year. After a short course at the jungle training school, he was posted to his present squadron and has made many long trips over enemy-occupied territory, including Siam, attacking communications and installations.
DFC Citation 05th March 1946:
This officer has completed a highly successful tour of operations. This included many sorties against various objectives. Early in his tour during low-level attacks on a bridge on the 13th December 1944, his aircraft was attacked by an enemy fighter but by skilful manoeuvring and accurate fire he was able to destroy it. On another occasion on the 11th March 1945, when flyng over Rangoon, his aircraft was seriously damaged by enemy action. With great skill and determination he regained control and successfully brought his damaged aircraft back to base, where he made a safe landing. Throughout his career Flying Officer Haycock has shown outstanding keeness, skill and great devotion to duty. In the incident over Rangoon mentioned above the Flight Engineer repaired the rudder control cables with parachute cords. On landing 197 holes were counted in the fuselage. The aircraft was so badly damaged it did not fly again.
05th September 1963:
Pilot John Haycock was holidaying with his wife and children at Okiwi Bay. Returning to Nelson for business, he flew back to Okiwi Bay, circling the township at about 300 feet to drop mail and sweets for his family. He circled again to the right, descending so low some witnesses thought the wingtip touched the ground, before passing through a 60-metre gap between two groups of pine trees. In the gap was a plum tree, concealed from the pilot until the last second.
The Piper Cub's right wing struck the tree less than four metres from the ground, forcing the wing backwards and shattering the cabin roof window and cockpit windscreen. The aircraft crashed upside down in the sea at 11:00 hrs, and both pilot and passenger Raymond Wehner drowned in water less than two metres deep.
The accident report stated, "While the direct cause of the accident is fully clear, it is less easy to understand why a pilot of mature years and flying experience should engage in such a foolish exhibition of low flying".
Fl/Lt. John Eustace Haycock DFC. Marsden Cemetery, Nelson New Zealand. Born on the 15th May 1923. Son of Ernest Stanley Haycock (died 29th March 1971, age 84) and Ruth Anna Haycock (died 15th May 1995, age 106). Husband of Dorothy Ruth Haycock. Brother of Olwyn Ruth Haycock; Joyce Elizabeth Haycock; Bruce Stanley Haycock; Barbara Edith Haycock and Kelvin Henry Haycock.
Raymond Wehner. Sadly we have been unable to find any further information. Are you able to assist?
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”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection,' Dave Homewood Wings over New Zealand Forum, Evening Post other sources as quoted below: