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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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1 Squadron (NZ) PV-I Ventura NZ4575 F/O. Selwyn Charles Houghton

Operation: Transit Flight

Date: 10th October 1944 (Tuesday) (note)

Unit: No. 1 Squadron (NZ) (motto: 'With Vigilance We Serve')

Type: PV-I Ventura

Serial: NZ4575

Code: -

Base: Henderson Field, Guadalcanal

Location: Longu Mission, Solomon Islands

Pilot: F/O. Selwyn Charles Houghton NZ/416494 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed

Obs: W/O. Joseph Robert Crisp NZ/413384 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Geoffrey Francis Robins NZ/412461 Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. Albert Leslie Douglas NZ/424971 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Francis Edward Larnach NZ/422009 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed


PV-1 Ventura NZ4575 - flew to Espiritu Santo on a weather flight and after an overnight stay took off from Pallikulo at 06:00 hrs for Henderson Field, but failed to arrive. Last heard from at 08:55 hrs. when flying in bad weather which also prevented search aircraft from taking off from Henderson Field until 15:44 hrs.

Early the following afternoon a Corsair pilot sighted NZ4575's burnt-out wreckage 800 feet up a jungle-covered hill about a mile inland on the SW coast of Guadalcanal and a mile NW of the Longu Mission.

A local missionary later reported that he had heard the Ventura hit the hill and explode; it had apparently been attempting to make a landfall in poor visibility.

He had the remains of the crew buried in a common grave on the brow of a hill overlooking the Avu Avu Mission Church, and erected a wooden cross over it.

After hostilities the precise location of the grave could not be located and the five airmen are commemorated on the Bourail Memorial.

Above L-R: F/O. Selwyn Houghton, W/O. Joseph Crisp, W/O. Geoffrey Robins, W/O. Albert Douglas and Fl/Sgt. Francis Larnach. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

(note) The CWGC incorrectly list the crew as missing on the 09th October 1944.

Above: Avu Avu Mission

Burial details:

Known to be buried near Ayu Ayu Mission Church, near Guadalcanal, and whose grave is now lost. The members of his squadron erected a cross to the memory of the crew in the Avu Avu Mission Church. It bears the inscription: 'Erected to the memory of the crew of NZ 4575, by their comrades of the No.1 B.R. Squadron, RNZAF'.

F/O. Selwyn Charles Houghton. Bourail Memorial. Panel 4. Born on the 12th July 1916 in Auckland. Educated at Fairfield School and Hamiton High School. Enlisted at Levin on the 30th November, 1941. Awarded his wings on the 5th May, 1942. Commissioned in April 1944. Son of Roland Paul Houghton (died 14th January 1937, age 65) and of Ellen Ada Houghton (née Jacka - died 07th August 1944, age 59). Husband of Doreen Elizabeth Houghton (née Stanford), of 8 Rawenga Road, St. Heliers East, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 1245 flying hours logged with 153 on the Ventura. On his third South Pacific tour.

W/O. Joseph Robert Crisp. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Born on the 13th March 1916 in Oamaru. Educated at Lincoln School, Christchurch Technical, Riverton High and West Christchurch High School. Enlisted at Levin on the 14th June 1941. Air Observers badge on 23rd May 1942 and promoted to flight sergeant. Joined 1 squadron on the 19th April 1944. Son of John Daniel (died 13th May 1945)and Barbara Ellen Crisp (née Morrison - died 16th April 1920, age 31) of Blenheim. His father married again in 1924 to Lily Crisp (née Davies - died 29th May 1957, age 65). Husband of Mavis Lorna Crisp (née Wheeler - died 30th January 2007, age 88), father of one daughter, of 2 Kaimata Street, Brooklands, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 904 flying hours logged. On his second South Pacific tour.

W/O. Geoffrey Francis Robins. Bourail Memorial. Panel 6. Born on the 26th July 1922 in Temuka. Educated at Timaru Boys High School. Enlisted on the 10th April, 1941. Awarded the Wireless Operator Air Gunner Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 02nd March 1942. Joined 1 squadron on the 19th April 1944. Son of Leonard Frederick Robins (died 1963) and Cecelia Robins (née Wareing - died 1941), of Temuka, Canterbury, New Zealand. Husband of Louise Cecilia Robins (née Parker), of 18 Raynor Street, Temuka, New Zealand. A total of 1390 flying hours logged. On his third South Pacific tour.

W/O. Albert Leslie Douglas. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Born on the 13th March 1921 in Havelock. Enlisted on the 16th March 1942 in Rotorua. Air gunner badge awarded on the 01st February 1943 and promoted to sergeant. Joined 1 squadron on the 26th August 1943, after trying in both Canada and New Zealand. Son of Kenneth William Thornton Douglas (died 27 May 1964 age 68) and Agnes May Douglas (née Simon - died 02nd July 1996, age 94), of Upper Atiamuri, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 465 flying hours logged. On his second South Pacific tour.

Fl/Sgt. Francis Edward Larnach. Bourail Memorial. Panel 6. Born on the 13th November 1920 in Wellington. Educated at the Whatman School, Masterton and at Wairarapa College. Enlisted on the 21st March 1942 at Rotorua. Air gunner badge awarded on the 31st May 1943 and promoted to sergeant. Son of Donald Larnach (died 27th June 1969, age 81) and Ethel Larch (née Hague - died 04th February 1931, age 45) of Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 427 flying hours logged. On his second South Pacific tour.

Above as described, some identified:

L-R: Rear; William Dudley Holmes, H.W Benge, William Maxwell Mulholland, John Daniel O'Driscoll, W.J Porter, Thomas Desmond Brewer, Brian Charlton Jeffares, W.B Lambert, Godfrey William Allen, R.H Lowry.
3rd row; Robert Balfour Johnston, J.R Zaney, W.E Burgess, R.H Trangmar, James Barnard Turner, J.B Monk, A.M Wilkinson, Keith Alexander McGregor, R.I Graham, T.B Watt.
2nd row; G.B McLeod, M. Jenkins, R.W Galley, Selwyn Charles Houghton, C.C Trugland, A. Cruikshank, John Edward Rule, John Henry Roy Carey, Russell William Gash, E.W Briggs.
Front; R.W Jury, S. Mogford, A.L Henry, J.C Smith, J.E Cambourne, William John Henry Henley, T.K Parker, S.M White, T.M Tredrea, A.E Caisley, John Phillip Wilson, H.A Hogg. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

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”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, National Archive.

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding accident losses

Pages detailing RNZAF Losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 15-09-2023

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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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