26th February 1942 256 Squadron Defiant I T3995 Sgt. Joyce
Date: 26th February 1942 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 256 Squadron (motto: Addimus vim viribus - 'strength to strength'). 9 Group
Type: Defiant I
Base: RAF Squires Gate, Lancashire
Location: At airfield
Pilot: Sgt. Francis William Joyce NZ/404376 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Gordon Fitzgerald Walden NZ/402117 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Carrying out circuits and landing training.
At 20:05 hrs under extreme weather conditions the aircraft stalled approach to the airfield crashed and caught fire. Both of the young New Zealand pilots were killed.
Burial and personal details:
Sgt. Francis William Joyce. Lytham St Anne's (Park) Cemetery. Sec. D. Nonconformist. Grave 729. Born on the 02nd July 1919 at New Plymouth. Worked as a fireman at Wanganui prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 23rd November 1940. Embarked for trining in Canada on the 29th April 1941. Awarded his pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 08th August 1941. Joined 256 squadron from 60 Operational Training Unit on the 10th February 1942. Son of Frank Joyce and of Annie Maud Joyce (nee Mitchell), of Wanganui, New Zealand. A total of 196 flying hours logged with 150 solo and 48 on the Defiant.
Fl/Sgt. Gordon Fitzgerald Walden. Lytham St Anne's (Park) Cemetery. Sec. D. Nonconformist. Grave 730. Born on the 13th November 1915 at Foxten. Worked as a storeman at Wanganui prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 28th July 1940. Awarded his air gunners badge and promoted to sergeant on the 21st September 1941. Embarked for England on the 06th October 1940. Joined 256 squadron from 60 Operational Training Unit where it is thought he was an instructor. on the 16th December 1942. Son of Richard and Ada Evelyn Walden (nee Fitzgerald) and husband of Vera Olive Walden (nee Mooney, later Chalk) of 60 Jellicoe Street, Wanganui, New Zealand. Half brother (mothers side) to Fl/Lt. Cecil Todd NZ/411795 RNZAF. Killed on the 05th May 1944 whilst with 7 squadron. Further details here. A total of 222 flying hours logged. Completed 16 operational sorties. Credited with one enemy aircraft as damaged.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below: