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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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486 Squadron Crest
25.03.1945 486 Squadron Tempest V NV981 Fg Off. Kalka

Operation: Standing Patrol

Date: 25th March 1945 (Sunday)

Unit: 486 Squadron (motto: Hiwa hau Maka - Beware of the wild winds), 2nd Tactical Air Force

Type: Tempest V

Serial: NV981

Code: SA:A

Base: ALG B80 (Volkel)

Location: River Meuse, 3 miles NW of Grave, Netherlands

Pilot: Fg Off. William Arthur Kalka 415415 RNZAF Age 22. Killed


Research courtesy Errol Martyn:

Taking off at 14:30 hrs with another from the squadron and shot up enemy vehicles behind enemy lines in Germany. They then moved on to engage two light aircraft that had entered the area, shooting one down but NV981 was then hit by flak with controls damaged the pilot decided that rather than risk returning to base he drew away and baled out near the River Meuse 3 miles NW of Grave.

The Tempest continued to fly on before coming down on the north bank of the river near Niftrik. It is thought that the pilot struck the tailplane when he left the aircraft and came down in the river.

A young Dutch girl, Riet Jansen from Nijmegen went into the water fully clothed in an attempt to rescue the pilot. She managed to reach the pilot but could not disengage him from the parachute shrouds and it proved impossible to drag both to the shore in the current. She reluctantly was forced to let him go. His body was later recovered a few kilometres down river and buried on the 13th April at Uden.

When Riet regained the river bank she discovered that someone had stolen her bicycle. Sometime later a group of New Zealanders presented her with a new one in recognition of her courageous act.

The pilot escaped death a few months earlier flying Tempest EJ606 SA:U.

Burial details:

Plt Off. William Arthur Kalka. Uden War Cemetery. Grave: 6.F.8. Son of Richard John Kalka, and of Annie Kalka (née Boggs), of Grey Lynn, Auckland City, New Zealand. 642 flying hours logged and on his 186th operational sortie.

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks Errol Martyn and his research into New Zealand aircrew lost. Maurice Janssen Duijghuijsen - nephew of Riet Jansen (Aug 2017). Also to Auckland Cenotaph and Weekly News of New Zealand. Thank to Gerald Tebes for the correction of Grave being in the Netherlands (Mar 2022)

Other sources as quoted below:

RS 12.03.2022 - Correction to location of Grave, Netherlands

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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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