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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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4 squadron
4 Squadron (NZ) Hudson IIIA NZ2044 / NZ2066 Fl/Lt. Lange / F/O. Baird

Operation: Transit flight

Date: 20th August 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 4 Squadron (NZ) (motto: 'Always attack')

Type: Hudson IIIA

Serial: NZ2044 / NZ2066

Code: -

Base: RNZAF Nausori, Viti Levu, Fiji

Location: South Pacific Ocean


NZ2044 Capt: Fl/Lt. Wilbur Lange NZ402875 RNZAF Age 30. Missing - believed killed

Sgt. George Arthur Bryant NZ/4215112 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

P/O. Kenneth Brian Marshall NZ/2124 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed

F/O. David Oliphant Stewart NZ/413901 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed


NZ2066 Capt: F/O. Norman Kitchener Baird NZ/42356 RNZAF Age 27. Missing - believed killed

P/O. Ivan Russell Johnson NZ/4217035 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed


NZ2044 P/O. Kenneth Alexander Ross NZ/431296 RNZAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed

NZ2066 Sgt. Robert Bruce Gillespie NZ/427421 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Hartley Ward NZ/421376 RNZAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed


NZ2044 F/O. Jack Andrew Olsen NZ/41184 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

F/O. Sydney Philip Aldridge NZ/421956 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

NZ2066 W/O. Arthur Francis Dunstan NZ/414907 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Sgt. Thomas Briton Carey NZ/4312171 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Adj: F/O. John Thomson Waugh NZ/1699 RNZAF Age 44. Missing - believed killed


Two aircraft were part of a formation of seven Hudsons which left Nausori, Fiji, at approximately 06.10 hrs. on Sunday were listed as missing.

The group flew in formation for half the route, when they ran into very thick clouds at 20.000 ft (forecasted 12,000 ft) and, in accordance with standard procedure in such conditions, they broke formation and continued individually. Five of the aircraft arrived in New Zealand, landing between 13.30 and 13.52 hrs.

As far as is known no distress signals were sent from the missing aircraft. They had the maximum fuel capacity, sufficient for flying until 16.30 hrs on Sunday afternoon, and when they failed to arrive at that time arrangements were made for an extensive search.

At the first light of Monday morning, twelve long-range aircraft carried out parallel searches along the likely routes of the missing aircraft, fanning out in the area in which it was assumed the aircraft might have come down, but without success. The search is being continued today.

In addition to the Hudson aircraft, two Catalina's flying boats flew from Fiji to New Zealand on Sunday.

investigators concluded that NZ2044 and N2206 crashed in the sea when the pilots lost consciousness, or perhaps collided.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Wilbur Lange. Bourail Memorial. Panel 3. Born on the 23rd June 1914 on Auckland. Son of William George (died 10th October 1965, age 88) and Elsie Edith Lange (née Fergusson - died 31st December 1967, age 73), of Auckland City. Husband of Trixie Lange (née Tisch - later Long), father of one child of 3 Highwick Avenuel, Auckland City, New Zealand.

Sgt. George Arthur Bryant. Bourail Memorial. Panel 7. Born on the 24th October 1921 in Newcastle New South Wales, Australia. Son of William and Maude Ethel Bryant, of 9 Ndaio Street, Orakei, Auckland, New Zealand.

P/O. Kenneth Brian Marshall. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Born on the 06th November 1922 in Inglewood. Son of William George (died 17th July 1967, age 80) and Myra Alison Marshall (née Stohr - died 06th September 1977, age 83), of 29 Camberwell Road, Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand.

F/O. David Oliphant Stewart. Bourail Memorial. Panel 4. Born on the 13th November 1915 in Carterton. Son of Hector Halhead Stewart (died 11th February 1950, age 61) and Evelyn Constance Stewart (née Wakelin - died 01st September 1996, age 106), of 24 Matai Road, Greenlane, Auckland City, New Zealand.

F/O. Norman Kitchener Baird. Bourail Memorial. Panel 3. Born on the 25th September 1916 in Myross Bush. Son of Robert Baird (died 12th December 1943, age 79) and Margaret Baird (died 20th November 1943, age 69). Husband of Edith Frances Helen Baird (néeHinds). Brother of L/Cpl. Charles Edward Baird Killed in action 28th October 1942, age 41, Evaline Jane Baird (died 25th September 1999, age 96), of 75 Pomona Street, Invercargill, New Zealand.

P/O. Ivan Russell Johnson. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Born on the 07th August 1923 in Auckland. Son of Olive Benson Johnson and of Ella May Johnson (née Belsham), of 12 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

P/O. Kenneth Alexander Ross. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Born on the 11th February 1925 in Hastings. Son of Leslie Ross and of Phyllis Ross (née Tibbits), of 46 Brougham Street, Wellington City, New Zealand.

Sgt. Robert Bruce Gillespie. Bourail Memorial. Panel 7. Born on the 28th October 1920 in Dunedin. Son of Robert and Catherine Gillespie, of 22 St. Pauls Street, Auckland City, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Hartley Ward. Bourail Memorial. Panel 7. Born on the 22nd September 1911 in Quorn, South Australia. Son of Thomas Hartley and Mary Elizabeth Ward (née Griffen) of Auckland, New Zealand. His next of kin were friends Mesdames I. and E. Partridge, 15 Tuhimata Road, Auckland, New Zealand.

F/O. Jack Andrew Olsen. Bourail Memorial. Panel 4. Born on the 14th May 1919 in Napier. Son of Andrew Angus Olsen and of Ethel Olsen (née Ryan). Husband of Evelyn Iris Olsen (née Dollan), of 4 Haigh Avenue, Dominion Rad, Addington, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

F/O. Sydney Philip Aldridge. Bourail Memorial. Panel 3. Born on the 16th June 1920 in Te Kuiti. Son of Arthur Norman (died 20th August 1970, age 84) and Lillian Gertrude Aldridge (née Maule - died 14th August 1977, age 84). Husband of Shirley Amelia Aldridge (née Jenkins), of 4 Somerset Road, Mount Roskill, Auckland City, New Zealand.

W/O. Arthur Francis Dunstan. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Born on the 10th May 1919 in Gisborne. Son of Thomas John Dunstan (died 1993) and of Mary Louise Dunstan (née Morris - died 1954). Husband of florence Frances Dunstan (née Hardaker) and father of one daughter, of 3 Ruskin Street, Somerfield, Parnell, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Sgt. Thomas Briton Carey. Bourail Memorial. Panel 7. Born on the 09th March 1922 in Auckland. Son of Thomas Frank and Florence Carey (née McKendrick), of 24 Jessel Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

F/O. John Thomson Waugh. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Born on the 08th December 1899 in Invercargill. Son of John and Mary Isobel Waugh (née Thomson). Husband of Ellen Mary Frances Waugh (née Nash) and father of one daughter, of 'Murrayfield', 42 Tinakori Road, Wellington City, 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 sources as quoted below:

See other New Zealand losses.

KTY 25-12-2022

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