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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-1 Ventura NZ4609 F/O. Ernest Reginald Lloyd

Operation: Search for missing Ventura

Date: 10th June 1945 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 1 Squadron

Type: PV-1 Ventura

Serial: NZ4609

MSN: 6260

Base: RNZAF Emirau, St Matthias Group, Bismarck Archipelago

Location: New Ireland - see map.

Pilot: F/O. Ernest Reginald Lloyd NZ/4210923 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Clapham NZ/438295 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Allan James Hooper NZ/4212794 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael Tazewell Newton NZ/39404 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Gordon Russell Stratford NZ/4314271 RNZAF Age 20. Killed


Taking off to search for the crew of 1 squadron PV-1 Ventura NZ4613 flown by F/O. Norman Harold Benton NZ/428755 and his crew that had taken off at 07:25 hrs the previous day. They were part of a six group from 1 squadron detailed to attack Tobai dock and the to proceed on a leaflet drop over the east coast of New Ireland.

The only aircraft that failed to return. The wreckage was not discovered until November 1945 on a mountainside near Kimidam, inland from Lamerika. All five NZ crew and an Australian from the Intelligence Corps had been killed instantly and buried by the Japanese in graces close to the wreckage.

Above L-R: F/O. Ernest Lloyd, Fl/Sgt. Arthur Clapham, Fl/Sgt. Allan Hooper, Sgt. Michael Newton and Fl/Sgt. Gordon Stratford.

Taking off at 07:20 hrs with 7 others on the search for NZ4613.

NZ4609 was seen by other crews to be hit by flak while 175 feet above the east coast of New Ireland. Lost power on the starboard engine as a result, stalled and crashed and exploded on impact in the Rabulut Plantation by the village of Pal, 12½ miles ESE of Namatanai, at 08:36 hrs.

The five crew were buried near the scene by the Japanese, but later reinterred at Bourail, New Caledonia.

(Above courtesy David Newton)

Burial and other details:

F/O. Ernest Reginald Lloyd. Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.14. Born in Paeroa, Auckland, on March 29th 1913, Education at the Tauranga District High School. Enlisted on the 14th July 1940. Awarded the Flying Badge on the 01st November 1943. Son of Charles Edward Lloyd (died 07th May 1948 age 70), and Florence Louisa Lloyd (née Constant - died 16th August 1938, age 60) Of 2 Manella Flats, Kensington Avenue, it. Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Arthur Clapham. Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.15. Born at Lower Hutt on the 05th August, 1922. Educated at the local school. Employed by Turners and Growers Ltd, Wellington as a storeman-clerk. At the school of Navigation and Reconnaissance and gained his Air Navigator's badge, and promoted to Sergeant on the 21st November, 1944.Son of William Clapham (died 08th September 1965, age 75) and of Grace Evangeline Clapham (nee Walcroft - died 17th September 1963, age 77), of Wellington City, New Zealand. Husband of Edna May Clapham, of 254 Rintoul street, Berhampore, Wellington City.

Fl/Sgt. Allan James Hooper. Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.16. Born at Hamilton on 04th June 1923. Educated at Putaruru District High School and at Hamilton Technical College. Enlisted at Hobsonville in October 1942. Awarded his W/Op Badge and promoted to Sergeant on the 27th March 1943. Son of Leonard James Hooper and leonard May Hooper, of Tirau Road, Putaruru, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Michael Tazewell Newton. Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.17. Born at Christchurch on the 17th October, 1919. Education at Christ's College, Christchurch. Enlisted on the 20th November 1938, On the 08th December,1944, awarded his air gunner's badge and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Son of Robert Tazewell Newton and Agnes Eleanor Newton (née Talbot), of Bramdean, Amberley, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Gordon Russell Stratford. Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.18. Born at Waipukurau on the 15th May 1924. Educated at Wanganui Collegiate School. Employed as a farmer on his father's farm at Waipukurau. Enlisted in the Army on the 18th September, 1942, RNZAF on the 14th December 1943. Air Gunner's Badge and promoted on to Sergeant Woesf 08th December, 1944. Son of Vincent Woodhurst Stratford and Myrtle Elizabeth Stratford, of 'Roto-Hiwi', Waikuhurau, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

PV-1 Ventura NZ4613 Crew:

Above L-R: F/O. Norman Benton, Fl/Sgt. James Cunneen, W/O. Christopher Jeffares, Fl/Sgt. James Mallett and Sgt. Norman Merfield MiD.

Burial and other details:

F/O. Norman Harold Benton (29). Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.32. Born at Gisborne on the 22nd November 22nd 1915. Educated at Mount Albert Grammar School. Son of Harold Warren Benton and Mina Carlina Benton (nee Willish - died 21st October 1944), of Auckland City, New Zealand; husband of Lucy Monobel Benton, of 57 Marlborough Street, Mount Eden, Auckland City, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. James Noel Cunneen (22). Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.33. Born at Palmerston North on the 02nd February 1923. Educated for three years at Palmerston North Technical High School. Son of James Joseph Cunneen (died 13th September 1931, age 34) and of Mary Beatrice Cunneen (nee Tweeddale - died 01st May 1958, age 59), of 107 Shamrock Street, Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Robert Hugh McFarquhar Buchanan (28). Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.34. Born in Dunedin on the 06th December 1916. Educated at the Owaka District High School. Son of Robert Buchanan and Elsie Buchanan (nee Clark), of 93 Pomona Road, Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand.

W/O. Christopher Charles William Jeffares (25). Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.36. Born at Stratford on the 21st March 1920. Educated at Stratford Technical High School. Son of Benjamin (died 10th September 1964, age 70) and Ruth Amy Jeffares (died 22nd January 1983, age 82), of 2 Pembrake Street, Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand. His brother; Brian Charlton Jeffares, died on 21st October 1944 while flying with 37 Squadron, RAF.

Fl/Sgt. James George Gardiner Mallett (23). Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 5.35. Born at Waltara on the 4th October, 1921. Edicated at the New Plymouth Boys' High School. Son of William Arthur (died 27th October 1958) and Georgina Margaret Mallett (died 12th January 1968) of Bayly Street, Waitara, Taranaki, New Zealand.

Sgt. Norman Egerton Merfield MiD. (26). Rabaul Memorial. Panel 1. Australian Army Intelligence Corps. Born on the 30th April 1919 in Kojonup, Western Australia. Son of Thomas Stead Merfield (died 21st June 1924, age 46) and Mabel Augusta Merfield (née Egerton-Warburton - died 24th December 1978, age 94), of Kojonup, Western Australia.
MiD Notification - 06th March 1947:
'The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the abovementioned award to your late son, Sgt. Norman Egerton Merfield, in recognition of his dietinguished service whilat serving in the Australian Military Forces'.

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, Relatives of Michael Tazewell Newton for grave photograph.

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding 1945 losses
Pages detailing RNZAF losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 28-08-2023

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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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