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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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10/11th May 1940 17 OTU Blenheim IV L4889 P/O. McFarland

Operation: Training

Date: 10/11th May 1940 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 17 Operational Training Unit. 6 Group

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: L4889

Code: -

Base: RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire (Formerly Huntingdonshire)

Location: Green Dyke, near Upwood

Pilot: P/O. Grenville James McFarland 42413 RAF Age 20. Killed


Taking off on a solo night circuits and landings exercise his first at night.

During approach to the airfield at 22:40 hrs after 3 hours of practice suddenly dived in from 1000 ft into the ground at Green Dyke, near Upwood.

Burial details:

P/O. Grenville James McFarland. Bury Cemetery. Row A. Grave 21. Born on the 25th December 1915 at Auckland. A student of Nelson College when he was head prefect. A member of the RNZAF Civil Reserve as a pilot at the Marlborough Aero Club. Obtained his 'A' licence on the 14th March 1938. Logged 40 hors flying time prior to RAF. Selected for RAF short service commission and embarked for England on the 06th May 1939 arriving on the 08th June 1939. Attached to No. 9 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School at RAF Ansty for further pilot training. Awarded his pilot badge on the 19th August 1939. Joined 17 Operational Training Unit on the 08th April for conversion training on the Blenheim. Son of James Andrew McFarland, and of Clarice Karina McFarland (nee Clayton, later Gilbert), of Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand. A total of 127 solo flying hours logged.

There are 3 other New Zealand aircrew all from the same unit buried in this cemetery:

12 August 1941: 24 year old, P/O. Ronald Peter Bell NZ/402841 Blenheim IV L1245 flown by 21 year old, P/O. Walter Edgar Anthony Wand 84312 RAF, 25 year old, Sgt. Evan Aneurin Davies 1375288 shot down by Hptm. Rolf Bussmann flying a Ju88. Further details here. (Shown right)

28 August 1940: 20 year old, P/O. Henry Michael Hoadley NZ/39919 flying Blenheim IV L9262 Solo. crashed shortly after take off 21:45 hrs. (33 killed from 17 OTU in 1940 with 26 aircraft destroyed) (

14 December 1940: 27 year old, Sgt. Alfred James Victor Secker NZ/40743 Blenheim IV L4835 flown by 19 year old, Sgt. Ian Munro Curror with 20 year old, Sgt. John Pinchard as W/Op/Air/Gnr. All 3 crew killed when in poor visibility crashed into the side of Titterstone Clee Hill. (41 killed from 17 OTU IN 1941 with 41 aircraft destroyed)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot 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:

KTY 12-05-2021

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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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