25th March 1942 1 OADU Wellington Ic AD640 Sgt. McNeill
Operation: Ferry Flight
Date: 25th March 1942 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 1 Overseas Aircraft Dispatch Unit. 44 Group
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Portreath, Cornwall
Location: Alboran Sea
Pilot: Sgt. Henry John McNeill NZ/405324 RNZAF Age 25. Killed
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Ernest Clarke NZ/402539 RNZAF Age 26. injured (1)
Obs: Sgt. Reginald Raymond Pole 992735 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert O'Donnell 1309519 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William John Lambie 990530 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Thomas Ward 1379450 RAFVR Age 33. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On a ferry flight from England leaving on the 22nd March to the Middle East via Gibraltar. Taking off at 12:35 hrs an immediately suffered a starboard engine failure.
The aircraft crashed into the Alboran Sea 1000 yards off North Front in Gibraltar. Fl/Sgt. John Clarke survived, slightly injured spent two hours in the water before being rescued.
Sgt. Henry McNeill who had previously served with 15 Operational Training Unit had been posted to the Middle East and was making his way there via the Overseas Aircraft Dispatch Unit.
(1) Fl/Sgt. John Ernest Clarke killed on Sunday the 30th May 1943 whilst with 10 squadron. Flying Halifax II DT787 ZA-S when shot down on an operation to Wuppertal over Dortmund - all 7 crew killed.
Sgt. Henry John McNeill. Gibraltar Cemetery. (North Front). Plot 2. Row C. Joint grave 2. Born on the 14th December 1916 at Wellington. Worked as a truck driver for J.A. Brown carriers of Walaniwa prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 24th December 1940. Embarked for training in Canada on the 29th April 1941. Pilots badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the on the 08th August 1941. Embarked for England on the 20th August 1941. Trained with 15 Operational Training Unit. Son of Peter and Frances Christina McNeill (née Roy), of Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 120 flying hours logged with 60 on the Wellington.
Fl/Sgt. John Ernest Clarke. Later: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 3 D 10-13. Born on the 10th June 1915 in London, England. Worked as a commercial traveller for Levin and Company of Masterton prior to service. After serving in the NZ territorial Army for two years enlisted on the 11th June 1940 in the RNZAF in New Plymouth. Embarked for training in Canada on the 29th April 1941. Pilots badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the on the 08th August 1941. Embarked for England on the 20th August 1941. Trained with 15 Operational Training Unit. Son of Reginald Norman and Jessie Amelia Clarke of 17 Jeans Street, Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 481 flying hours logged and on his 6th operational sortie - this the 1st with 10 squadron.
Sgt. Reginald Raymond Pole. Gibraltar Cemetery. (North Front). Plot 2. Row C. Joint grave 1. Son of Ernest William and Harriet Elizabeth Pole, of Manton, Nottinghamshire, England. Grave inscription: 'My Dear Son Reginald. A Beautiful Memory Dearer Than Gold. Dad'.
Sgt. Robert O'Donnell. Gibraltar Cemetery. (North Front). Plot 2. Row C. Joint grave 1. No further details, are you able to assist?
Sgt. William John Lambie. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 87. Son of James Cockburn Lambie and Annie Lambie, of Glasgow, Scotland.
Sgt. Reginald Thomas Ward. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 96. Son of Reginald Thomas Ward and Lilian Ward; husband of Winifred Victoria Ward of 22 Queens Gardens, Peterborough, England. Also remembered on the Peterborough War Memorial
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: