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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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SGR Vincent NZ315 P/O. Nigel Bracken Hirst Newton

Operation: Training

Date: 02nd April 1942 (Thursday)

Unit: No. School of General Reconnaissance

Type: Vincent

Serial: NZ315

Code: -

Base: RNZAF Omaka, New Zealand

Location: As described

Pilot: P/O. Nigel Bracken Hirst Newton NZ/414665 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

Obs: F/O. Patrick Howard McCawe NZ/402119 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC. Cyril Vincent Williams NZ/411307 RNZAF Age 22. Killed


Took off at 08:40 hrs. being one of seven Vincents engaged in an exercise with the target launch Lassie.

Thirty-five minutes into the flight NZ315 was seen to descend over Queen Charlotte Sound towards another launch, a half mile away from the target and en route from Tory Channel to Picton.

Diving on the launch from 400 feet, NZ315 flew over at mast height and 200 yards further on pulled up into a stall turn at 200 feet.

The nose dropped as the Vincent swung round 180° to starboard and dived straight into the sea some 50 yards forward of the launch, about a half mile west of Deiffenbach Light and 300 yards from shore. All three crew died, there bodies being found in the wreckage when it was retrieved two days later.

Above L-R: P/O. Nigel Newton, F/O. Patrick McCawe and LAC. Cyril Williams (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Burial details:

P/O. Nigel Bracken Hirst Newton. Christchurch Crematorium (Bromley). Grave 3R SS 2. Born in Wellington on 04th March 1910. Educated at Rangiora High School. Enlisted at the Initial Training Wing, Levin, on the 17th August 1941. Awarded the Flying Badge on the 20th December 1941. Commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer on the 31st January 1942. On the 03rd March P/O. Newton was posted to Omaka for a course at the School of General Reconnaissance.

Son of Arthur (died 22nd February 1939, age 70) and Margaret Newton (née Hirst - died 01st August 1932, age 55). of Rangiora, Canterbury. Husband of Monica Newton (née Hutchison, later Weston), father of David Bracken Newton (died 20th September 1946, age 5).of 24 Percival street, Rangiora, Christchurch, New Zealand.

F/O. Patrick Howard McCawe. Wellington Cemetery (Karori). Grave 100. Z.R. Born in Wellington on the 02nd December 1916, Educated at Otago Boys' High School. Enlisted on the 20th July 1940 at Levin. For observer badge awarded on the 10th December 1940 and commissioned. On the 07th March F/O. McCawe was posted to Omaka for a course at the School of General Reconnaissance.

Son of Patrick John/ (died 08th October 1953, age 73) and Cecelia Agnes McCawe (née Mcintyre) - died 26th June 1939, age 53), of Wellington City, New Zealand.

LAC. Cyril Vincent Williams. Auckland Cemetery( Waikumete). Prot. Soldiers Area G, Row 5, Grave 60. Born on the 17th February 1920 in Frankton. A store man for National Electric Company in Auckland. Enlisted at Harewood on the 21st February 1941. Posted to Omaka for a course at the School of General Reconnaissance on the 23rd December 1941. (hospital/sick leave 15th December - 09th January 1942),

Son of Walter Wilfred and May Blanche Williams, of St. Heliers, Auckland City, New Zealand.

Above as described. L-R: Rear; M.R Muir, H.V Hampton, J.R Kingan, B. Glanville, N.B.H Newton, D.S.B Brown, B.S Thomson, H.A Mullins, E.T Schmidt, G.R Wilson, J.R Rogers, W.T.B Scott.

Centre; N.R Crompton, R.A Husband, C.A O'Halloran, D.R Chapman, A.J.C Rogers, S.C Brown, G.R Gould, J.R Petrie, J.A Scott, J. Thom, J.H McDonald.

Front; A. Divers, R.J Cammock, J.G Beckett, J.G Claydon, L.A Henderson, W.A Cook, J.A McConnell, A .Wealleans, R.J Glennie, D.S Warlow. (Courtesy Air Museum of 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 pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding training accident losses

Pages detailing RNZAF losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 05-10-2023

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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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