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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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488 Squadron Crest
02.04.1943 No. 488 Squadron Beaufighter VIF X8623 P/O. O'Gara

Operation: Training

Date: 02nd April 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No. 488 Squadron. 13 Group (motto: Ka ngarue ratau - 'We shake them')

Type: Beaufighter VIF

Serial: X8623

Code: ME-?

Base: RAF Ayr, Ayreshire, Scotland

Location: Balig Farm, Ayr

Pilot: P/O. Rupert Clark O'Gara NZ/414327 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Nav: P/O. Derrick Gordon Masters 143873 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Taking off at 14:55 on a train exercise.

Shortly afterwards in very poor visibility flew into a hill killing both the crew.

488 Squadron reformed on the 25th June 1942 at RAF Church Fenton, Yorkshire, as a night fighter 'intruder' unit equipped with Beaufighters. In its night fighter incarnation, 488 Squadron flew 2899 sorties, shot down 67 aircraft and, in its intruder role, destroyed 40 trains. Pilots were awarded 5 DFCs, a DSO and an AFC. (Information courtesy Wikipedia)

Burial details:

Buried next to one another and sharing the family headstone of his navigator.

P/O. Rupert Clark O'Gara. Knighton Cemetery. Row K. Grave 72. Born on the 02nd December 1919 at Auckland, the son of Herbert Austin and Emily O'gara (née Clark) Prior to service worked as salesman for James Stenberg Ltd. 413 Flying hours logged - 100 on the Beaufighter. Grave inscription: "God tested them and found them worthy of Himself".

P/O. Derrick Gordon Masters. Knighton Cemetery. Row K. Grave 71. Born on the 13th June 1921 at Knighton, the son of Major Charles Albert and Dorothy Gertrude Masters (née Styles), of Penybont Road , Knighton, Radnorshire, Wales. Derrick had joined the squadron just three weeks previously.Grave inscription: "God tested them and found them worthy of Himself".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, also to Terry Drayton for grave photograph. Terry has a great website on the village of Knighton with some very interesting information. Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17.08.2019

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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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