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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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04th April 1943 485 squadron Spitfire Vb BM208 Sgt. Oxley

Operation: Circus

Date: 04th April 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 485 squadron (motto: Ka whawhai tonu = We will fight on'). 11 Group

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BM208

Code: OU-?

Base: RAF Westhampnett, Sussex

Location: English Channel

Pilot: Sgt. Herbert John Oxley NZ/412725 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 12:40 hrs on a close support for Venturas to Caen in France.

Intercepted on their return journey by enemy aircraft and shot down into the English Channel. The pilot was listed as missing without trace.

Another pilot also lost during this encounter 21 year old, Sgt. Maurice Edward Taylor 1237643 RAFVR flying Spitfire Vb BL435 DW-V with 610 squadron, also missing.

'A' Flight of Pilots course 16d, No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School, RNZAF Station Whenuapai.

L-R: Rear; Robert Albert Francis Woods NZ/411964 (killed 30th May 1943), Herbert John Oxley NZ/412725 (killed 04th April 1943), R Shorthouse,Stevenson NZ/412759, GO Whathall, Claude Theodore Vignoles Page NZ/412726, George William Sharman NZ/412746 (killed 07th September 1942)

Centre; Reginald John Forrest Reid NZ/412739, RG Webster, John Trevor Steele NZ/412277, Newall Currie Mason NZ/412790, John McAllister Torrance NZ/391568, LG Trott, DFT Sheehan, Ernest James Dyer NZ/402830.

Front; Robert Cecil Rainey NZ/412738, Ernest William Mottram NZ/412722 (killed 14th February 1942), James Derrick Philson NZ/412730 (killed 25th January 1943), Ronald Puttick NZ/412735, Noel Patrick Whaley NZ/412773 (killed 24th December 1944), Joel Treister NZ/412287 (killed 07th July 1942), Henry Sinclair Shearer NZ/412747 (killed 13th May 1943), Ian Douglas Prebble NZ/41186 (killed 28th April 1943).

Burial and personal details:

Sgt. Herbert John Oxley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 199. Also remembered on the Mount Roskill war memorial and his parents grave at Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden, Auckland. Born on the 05th April 1919 at Auckland. Worked as a progress engraver for Wilson Engineering Company of Auckland prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 04th May 1941. Initial training with No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School joining on the 15th June 1941. Carrying out his first solo flight on the 30th June 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 05th September 1941. Further training at No. 6 Service Flying Training School joining on 01st October 1941. Pilots badge awarded on the 02nd January 1942 and promoted to sergeant.

Embarked for England on the 24th January 1942. Further training with No. 57 Operational Training Unit joining on 28th April 1942. Attached to 164 squadron on the 01st July 1942 and carried out 7 operational sorties. Slightly injured in a crash on the 08th July 1942. Attached to 129 squadron on the 01st September 1942 and carried out a further 18 operational sorties. Finally joining 485 squadron on the 21st February 1943. Son of Hubert (died 09th April 1969, age 87) and Amelia Beatrice Oxley (nee Benjamin - died 12th May 1961, age 78), of Mount Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 381 flying hours logged and on his 35 operational sortie.

Sgt. Maurice Edward Taylor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 166. Son of Alfred and Anna Elizabeth Taylor, of Northfield, Birmingham, England.

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, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 28-04-2021

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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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