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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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1 Flying Instructors Schoo Oxford I R6059 Sgt. Stanley Leonard Portman

Operation: Training

Date: 03/04th August 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 1 Flying Instructors School. 23 Group

Type: Oxford I

Serial: R6059

Code: -

Base: RAF Church Lawford, Warwickshire

Location: Warwick Landing Ground

Pilot: Sgt. Stanley Leonard Portman NZ/413989 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Pilot: Sgt. Henry Thomas Ridler Aus/78908 RAAF Age 28. Seriously injured (1)


During a circuit and landing exercise whilst landing at 00:30 hrs on a relief landing ground at Warwick, 2 miles west of Leamington bounced heavily and began to overshoot. At 150 feet the flaps were raised prematurely, causing R6059 to lose height and collided with a tree.

Statement of Sgt. Ridler:

I was night flying training as detailed with Sgt. Portman In an Oxford Trainer No. R6059, who was flying from the right-hand seat I was the captain in the left-hand seat. On the fourth approach to land, Sgt. Portman decided to go round again due to being at an angle to the flare path and approaching too close to No. 2 and 3 flares. He carried out the necessary overshoot procedure, but the speed was low and I assisted by a little forward pressure on the control column and tightened the throttle met.

As he seemed to have difficulty I assumed control, checking the vital actions. and getting the speed correct. The aircraft was now heading to the port of the original heading. I had hardly taken over when we crashed, into some trees, as I found out when I was able to unstrap myself and free my left foot. I called for help and directed the rescue party to come to the scene and was taken to the hospital.

Burial and personal details:

Sgt. Stanley Leonard Portman. Rugby Cemetery (Whinfield), Sec. A. Grave 4. Born on the 08th February 1918 in Dunedin. A clerk for the P and T Department in Wellington. Enlisted at Levin on the 08th July 1941 as a pilot under training. With No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School on the 16th August 1941. No. 1 Flying Training School 27th September 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 08th November 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 20th December 1941. Embarked for England on the 20th of January 1942. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 10th March 1942. 6 Pilot Advanced Training Unit 10th March 1942. With 1513 Beam Approach Training Flight 16-22nd May. With No. 1 Flying Instructor School 01st July 1942. Son of Alec Innes Portman (died 19th July 1963, age 63) and Barbara Portman (née Smith - died 19th November 1956, age 71), of Ravensbourne, Otago, New Zealand.

Above - L-R: Rear; Brian Patrick Fitzgerald, M.L Bailey, Roy Ledlay Brabant, Peter Francis Locker Hall, Ralph Leopold Jones, Wallace Roy Mansill, A.S Lawson, J.P Riddell, William Ian Lindsay, I.W Spiers, Henry Desmond Lock.

Centre; B.H Gordon, Ronald Stephen Brooker, A.H Knewstubb, John Corfe Evison, Charles Henry Gunn, Albert Aubrey Beer, A.L Parlane, Ronald William Lornie, Neil James McCook, L.W Tabor, D.W Riddler, I.I Manson.

Front; Vickers Kitchener Cairns, T.H Alexander, Lawrence Edgar, Paul Windermere Wilson Brunton, T.H Cockerill, Stanley Leonard Portman, A.J Whitman, William George Judson, Donald Stuart Oldridge, John Robert Powell. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand

(1) Earlier whilst a LAC, Henry Thomas Ridler was the pilot of Anson R3561 on a solo navigation exercise from RAAF Amberley to Maryborough. The starboard engine malfunctioned whilst at 4,000 ft. He force landed the aircraft two miles east of Gympie. The Anson hit a tree branch and tore away the undercarriage. He walked away unscathed and telephoned the Amberley Duty Pilot, arrangements then being made for the immediate despatch of an Air Force guard and recovery crew. An Air Force ground crew spent the next couple of days dismantling and loading the damaged aircraft.

Above as described. (Courtesy of the Ipswich Library collection)

Henry Ridler was born in London on the 04th July 1914, England and emigrated to Australia in 1925. Enlisted in Brisbane. Henry eventually recovered from his injuries, spending the next two years flying non-operationally with the RAF in a variety of combat and training aircraft. Consistently graded as an above-average pilot, he finally received his first operational posting in 1945, spending the rest of the war flying Lancaster bombers (with 101 and 582 Squadrons) on Pathfinder and electronic counter-measure operations against Germany.

Ted Ridler settled in Sherwood (Brisbane) after the war and resumed his pre-war vocation as a technical trade instructor.

Nine months after its retrieval from Gympie it was damaged again when struck by another aircraft taking off at Amberly. Barely a month later the same aircraft crashed during a storm, in South Australia on the 13th May 1942, killing its twenty-one-year-old pilot, LAC. David Alwyen Checchi Aus/409511 RAAF. The

LAC. David Alwyn Checchi. Willaura Cemetery. C. of E. Plot. Row B. Grave 5. (GRM/3). Born on the 02nd November 1920 in Willaura. Son of Dr. Cyril Checchi (died 14th May 1997, age 104) and Frances Suddaby Checchi (died 06th March 1984, age 88), of Willaura, Australia.

Above - Rear L-R: 409327 Arthur Edwin Skirving; 409515 Ivan William Conway; 409517 Albert James Corkill; 9183 Gordon Cashmore; 409512 Ernest Austin Christian; 409510 Arthur John Carmody (died of illness 6 May 1947); 409498 Robert Hazelton Allen; 409497 Harold James Boal (killed on operations over Holland 31 January 1944); 409507 Royston Richard Cameron (killed on operations over Germany 22 March 1945); 409504 Thomas Burrowes (killed on operations over New Guinea 14 December 1943); and 409505 John Dennis Byrne.

Centre: 409501 Herbert Ivey Bradbury; 409496 Jack Gordon Stewart Bell (died in an accident 2 January 1943); 409489 Gordon Andrews; 409523 Maurice Dewar; 409511 David Alwyn Checchi (died in an accident in South Australia 13 May 1942); 409508 Ernest Thompson Cappi; 409519 Gregory James Black (killed on operations over north west Europe 3 April 1943); 409522 Thomas George Dellar (killed on operations over France 12 June 1943); 409520 William John Cameron; 409518 Eric Lawrence Coutts (discharged 10 April 1942); 409490 Thomas William Carlyon Angove (discharged 28 September 1944); and 409493 Ernst Marcel Baints.

Front: 409516 Beresford William Browne; 409524 Richard Woodfull Eades; 409487 Andrew William Allan; 409486 Gilbert Francis Ackland (discharged 5 December 1941); 409494 John Barton; 409514 William Charles Comerford; possibly 26704 Albert Henry Gray; 409506 Murray Cameron Caffyn (died as a POW in Germany 27 October 1943); 409509 Henry William Carew; 409492 Bertram Henry Armstrong; 409491 Kenneth Munro Anquetil; 409513 Ian Ferguson Clement; and 409488 Ian Wray Anderson. (Courtesy Australian War Memorial)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks 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, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Queensland Police, Australia, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17-07-2022

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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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