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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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2 Squadron RNZAF Vincent NZ357 P/O. Vernon Wellington Raymond

Operation: Training

Date: 02nd April 1941 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 2 Squadron RNZAF (motto: Whakatopa Kai Mate - 'We Swoop To Kill')

Type: Vincent

Serial: NZ357

Code: -

Base: Nelson, New Zealand

Location: Pelorus River, near Nelson

Pilot: P/O. Vernon Wellington Raymond NZ/402213 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Mechanic: AC.1. James Edward Murphy NZ/401325 RNZAF Age 31. Killed


Aircraft history:

Previously K6353, ex RAF stocks (type 266). Assembled at No. 1 Aircraft Depot and BOC Hobsonville on 06 December 1939. With No.2 GR Squadron, Nelson 1940-1941.

Whilst returning from a formation exercise from Omaka suffered an engine failure at 15:00 hrs.

The pilot force landed in the bush at the head of the Pelorus River a few miles from a sawmill.

Later, another aircraft dropped a message at the home of Mr. G. Acton which was located about a mile from the crash site.

The message appealed for a local search party to be formed. This was done and one of the less severely injured from the crash, Cpl. J. Watt met up with them and guided them to the crash site where they found the pilot and one other crew member dead. The other survivor Cpl. E. Whitely had suffered a broken leg and was brought out over a bridal track to Mr. Acton's house then on to the Public Hospital at Nelson.

It was later revealed that a blockage in the feed pipe from the fuel tank caused the engine failure. It is understood that parts of the aircraft are now held at the RNZAF Museum in Wigram.

Burial details:

P/O. Vernon Wellington Raymond. Nelson Cemetery. (Wakapuaka). Grave 7.48. Born on the 06th October 1915 at Fairlie. Educated at Wairarapa High School. Worked as an accountant for Levin Company in Wellington. Enlisted at Levin on the 28th of July 1940. With No, 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 25th August 1940. No. 2 Flying Training School on the 26th October 1940. Pilots badge was awarded on the 17th of January 1941 and commissioned on the 08th of February 1941. Joined 2 squadron on the 17th February 1941 Son. of Vernon Sharpe Raymond and Renina Winifred Raymond (née Foster, of Fairlie, Canterbury and husband of Patricia Mary Raymond(née Reynolds) of Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 150 flying hours solo with 49 on the Vincent.

AC 1. James Edward Murphy. Nelson Cemetery. (Wakapuaka). Grave 5.48. Born on the 23rd January 1910 at Napier. Educated at Naier Technical College. An electrical engineer for Napier Borough Council. Enlisted at Levin on the 17th May 1940 Joined 2 squadron as a wireless electrical mechanic on the 01st January 1941. Son of James and Margaret Murphy and husband of Elizabeth Winifred Mary Murphy (née Briscoe - later Tilly), of Hataitai, Wellington.

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, MystikNZ for grave photographs, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 03-06-2022

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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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