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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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rnzaf
16 (NZ) Squadron Corsair F41-1 NZ5329 Sgt. Neville Rowlands

Operation: Strike Support

Date: 15th September 1944 (Friday)

Unit: No. 16 (NZ) Squadron

Type: Vought Corsair F41-1

Serial: NZ5329

Code: -

Base: Torokina, Bougainville, Solomon Islands

Location: Torokina airstrip

Pilot: Sgt. Neville Rowlands NZ426710 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Returning from the combined 16 and 21 squadron strike was one of two aircraft instructed to land. Both of which were closely followed by others from 22 squadron Corsairs

Sgt. Neville Rowlandfinallys (Courtesy Graeme Rowlands)

On final approach collided with Fl/Sgt. William Jardine NZ/4217078 flying F4U-1 Corsair NZ5237 of 22 squadron. Both aircraft crashed at 09:15 hrs on the western end of the airstrip - killing both pilots.

Above left: Torokina, Bougainville - shaded areas show Japanese-occupied territory. Right: Torokina beach. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Burial and other details:

Both pilots were initially buried at the Empress Augusta Bay American War Cemetery but then transferred to the Torokina Australian War Cemetery before finally being interred at Bourail/

Sgt. Neville Rowlands. Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 8.13. Also remembered on parents grave in Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Born on the 14th of April 1924 in New Plymouth. Enlisted in the RNZAF in December 1942. Awarded his pilot wings on the 24th of January 1944 and was promoted to sergeant on the 18th of March 1944. Son of Harry Melton Rowlands (died 29th August 1948 age 56) and of Grace Rowlands (née Laurence - died 18th April 1968. age 71), of Junction Road, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 382 flying hours were recorded.

Fl/Sgt. William Wreford Lewis Jardine. Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery. Grave 8.10. Born on the 09th June 1924 in Carterton. Enlisted on the 25th December 1942. Wings were awarded on the 29th of November 1943. Son of Colonel Leonard Handford Jardine DSO. MC. (died 15th May 1969, aged 78) Agnes Maud Wreford Jardine (née Lowis - died 14th August 1939, aged 40), of East Road, Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand. 388 flying hours were logged and on his second South Pacific tour - the first with 16 squadron.

L-R: Rear; N.L Kiddle, G.R Bary, A.L Rieper, L.H Juno, L.W Middleton.
3rd Row; C.J Berryman, G.J Ronayne, C.D Maclean, P.K Frame, G.T Watt, J.T Barr, R.W Henderson, C.O Brady.
2nd Row; J.S Gillam, E.R Hoy, K.H Harpin, J.V.H Robinson, P.L Kennedy, B.K Knowles, R.F Garnham.
Front; L.A Zorn, E.T Lang, J.W.S Nelson, W.H Wilson, N. Rowlands, A.S Tie, F.B Bennett, J.D Thorburn. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

L-R: Rear; William Wreford Lewis Jardine NZ/4217078 ✞, David William Coll Ellison NZ/4215145 ✞, K. Rogers, L. Woodhead, R. Mansell, F. Smith (Intelligence Officer), John Richard Holland NZ/421515, D. Mills, B. Newfield, P. Rowley. .
Centre; Ernest Charles Laurie NZ/42417 ✞, Keith Walter Starnes NZ/413141 ✞, M. Jones, Allen Gerald Sievers NZ/391848 Commanding Officer), A. Mitchell, David Keith Mulligan NZ/42441, D. Barr, Arthur Frederick Tucker NZ/414703.
Front; L. Lyons, P. Freyberg, P. Thomson, E.R Reynolds, S. Rowe, Raymond Charles George Dixie NZ/132394,, O. Marshal, George Ian Luoni NZ/421071. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Above: RNZAF at Bougainville, Solomon Islands page (Courtesy Pacific Film Unit Pathe News)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these pilots 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.

Other pages that may interest you:

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KTY 03-02-2024

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Acknowledgements
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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