23/24.12.1942 No 165 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM326 Sgt. Sage
Date: 23/24th December 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 165 Squadron. 11 Group (motto: Infensa virtuti invidia - 'Envy is the foe of virtue')
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Tangmere, Sussex
Location: Near Horsham, Sussex
Pilot: Sgt. Wilton Mcbride Sage NZ/415370 RNZAF Age 25. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Takin off at 23:25hrs on a night flying practice.
Just 50 minutes later dived vertically into the ground and exploded some 4 miles south east of Horsham. It is thought that the pilot may have passed out through failure of the oxygen system.
Sadly, the family also lost his brother later in the war. 25 year old, F/O. Ernest Vernon Sage NZ/415369 RNZAF flying a Lancaster III JA918 BQ-W whilst with 550 Squadron, missing believed killed on the 10th May 1944.
Sgt. Wilton Mcbride Sage. Tangmere Churchyard (St. Andrew). Plot E. Row 3. Grave 49. Born on the 25th February 1917 at Hamilton, the son of Ernest William and Laura Aline Sage (née Ranby), of Ohaupo, Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to service worked with his father as an apiarist (Beekeeper) at Paterangi. A total of 309 flying hours logged - 196 solo with 89 on the Spitfire.
F/O. Ernest Vernon Sage. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 263. Born on the 21st November 1918 at Hamilton, parents details as shown above. Husband of Barbara Joan Sage (née Hibbit) Also worked as apiarist (Beekeeper) at Paterangi with his father and brother prior to service. Enlisted on the same day as Wilton.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot 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, other sources as quoted below: