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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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165 Squadron Crest
23/24.12.1942 No 165 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM326 Sgt. Sage

Operation: Training

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

Serial: BM326

Code: SK-?

Base: RAF Tangmere, Sussex

Location: Near Horsham, Sussex

Pilot: Sgt. Wilton Mcbride Sage NZ/415370 RNZAF Age 25. Killed


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.

Burial details:

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:

KTY 24.08.2019

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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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Last Modified: 20 March 2021, 13:35

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