Date: 11th July 1942 (Saturday)
Unit: No. No. 2 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit. 23 Group
Type: Airspeed Oxford II
Base: RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire
Location: Airfield, RAF Brize Norton
Pilot: Sgt. John Alexander Smith NZ/413496 RNZAF Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On takeoff at 20:25 hrs climbed to 75 ft. when it then collided with another from the Unit, Oxford I BF948 on a converging course.
Both aircraft crashed, and the New Zealand pilot was killed at the scene. The other pilot, 20 year old, Sgt. Herbert James Ralston R/79409 RCAF was taken to St. Hughes Hospital, Oxford. He succumbed to his injuries two days later on the 13th July.
Sgt. John Alexander Smith. Black Bourton Churchyard (St. Mary) Row G. Grave 4. Born on the 20th September 1922 at Ohakune, the son of Thomas Charles Smith and of Annie Smith (née Taylor), of Dannevirke, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. Enlisted on the 14th June 1941. A total of 169 flying hours logged with 94 of these solo, 4 on the Oxford.
Sgt. Herbert James Ralston. Black Bourton Churchyard (St. Mary) Row G. Grave 5. Born on the 13th September 1921 in Montreal. Educated at Westmount High School and worked prior to enlisting in May 1941 for the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. Son of William Amos Ralston (died 09th January 1952, age 79) and Hazel Jerrine Ralston (née Wartman - died 01st November 1972, age 83), of 4701 The Boulevard, Westmount, Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. Grave inscription 'In Loving Memory Of Our Dear Son. Mother And Father'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and 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, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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