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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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RAF Crest
11.07.1942 No. 2 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit Oxford II V3510 Sgt. Smith

Operation: Training

Date: 11th July 1942 (Saturday)

Unit: No. No. 2 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit. 23 Group

Type: Airspeed Oxford II

Serial: V3510

Code: -

Base: RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Location: Airfield, RAF Brize Norton

Pilot: Sgt. John Alexander Smith NZ/413496 RNZAF Age 19. Killed


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.

Burial details:

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:

KTY 27.12.2019

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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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