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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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1 Squadron RNZAF Vildebeest III NZ114 Sgt. Alfred William Todman

Operation: Training

Date: 25th February 1942 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 1 Squadron RNZAF (motto - 'With Vigilance We Serve')

Type: Vildebeest III

Serial: NZ114

Code: -

Base: RNZAF Whenupapai

Location: Tasman Sea

Pilot: Sgt. Alfred William Todman NZ/404969 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op. AC. Geoffrey Hewson Tate RNZAF Age 22. Seriously injured

W/Op. AC1. Edward James Mannell NZ/412455 RNZAF Age 20. Killed


Aircraft was seen at 07:30hrs descending towards Muriwai beach and carried out a low pass over a truck, climbing away afterwards in a steep left-hand turn.

When at 250 ft the aircraft stalled and entered a steep dive into the sea.

Two of the crew were killed, but Lac. Tate survived with serious injuries.

Three airmen were later commended for their attempts to rescue the crew from the sea, Sgt. James Alexander McNie, Cpl. G.F Bown and LAC. Geoffrey Sinclair D'Anvers 39091.

Burial and personal details:

Sgt. Alfred William Todman. Waikumete Cemetery. Protestant Soldiers Area G Row 5 Grave 70. Born on the 16th of September 1919 in Wanganui. Educated at Wanganui Technical College. A porter for New Zealand Railways. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training 01st December 1940. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 20th January 1941. 1st solo on the 27th January 1941. With No. 2 Flying Training School 03rd March 1941. The pilot badge was awarded on the 14th of April 1941. Promoted to sergeant on the 24th of May 1941. With 1 squadron flying the Vincent on the 02nd June 1941. 'A' Civil flying licence gained on the 16th September 1941. With 2 squadron flying the Vincent and Vildebeest on the 17th of October 1941. With Air Headquarters 19th December 1941. Joined 1 squadron in late December 1941. A total of 349 hours were logged with 267 solo and 192 on the Vildebeest.

Son of William (died 20th August 1952, age 69) and Martha Carpendale Todman (née Beaumont) - died 14th September 1968, age 75), of Domain Road, Whakatane, husband of Hannah Mary Mavis Todman (née Frankland), of Taneatua, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

AC1. Edward James Mannell. Masterton Cemetery. Grave 5192. 3. 18. Born on the 23rd May 1921 in Masterton. Educated at Wairarapa College in Masterton. Worked as a junior mechanic for the P and T Department in Masterton. Enlisted at Harewood as a wireless operator on the 10th of April 1941. At RNZAF Wigram 16th May 1941. Joined 1 squadron on the 24th of September 1941. A total of 203 hours were logged.

Son of John Weekes Mannell (died 30th November 1938, age 57), and of Kate Mannell (née Goggin - died 25th March 1980, age 96), of Masterton, New Zealand.

AC. Geoffrey Hewson Tate from Hastings, New Zealand recovered and survived the war.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks 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, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 03-08-2022

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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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