16.04.1943 No 1 Overseas Aircraft Dispatch Unit Blenheim V EH374 Sgt. Ayers
Operation: Transit / Ferry Fight
Date: 16th April 1943 (Friday)
Unit: Blenheim: No 1 Overseas Aircraft Dispatch Unit. 44 Group. Spitfire: 65 Squadron. 10 Group
Type: Blenheim V / Spitfire VC
Serial: EH374 / AB518
Base: RAF Portreath / RAF Perranporth
Pilot: Sgt. Leslie Judson Ayers NZ/414576 RNZAF Age 24. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Donald Mauldon Homer 1335490 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Boris Frederick Cornhill 1197358 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Pilot: Sgt. Vernon Ross Smith NZ/415723 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
It is very sad that the thousands lost during training and other clients are not usually recorded on the internet. We are tying to address this. We welcome any further contributions - they dont have to be aircrew - ground crew were all playing a vital service.
The Blenheim was in the Portreath circuit at 14:50 hrs when it collided with the Spitfire. It is thought possible that the Spitfire pilot was at the time turning in the right hand circuit which headed the pilot into the sun, perhaps preventing him from seeing the approaching Blenheim.
It is thought that one or more civilian casualties were also killed/injured on the ground, but no further details are available on this. We welcome any further details or corrections on this tragic accident.
Sgt. Leslie Judson Ayers. Illogan Churchyard (St. Illogan). Row 2. Grave 17. Born on the 20th August 1918 at methane, the son of Hector Thomas Ayers and of Ethel Ayers (née Loader), of Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand. Working as a clerk with P and T in Wellington prior to service. No grave inscription - see why here - Your Commonwealth War Grave Explained. 310 Flying hours logged.
Sgt. Donald Mauldon Homer. Dartford Cemetery (Watling Street). Cons. grave 1298. Son of Percival George and Gertrude Rebecca Homer, of Dartford, England. Grave inscription reads: "Thy Will Be Done".
Sgt. Boris Frederick Cornhill. Goldington Churchyard (St. Mary). South of Church, near Lych Gate. Son of Frederick William Cornhill, and of Mabel Cornhill (née Dowsett), of Goldington, Bedford, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Had The Courage To Seek, Hunt And Destroy The King's Enemies In Their Own Lairs".
Sgt. Vernon Ross Smith. Illogan Churchyard (St. Illogan). Row 2. Grave 18. Born on the 20th April 1922 at Hamilton, the son of Richard Blenkarn Smith and Evelyne Blanche Smith (née Adams), of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand. Worked with the Kiwi Bacon Company as a clerk in Hamilton prior to service. No grave inscription - see why here - Your Commonwealth War Grave Explained. 336 flying hours logged with 187 on the Spitfire. He had completed 3 operational sorties.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these aircrew 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: