16.07.2019 7 Flying Instructors School Oxford II X7255 Sgt. Blanchette
Date: 16th July 1943 (Friday)
Unit: No. 7 Flying Instructors School. 23 Group
Type: Oxford II
Base: RAF Upavon, Wiltshire
Location: Collingbourne Ducis, Witshire
Pilot: Sgt. Clifford Eugene Blanchette NZ/421666 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
Pilot: P/O. George Edward Holmes 151133 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at around 13:30 hrs on a training exercise. During the exercise at 14:30 hrs went into a steep turn then entered a right had spin out of control and crashed at location shown. The crew tried unsuccessfully to bale out, but it seems that Sgt. Blanchette had reached the door but was thrown to the rear bulkhead. It was his 21st birthday the previous day!
Sgt. Clifford Eugene Blanchette. Upavon Cemetery. Row B. Grave 1. Born on the 15th July 1922 at Belson, the son of James Butler and Kathleen May Blanchette (née Benseman, later Galvin), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand. Prior to enlisting on the 07th March 1942 worked as an apprentice moulder. A total of 352 flying hours logged.
P/O. George Edward Holmes. Leeds Cemetery (Beckett Street). Sec. 4. Grave 15860. Son of John and Edith Alice Holmes, of Leeds and husband of Sadie Holmes, of Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, England. B.Sc. - Leeds.
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: