25th September 1944 501 Squadron Tempest V EJ590 Fl/Lt. Bonham DFC
Operation: Diver Patrol
Date: 25th September 1944 (Monday)
Unit: No. 501 Squadron (motto: Fear Nothing')11 Group
Type: Tempest V
Base: RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex
Location: Near Harwich, Essex
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Gordon Loversidge Bonham DFC. NZ/402434 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Whilst with 243 Squadron in the Far East he was severely injured on the 18th January 1942 during an engagement with Japanese aircraft with one of his knees being shattered by a bullet. But he managed to land his badly damaged Brewster Buffalo at Kallang airfield and was evacuated via Ceylon to New Zealand. After treatment and sick leave he returned to England on the 10th November 1943.
After taking off at 18:50 hrs on a Diver patrol (V1) and on return he reported his compass seemed faulty. He requested the airfield lights to be turned on. Whilst descending in poor visibility to break the cloud at 200 ft. he flew into the ground at Spitfield Sarm near Harwich at 21:00 hrs.
DFC April 28th, 1944:
'He fought courageously, pressing home his attack with great determination in spite of the fact that he had a serious bullet wound in a knee which caused him great pain. He displayed a high degree of skill and determination in flying back to base and landing the damaged aircraft before he fainted from loss of blood.'
Beatrice Mary Bonham wrote a poem
and placed it in a New Zealand newspaper.
Fl/Lt. Gordon Loversidge Bonham DFC. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 8. AA. 15. Born on the 24th March 1921 at Dunedin. A telephonist for P an T Department of Christchurch before enlisting on the 25th November 1950 at Wigram. Son of Frederick Thomas Bonham and Beatrice Mary Bonham (née Loversidge), of 474 Worcester Street, Christchurch, New Zealand. 957 flying hours logged with 94 on the Tempest. Carried out 53 operational sorties in a Spitfire with a further 41 on the Tempest. Credited with 1 enemy aircraft destroyed, 1 damaged an 5 V1's destroyed.
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, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: