Operation: Photographic Survey
Date: 30th November 1948 (Tuesday)
Unit: General Purpose Communications Flight
Type: Airspeed Oxford I
Base: Ohakea, New Zealand
Location: Howlett's Hut, Ruahine Range
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Charles Roy Bush DFC. NZ/2506 RNZAF Age 30. Killed
Nav: Henry Gordon Finlay Rennie NZ432433 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Photographer: LAC Robert George Roper NZ/46130 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 15:03 hrs from Napier to undertake a photographic survey over the Gisborne area. They were last seen at 15:45 hrs flying in extremely turbulent air conditions east of the Ruahine Range near Norsewood.
Searching for the lost aircraft, aircraft flew over 100 sorties over the next four days, a fifteen man police party on the morning of the 4th December discovered the fate of the crew. The aircraft had disintegrated in the air and scrub covered the main wreckage which is why the air searches proved fruitless.
It took a further 3 days to bring the bodies out of the rugged terrain.
Fl/Lt. Charles Roy Bush served with various squadrons and had been a Battle of Britain pilot. Reached Sq/Ldr but dropped a rank after the war with RNZAF.
DFC Citation: awarded 30th September 1941 for destroying a BF109 on 22nd August and chasing a HS126 on 18th September. "This Officer has carried out 48 operational sweeps over enemy territory and has destroyed at least three hostile aircraft. Flight Lieutenant Bush also took part in the air operations in France and later fought in the Battle of Britain. He has at all times displayed courage and keenness and has set an excellent example".
Fl/Lt. Charles Roy Bush DFC. Cremated at Wanganui. Son of Charles an Margaret Rubina Bush (née Wilson) of Wellington. Husband of Rachel Ella Grace Bush (née Bousfield) and father of 2 children. Born on the 07 February 1918 at Wellington. Insurance Clerk prior to enlisting in August 1939. His brother 27 year old, Lt (A) Thomas Noel Bush RNZNVR was killed on the 05th December 1942. (see below)
Henry Gordon Finlay Rennie. Tolaga Bay Cemetery Ferneaux Street Tolaga Bay Gisborne. Block TOLRS, lot 11. Son of Robert Findlay and Alice Maude Rennie (née Reid) of Tolaga Bay. Born on the 08 February 1925 at Tolaga Bay, Gisborne. Garage Assistant prior to enlisting.
Photographer: LAC Robert George Roper. Taita Lawn Cemetery, Wellington. Old Section - RSA - Block J - Plot 3. Son of Ronald and Iris Vella Sylvia Roper (née Logan) of Petone. Born on the 30th December 1927 at Lower Hut. Clerk prior to enlisting.
Lt (A) Thomas Noel Bush. FAA. Kirkwall Cemetery (St Olaf's), Orkney, Scotland AWMM Plot 33. Joint grave 1. Born on the 27th December 1915 at Wellington. A traveller prior to enlisting on the 09th August 1940. Flying Sea Hurricane Ib Z7089 771 squadron on a delivery flight from Hatston. Aircraft rolled and dived into the sea.
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: