18.04.1941 Flying Instructors School Tiger Moth II NZ724 P/O. Butler
Date: 18th April 1941 (Friday)
Unit: No. Flying Instructors School
Type: Tiger Moth II
Code: Not known
Location: Castor Bay, New Zealand
Pilot: P/O. Bertrand William Butler NZ/403421 RNZAF Age 25. Killed
Pilot: P/O. Maurice Harry Hoy NZ/403452 RNZAF Age ? Injured
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at from Hobsonville and at 14:20 hrs began a climbing turn at 1,000 ft. But then went into a spin which at that low height was impossible to recover. The aircraft fell into the sea some 400 yards off the coat of Castor Bay at the northern end of the Rangitoto Channel.
Three gunners from the New Zealand Artillery and a civilian swam out to the area and rescued P/O. Hoy who had suffered slight injuries. P/O. Butler's body was recovered from the wreckage the following day.
Two of the soldiers were awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Humane Society of New Zealand for their efforts, James O'Meara 635749 and John Brocton Hipkins 800192.
Above as described (please note that this is not a photo of the Tiger Moth involved - purely placed to show the type)
This was the second fatal accident of this aircraft.
Just over a year previously NZ724 took off from Mangere at 09:15 hrs on a dual instruction exercise. The instructor, 44 year old, Sq/Ldr. David Malyon Allan NZ/2524 RNZAF, pupil instructor P/O. Percival Guy Haig Newton NZ/130315 RNZAF (1).
Whilst carrying out a slow roll over Black Bridge at 2,800 ft the instructors harness fastener accidentally disengaged causing him to fall to his death. The other pilot returned to base to report the incident - immediately Fl/Lt. Ronald Affleck Kirkup (2) took off to search for Sq/Ldr. Allan and saw his body in a paddock at Black Bridge and alerted services.
His body was cremated at Waikumete Crematorium and his ashes scattered North East of Rangitoto over the Hauraki Gulf. The ceremony was performed by Wing Commander Hugh Bartholom Burrell (3), senior Air Force officer at Auckland, while the Vickers Vincent was piloted by Fl/Lt. Allen Victor Jury (4).
(1) P/O. Percival Guy Haig Newton went on to serve with 17 Squadron. Awarded DFC. MiD. Retired as a W/Cdr. Born 29th September, Christchurch - Died 24th July 2018, Melbourne.
(2) Fl/Lt. Ronald Affleck Kirkup went on to serve with 40 Squadron. Awarded DFC. AFC. Retired as W/Cdr. Born 29h January 1908, Auckland - Died 27th January 2001.
(3) Hugh Bartholom Burrell later made OBE.
(4) Fl/Lt. Allen Victor Jury Born April 29th 1908, Wellington - Died August 18th 1974, Taranaki.
P/O. Bertrand William Butler. Invercargill Cemetery (Eastern). 186.8.R.C. Born on the 13th November 1915 at Invercargill, the son of John Peter Butler and Catherine Butler (née McNamara), of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. Worked as a clerk for PWD of Invercargill prior to service. 96 flying hours logged with 32 on the Tiger Moth.
Sq/Ldr. David Malyon Allan. Cremation as described above. Born on the 15th September 1896 at Hatuma the son of Alan Leslie and Eva Matilda allan (née Blyth). Husband of Emma Florence Constance (née Ogilvie) of Bosham, Essex, England. He had travelled extensively and having lived in the Falkland Islands, Dorset, England, China. Held several posts instructing and also taking part in various air shows. Served in RAF WW1. Well respected within New Zealand Aviation pre WW2. His funeral was attended by some 400 members of the RNZAF. At this stage no service numbers had been assigned - NZ/2524 was a posthumous allocation after the end of the war. Around 6000 flying hours logged.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot 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: