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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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Operation: Training

Date: 23rd October 1942 (Friday)

Unit: No. 1 Operational Training Unit

Type: Airspeed Oxord I

Serial: NZ277

Code: -

Base: RNZAF Bell Block, Taranaki, New Zealand (New Plymouth)

Location: Mt. Egmont, Taranaki range

Pilot: P/O. Rodney George Dandy NZ/417031 RNZAF Age 32. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr - Instructor: Sgt. Graham MacLeod Martin NZ/439008 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward Reid Dodson NZ/412319 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Gordon Martyn NZ/4132 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 09:15 hrs on a machine gun firing off the Taranaki coast. After this they were to proceed 50 miles north to Kawhia Harbour and then return to base.

Above L-R: P/O. Dandy, Sgt. Martin, Sgt. Dodson and Sgt. Martyn (courtesy AWMM)

They last transmitted at 10:41 hrs placing them off the New Plymouth coast. Despite extensive searches both immediately afterwards and months that followed no trace was found of the aircraft or crew. After 3 months all searches were discontinued.

Some 31 years later on the 17th January 1974 a hunter Mr. Errol Clince * discovered the wreckage in small valley within the Taranaki range. Thinking that the wreck was well known they decided to look over the aircraft wreckage and were surprised to find the machine guns and ammunition, normally always recovered. It wasn't until one of their dogs discovered a bone that they realised the wreckage has never been reported and that the crew's remains were still at the crash site.

Right: Mr. Errol Clince

The following day the remains were collected by the police, RNZAF personnel and the Taranaki Search and Rescue led by Mr. Dave Rawson and taken to the various home towns for burial.

It is thought that the aircraft had flown into the valley at low altitude with its trailing airial still extended. There was a strong North wind at the time with clouds down to 1000 ft. Immediately after impact a 6 ft. diameter Rimu tree fell along the length of the aircraft wreckage concealing it from the air search parties.

* Errol John Clince died peacefully on 8 September 2014 after a short battle with cancer, he was only 61. Buried Eltham Cemetery

Above: Bell Block airfield

Burial details:

P/O. Rodney George Dandy. Wellington Cemetery (Karori). 39. Z/5. Born on the 28th August 1910 at Gisborne. A clerk prior to enlisting. Son of George Alfred and Mary Dandy (née McLennan later Brunton). Husband of Isabel Dandy (née Lochead later Cruickshnk), of Dallington, Christchurch, New Zealand. A total of 530 solo flying hours, 117 hrs on the Oxford.

Sgt. Graham MacLeod Martin. Burwood Anglican Church Cemetery, Christchurch. Plot 167A. Born on the 13th April 1916 at Christchurch. A clerk prior to enlisting. Son of John and Isobella Graham Martin (née Macleod) of Christchurch. Husband of Llene Laura Martin (née Potten) of Papanu, Christchurch.

Sgt. Edward Reid Dodson. Marsden Valley Cemetery, Stoke, Nelson. Services Area. Block 3, Row D, Plot 67. Born on the 29th March 1916 at Nelson. Prior to enlisting worked as a roof tiler. Son of Allen Reid Dodson and Vera Lucy Grant Dodson (née Madigan), of Atawhai, Nelson, New Zealand.

Sgt. Douglas Gordon Martyn. Waihi Public Cemetery, Hauraki District. Services Area. Plot 226. Born on the 25th December 1920 at Thames. Worked as a farmer for his father prior to service. Son of Lindsay Gordon and Emily Murray Martyn (née Morrice), of Waihi.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew 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:

KTY 03-01-2021

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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