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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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04/05th November 1943 1 A.O. School Anson I AX347 W/O. II Freeman

Operation: Training

Date: 04/05th November 1943 (Thursday Friday)

Unit: No. 1 Air Observer School. No. I Training Command

Type: Anson I

Serial: AX347

Code: -

Base: Malton, Ontario, Canada

Location: Garden Hill, Ontario, Canada

Pilot: W/O.II Harvey Chambers Freeman R/114243 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Obs: F/O. Emil Styrski P/1963 PAF Age 35. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Patrick Maurice Butler NZ/425384 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: LAC. Edward Godfrey Carter 1321071 RAFVR hAge 19. Killed


Taking off at 01:30 hrs on a night navigation exercise. crashed out of control and exploded at 1⁄4 mile north of Garden Hill, 21⁄2 miles north west of Port Hope, and 67 miles east of the airfield at 02:15, killing all four crew.

Canadian newspaper article:

'More than 500 members of the RCAF, RAF and Polish Air Force attended the funerals today of four air force members who were killed in a flying accident near Port Hope on Friday. The four were buried with full military honours'.

Burial details:

W/O.II Harvey Chambers Freeman. Hamilton Cemetery (Woodland). Sec. 24. Lot 335. East grave. Born on the 18th June 1920 at Orissa, India. Studied at the Acadia University in Halifax, Nova Scotia becoming a Major in economics/geology. Son of Sebra Crooker Freeman and Carrie Webber Freeman (née Chambers), of Parlakimedi, Orissa, India, brother of Bertha Beryl Freeman (later Eaton - died 08th July 1999) and husband of Esther Winnifred Freeman (née Hulet) - later Thorburn). Father of Marion Louise of Regal Road, Hamilton, Toronto, Canada. Grave inscription: 'He That Liveth And Believeth In Me Shall Never Die'.

F/O. Emil Styrski. Toronto Cemetery (Mount Hope). Section 22 Range 22 Grave 40. Born on the 28th November 1907 at Karwina, Poland. Grave inscription: 'Kanada Pokoj Jego Cieniom' (Peace For His Shadows).

Sgt. Patrick Maurice Butler. Toronto Cemetery (Mount Hope). Range 22. Sec. 22. Grave 39. Born on the 27th July 1920 at Taraniki, Plymouth, New Zealand. Enlisted on the 30th May 1942 at Hobsonville. Embarked for Canada on the 10th November 1942.W.Op badge awarded on the 09th August 1943 and also promoted to sergeant. Joined No. 1 Air Observer School on the 13th August 1943 as a staff W/Op. Son of John Joseph (died 07th May 1960, age 68) and Evelyn Mary Butler (née Crofskey - died 13th March 1949, age 54) , brother of Joseph John Butler (died 20th September 1989, age 73) of Whakatane, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 202 flying hours logged. Grave inscription: 'Grant Him Eternal Rest O Lord'. (see further information below)

LAC. Edward Godfrey Carter. Toronto Cemetery (Prospect). Naval and Mil. Plot. Sec. 1. Grave 572. Son of John James Carter and Lydia Clara Carter, of Little Bookham, Surrey, England. Also remembered at the St. Nicolas Church War [laque in Great Bookham. Grave inscription: 'In Loving Memory'.

Special additional information on Sgt. Patrick Maurice Butler by Sonia Edwards researching all who lost their lives from the Bay Of Plenty area of New Zealand.

Patrick Maurice BUTLER (1920-1943)was born in New Plymouth 27 July 1920. His parents, John Joseph BUTLER (1890- 1960) and Evelyn Mary BUTLER (nee CROFSKEY 1895-1949) were a Roman Catholic family. Patrick attended the Kaponga Convent in Taranaki,then worked on family farms sharemilking. When the family came to Whakatane from Stratford Pat went to work for the farmer, A McLean at Edgecumbe. He had also worked as a dairy factory hand. Pat was on the packaging line at Rangitaiki Plains Dairy Co. Butter Factory.

The Butler family were well settled in the Taranaki area in early years. Josef Felix BUTLER (1860-1940) married Ida FISCHER (1868-1946) in New Zealand. Both had come from County Aargau in Switzerland. Ida came with her parents and siblings in 1881. Josef and three brothers came to the colony in 1884 as young men.

After Josef and Ida BUTLER married in 1886 they settled at Inglewood, where they raised 13 children.Their eldest son John Joseph (Jack) Butler worked as a bushman and drover around Whangamomona. When Jack married Evelyn Mary CROFSKEY (1895-1949) of Pihama, he worked as a farmer, and did some work as a butcher. They had seven sons and six daughters. About 1937 Jack and Evelyn Butler moved to the Bay of Plenty with a group of farmers from Taranaki. Jack Butler had an interest in the Whakatane Board Mill, eventually beginning with shift work there. He started as a log operator, moved to the pasting room, became a guillotine operator, and ended as a watchman. Their thirteen children worked in the Whakatane district.

Two sons, Patrick Butler and his brother Jack (John Joseph Jnr - shown right) both joined the services for World War Two. Jack (Regt # 28229) was with the mobile machine gun platoon in Fiji in 1940, then became part of the 4th Reinforcements for 24 Battalion (Signals). In the chaos that was Minqar Qaim Jack was captured, forced to spend time as a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany. He was repatriated in 1945.

30 May 1942 Patrick Maurice Butler was accepted at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base at Hobsonville as an Aircraft hand in the Aerodrome Defence unit. He was able to re-muster 3 September 1942 as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner under training in the Initial Training Wing.

The Empire Air Training Scheme planned in December 1939, was organised so that 850 fully trained pilots would go directly to the Royal Air Force in England. Air space in Great Britain was not suitable for training so prospective pilots were sent to train in Canada. New Zealand Air Force bases trained pilots to an elementary standard before sending them to complete their training in Canada.

NZ425384 Patrick Butler embarked from New Zealand aboard the Ile de France or Canada 10 November 1942, and was attached to the Royal Canadian Air Force by 24 November

1942 to complete his course. He went immediately to Halifax, Nova Scotia to 3M Depot. 2 Wireless School training was undertaken at Calgary from 5 December 1942. Butler was at 4 Bombing and Gunnery School 27 June 1943, where he gained his Air Gunners Badge and promptly re-mustered as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner and Sergeant, on 9 August 1943. NZ425384 Sgt Patrick M Butler went on to 1 Air Observer’s School where they were using Anson aircraft at Fingall, Toronto. He joined as W/O on the staff 13 August 1943. On a Night Navigation exercise, 5 November 1943, he was lost in an air accident.From 1 Air Observer’s School at Malton, Ontario, the Anson I AX347 took off at 0136, piloted by Sgt HC Freeman, Royal Canadian Air Force, and crashed out of control and exploded at 1⁄4 mile north of Garden Hill, 21⁄2 miles north west of Port Hope, and 67 miles east of the airfield at 0215. All four crew died, the wireless operator Sgt Pat Butler and Polish navigator F/O Emil STYRSKI being buried at Toronto’s Mount Hope Cemetery. The cosmopolitan nature of this crew was complemented by the inclusion of an RAF air bomber.

The wireless operator NZ425384 Sgt Patrick Maurice Butler, Royal New Zealand Air Force, had flown 202 hrs. He was 23. He was buried in the Mount Hope cemetery at Toronto, Ontario, Canada.6 Pat Butler’s name is also entered on the Memorial for Airmen from Australia and New Zealand in Memorial Park Calgary Alberta, Canada. [image opposite].

Newspaper cuttings enclosed with a letter of condolence to Patrick’s mother, from the Senior RC Chaplain described Sgt Butler’s funeral. “An Airforce funeral yesterday paid tribute to Sgt PM Butler of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and F/O Emil Styrski of the Polish Air Force, both of whom were killed in a crash in the Peterborough area. High Requiem Mass was celebrated yeserday morning at St Mary’s Polish Catholic Church, Gillespie Avenue. Officers, as well as many members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Polish Air Force attended. One carriage bore two caskets draped with a Union Jack and the Polish Flag. Interment was at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

It seems appropriate that these two Flyers were buried together. Patrick’s mother Evelyn Butler née Crofskey was of Polish descent. Her father Jack Johan Crofskey was born KUROWSKI in Stargard, Gdansk, Poland in 1874. His Kurowski parents had come to New Zealand aboard the Fritz Reuter in 1876 from Poland. After considerable hardship Jack Johan Crofskey grew up in New Plymouth. He married Jane POTROZ (1877-1925), the same year he purchased a property in Midhurst. The eldest of their thirteen children was Evelyn Mary Crofskey, Patrick Butler’s mother.

NZ425384 Sgt Patrick Maurice Butler is commemorated on the Whakatane War Memorial Roll at the War Memorial Hall, Short St, Whakatane. His name is on the Hall of Memories at Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Credits: Maurice BUTLER, Whakatane, Estate notice Bay of Plenty Beacon 17 December 1943, British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 2014 by I & L LYNDSAY. P 22.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Sonia Edwards 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:

KTY 25-07-2021

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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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