1 Service Flying Training School Oxford I NZ278 LAC. Verdun Arthur Godfrey
Date: 26th March 1942 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 1 Service Flying Training School
Type: Oxford I
Base: RNZAF Wigram
Location: South Pacific Ocean
Pilot: LAC. Verdun Arthur Godfrey NZ/415187 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Pilot: LAC. Cecil Harold Cook NZ/415685 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC1. Donald Alexander Paterson NZ/405626 RNZAF Age 33. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
History: Built by Airspeed Ltd, Portsmouth, England. Serial P2031. Brought On Charge with Unit No.1, RNZAF Hobsonville on 03rd May 1940 and assembled at No.1 Aircraft Depot. Assigned RNZAF Serial NZ278. To No.1 SFTS, RNZAF Wigram.
Taking off at 08:00 hrs on a navigation exercise from Wigram - Jack's Point at Timaru - position X - Wigram. Weather conditions were described as 'suitable'. Last communication at 09:14 hrs with a crew flying NZ264
Despite 90 hours of searching by 35 Oxford sorties up until yje 01st April no trace of the aircraft or its crew was ever found.
NZ278 is believed to have crashed into the Pacific Ocean while flying in low cloud and poor visibility. LAC Cecil Cook was flying as navigator on this flight.
Burial and personal details:
LAC. Verdun Arthur Godfrey. Wellington Provincial Memorial. Born on the 02nd August 1916 at Hastings. Educated at Hastings High School. An attendant at Viaduct Service Station at Kelburn. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 07th September 1941. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 30th November 1941. No. 1 Service Flying Training School on the 11th January 1942. Pilot badge awarded on the 07th March 1942. Son of Arthur Louis and Ella Godfrey (née Derbridge), of Hastings, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. A total of 74 hours solo with 43 on the Oxford.
LAC. Cecil Harold Cook. Wellington Provincial Memorial. Born on the 10th January 1918 at Wellington. Educated at Wellington Technical College. Served 3 months in the territorial army. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 19th October 1941. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 20th November 1941. No. 1 Service Flying Training School on the 11th January 1942. Pilot badge awarded on the 07th March 1942. Son of Harold William John and Winifred Ethel Cook (née Board), of Karori, Wellington, New Zealand.
AC1. Donald Alexander Paterson. Auckland Provincial Memorial. Born on the 22nd April 1908 at Auckland. Educated at Mt. Albert Grammer School. A clerk for Lands and Survey Department in Auckland.Served in territorial army. Enlisted at Halewood on the 27th December 1940 asa wireless operator. At Electrical Wireless School 31st January 1941. Son of William and Mary Paterson, of Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand.
L-R: Rear; CB Robinson, CP Hughes, RB Hamilton, J Bettle, RW Leslie, RA Aubrey, LC Baines, EW Clarke, GH Reid, KF Shaw.
Centre; VB Murray, CH Cook, GN Simes, JA Horgan, RH Brickell, D East, DB Besley, RE Stowers, VA Godfrey, J Garrett, DP Lynskey, JS Ross.
Front; DE Wood, RH Boulden, RD Sanderson, D Polglase, FS Carter, MR Luck, AS Keogh, DL Iggo.
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, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: