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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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40 RNZAF crest
24th September 1945 40 Squadron C-47B Dakota NZ3526 F/O. Hoffeins

Operation: Transport Flight

Date: 24th September 1945 (Monday)

Unit: No. 40 Squadron (RNZAF) (motto: i nga hau e wha - 'To the four winds')

Type: C-47B Dakota

Serial: NZ3526

Code: -

Base: Whenuapai, Auckland, New Zealand

Location: Lost without trace

Pilot: F/O. Jack Arthur Hoffeins NZ/401383 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. Kenneth Mcarthur NZ/425270 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Cpl. John Douglas Jacobs NZ/405126 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Clifton Charles Kennedy NZ/412981 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Passengers:

LAC. Oswald Ferguson Bath NZ/427114 RNZAF Age 32. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Lt. Wilfred Francis Coulson NZ/39447 RNZAF Age 38. Missing - believed killed

LAC. Harry Faine NZ/438348 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

F/O. Douglas Farr. MiD. NZ/402681 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

LAC. George Firman NZ/4312786 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Cpl. Edmund Eaton Gossling NZ/391404 RNZAF Age 36. Missing - believed killed

LAC. John Barnard Grenfell NZ/425982 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Cpl. Frank Graham Haldane NZ/411716 RNZAF Age 35. Missing - believed killed

LAC. Frederick John Kearney NZ/441345 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

F/O. Alan Allister Macpherson NZ/2323 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed

F/O. David John Reid NZ/416736 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Sgt. Reginald Bernard Russell NZ/391186 RNZAF Age 41. Missing - believed killed

LAC. Ralph Gordon Savage NZ/4214285 RNZAF Age 36. Missing - believed killed

LAC. Raymond Jonathan Taylor NZ/442296 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

LAC. Douglas Stanley Thomas NZ/436105 RNZAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Cpl. Marshall Harry Wilson NZ/4210354 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from Pallikulo, Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides at 05:30 hrs for Whenuapai in Auckland failing to return making this the largest loss of life in a single aircraft by the RNZAF!

Communications with the aircraft was maintained until 09:06 hrs when a ‘standby, standby’ message was sent from the aircraft.

The Norfolk Island receiving station acknowledged this and called back a few minutes later, but there was no reply. Nothing further was heard or seen of the aircraft, despite a large scale search undertaken by Catalina, Dakota, Hudson and Liberator aircraft over several days.

An aircraft following 25 minutes behind later reported that it had encountered very turbulent air conditions at approximate latitude 22.5° south, and had to climb to avoid them. It was thought most likely that NZ/3526 had suffered a catastrophic structural failure on encountering similar weather.

Missing photographs: LAC. Harry Faine, LAC. Frederick Kearney, LAC. David Reid and LAC. Ralph Savage:

Medals Reunited New Zealand managed to facilitate the return of the medals awarded to LAC. George Firman.

They deserve the highest praise for this detective work and the many others that they have returned medals lost to New Zealand service personnel. If you come across medals please contact them, you never know, they maybe able them to be placed with their rightful owners. Contact them via this link.

Burial and personal details:

Crew:

F/O. Jack Arthur Hoffeins. Bourail Memorial. Panel 4. Born on the 04th September 1921 at Wellington. Enlisted at Levin on the 04th June 1940. Son of Charles James Hoffeins and Irene Nita Hoffeins (née Low - died 06th February 1933 age 35), of Wellington City, New Zealand. Previously served with 213 fighter squadron and as a ferry pilot with 216 Group. A total of 1190 flying hours logged with over 590 on the Dakota. Over 20 operational sorties - exact number not known.

F/O. Kenneth Mcarthur. Bourail Memorial. Panel 4. Born on the 17th July 1917 at Auckland. Enlisted 30th May 1942. Son of Arthur Flintoff McArthur (died 28th March 1954, age 84) and Agnes Mary McArthur (died 01st June 1946, age 71), of Auckland City, New Zealand. A total of 803 plus flying hours logged and completed 116 operational sorties. Served 2 South Pacific tours.

Cpl. John Douglas Jacobs. Bourail Memorial. Panel 8. Born on the 19th January 1919 at Dunedin. Enlisted on the 13th December 1940 at Harewood. Son of John August Sydney (died 11th November 1975) and Hilda Lewis Jacobs (née Jones - died 23rd July 1963). Husband of Ngaire Phyllis (née Peterson) of Linwood, Christchurch New Zealand. Returning from a tour of duty at Guadalcanal. He was a fitter HE by trade and acting as flight engineer for this flight as the regular crew member had become sick.

F/O. Clifton Charles Kennedy. Bourail Memorial. Panel 5. Also remembered on family grave at Omaka Cemetery, Blenheim. Born on the 13th July 1920 at Blenheim. Son of Charles (died 04th September 1949, age 67) and Alice Maude Kennedy (née Peterson - died 15th January 1967, age 83); husband of Margaret Joyce Kennedy (née Gillespie), of Upper Plain, Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 1405 flying hours logged and completed 109 operational sorties. Served 2 South Pacific tours.

Passengers:

LAC. Oswald Ferguson Bath. Bourail Memorial. Panel 8. Born on the 11th June 1913 at Invercargill. Enlisted on the 10th July 1942 at Rongotar. Son of John Thomas Bath (died 08th September 1954, age 79) and Jeannie Stuart Bath (née Wilson - died 31st October 1949, age 71) Husband of Mabel Grace Bath (née Ransom - died 19th April 1989, age 83), of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. A flight mechanic by trade serving with No. 2 Service Unit.

Fl/Lt. Wilfred Francis Coulson. Bourail Memorial. Panel 3. Born on the 29th May 1907 in Marlybone, London, England. Enlisted in the RAF on 27th June 1927. Transferred to RNZAF on the 01st June 1939. Son of William (died 30th June 1954) and Gertrude Coulson and husband of Joyce Edith Coulson (née Simmonds), of Brooks Bar, Manchester, England. A signals officer by trade served at Jacquinot Bay.

LAC. Harry Faine. Bourail Memorial. Panel 8. Born on the 07th September 1920 at Stratford. Enlisted on the 19th June 1943 at Linton. Son of Jacob (died 26th November 1934, age 68) and Esther Faine (died 23rd September 1952, age 73), of Herne Bay, Auckland, New Zealand. A driver on petrol vehicles by trade with No. 1 Islands Works squadron.

F/O. Douglas Farr. MiD. Bourail Memorial. Panel 4. Born on the 22nd January 1920 at Christchurch. Enlisted on the 23rd August 1940 at Harewooid. Son of Leonard (died 25th January 1949, age 64) and Beatrice May Farr (née Piper - died 16th May 1964), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand and husband of Margaret Mary Farr (née Dunning, of Toronto, Canada. Had also served with 489 squadron in England. Armaments officer serving with No. 3 Service Unit.

LAC. George Firman. Bourail Memorial. Panel 8. Born o n the 09th June 1923 at Dunedin. Enlisted on the 25th July 1943 at Linton. Son of George (died 07th January 1965, age 87) Firman and of Louisa Firman (née Mitchell - died 23rd June 1962, age 83), of 46 Tedder Street St. Kilda, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. Armourer by trade serving with No. 3 Service Unit.

Cpl. Edmund Eaton Gossling. Bourail Memorial. Panel 8. Born on the 10th March 1909 at Winbourne, England. Moved to New Zealand around 1920. Enlisted on the 21st November 1939 at Levin. Son of Samuel John (died 15th October 1950, age 70) and Mabel Lottie Gossling and husband of Marjory Gossling (née Jackson), of Redcliffs, Canterbury, New Zealand. Served as fire crew with No. 31 Service Unit..

LAC. John Barnard Grenfell. Bourail Memorial. Panel 9. Born on the 19th January 1922 at Christchurch. Enlisted on the 29th May 1942. Son of William Grenfell 8(died 12th October 1931, age 50) and of Cicely Karen Charlotte Grenfell (nee Rump - died 19th February 1922, age 26), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Armourer by trade serving with No. 3 Service Unit.

Cpl. Frank Graham Haldane. Bourail Memorial. Panel 8. Born on the 12th July 1910 at Kirkaldy, Fife, Scotland. Moved to New Zealand in about 1924. Enlisted on the 21st March 1941 at Harewood. Son of Alexander (died 12th July 1937, age 19) and Isabella Haldane (died 29th November 1941, age 66) and husband of Ida Muriel Haldane (née Parsons - died 1996), Dunedin, New Zealand. Served as a coppersmith and metal worker with Field Maintenance Unit.

LAC. Frederick John Kearney. Bourail Memorial. Panel 9. Born on the 04th February 1923 at Invercargill. Enlisted on the 31st March 1944. Son of John and Mary Kearney (died 18th February 1942, age 45), of Ocean Beach, Southland, New Zealand. Aircrafthand with No. 1 Islands Works squadron.

F/O. Alan Allister Macpherson. Bourail Memorial. Panel 4. Born on the 16th August 1917 at Christchurch. Enlisted on the 07th August 1943 at Tauranga. Son of Lt. Allister Ewen Macpherson (died of wounds in France on the 26th August 1918, age 26) and Edith May Macpherson (née Smith), of 372 Hereford Street, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Flew at least 230 hours as a pilot. Intelligence officer with 17 squadron. Returning after his second tour.

LAC. David John Reid. Bourail Memorial. Panel 9. Born on the 23rd September 1919 at Wellington. Enlisted on the 05th December 1941 at Harewood. Son of Frank James Reid (died 09th May 1953, age 71) and of Maud Mary Reid (née Marra - died 03rd November 1956) and husband of Vereen Reid (née Cairns), of Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand. Motor vehicle mechanic with New Zealand Air Task Force. Returning after his second tour.

Fl/Sgt. Reginald Bernard Russell. Bourail Memorial. Panel 7. Born on the 06th February 1904 at Hounsdlow, Middlesex, England. Moved later to New Zealand. Transferred from the NZ Army on the 31st October 1939. Son of Ernest Edwin Russell and of Emily Harriet Russell (née Humphries) and husband of Margherita Russell (née Hitchings), of Sydenham, Canterbury, New Zealand. A disciplinarian with New Zealand Air Task Force.

LAC. Ralph Gordon Savage. Bourail Memorial. Panel 9. Born on the 22nd December 1908 at Pleasant Point. Enlisted on the 02nd November 1942. Son of George Savage (died 01st December 1919, age 47) and of Emily Elizabeth Savage (née Burrows - died 27th March 1964, age 84), of Riccarton, Canterbury, New Zealand. A carpenter by trade with Field Maintenance Unit.

LAC. Raymond Jonathan Taylor. Bourail Memorial. Panel 9. Born on the 07 May 1923 at Mosgier. Enlisted on the 04th May 1944 at Harewood. Son of George Taylor and of Isabella McKay Taylor (née Shore), of Allanton, Otago, New Zealand. A patrolman serving with No. 3 Service Unit.

LAC. Douglas Stanley Thomas. Bourail Memorial. Panel 9. Born on the 18th December 1924 at Dunedin. Enlisted on the 17th April 1943 at Omaka. Son of Stanley Thomas (died 21st January 1975, age 83) and of Cecilia Gertrude Thomas (nee McCrone - died 16th July 1966, age 74), of 196 Bay View Road, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. A wireless operator serving with No. 3 Service Unit.

Cpl. Marshall Harry Wilson. Bourail Memorial. Panel 8. Born on the 02nd May 1923 at Hamilton. Enlisted on the 28th August 1942 at Harewood. Son of Alfred Wilson and of Catherine Rebecca Wilson (née Wilkins), of Taumarunui, Auckland, New Zealand. served as a Intelligence clerk with 17 squadron. Returning after his second tour.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks 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 Force Museum of New Zealand, Medals Reunited New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17-09-2021

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Acknowledgements
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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