Operation: Air firing exercise
Date: 29th September 1942 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 2 Squadron RNZAF (motto: Whakatopa Kia Mate - We Swoop to Kill)
Type: Hudson III
Base: Nelson, New Zealand
Location: Tasman Bay, New Zealand
Pilot: F/O. Dean Rainsford Horrocks NZ/412234 RNZAF Age 20. Died
Obs: W/O. James Alexander Colway NZ/40735 RNZAF Age ? Survived
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Vincent Charles Hill NZ/38248 RNZAF Age 23. Died
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Gilbert Bryson NZ/414856 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor Newell Chapple NZ/414861 RNZAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Francis Stevens NZ/414894 RNZAF Age 27. Missing - believed killed
Armourer: AC1. John Gordon Davis NZ/416787 RNZAF Age 32. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Flying low over Tasman Bay when at about 15:55 hrs. 5 miles off Motueka a propeller struck the water causing extreme vibration. The pilot managed to climb to about 200 ft. before it lost height. F/O. Horrocks crash landed the Hudson in the bay all the crew survived this.
Within 30 seconds the aircraft sank, taking with it the dingy. All the crew were wearing lifejackets except W/O. Colway. After about 20 minutes one was dropped to him by another aircraft. He was picked up after about two hours in the water - none of the others survived.
The bodies of F/O. Horrocks and Sgt. Hill were later recovered, but the other 4 have no known graves. W/O. Colway from Masterton, recovered from shock and hypothermia in hospital.
F/O. Dean Rainsford Horrocks. Devonport Cemetery (O'Neill's Point). Block G, Grave 226. Born on the 06th March 1922 at Takapuna. An architectural student with H.L. Massey prior to enlisting on the 13th April 1941. Son of the late Lindsay Robert Brownlow Horrocks (died the previous year on the 14th September 1941, age 57), and Minnie Robina Horrocks (née Frater - died 16th December 1973, age 87), of 27 St. Georges Bay Road, Parnell, Auckland City, New Zealand. A total of 409 flying hours logged with 159 solo and 28 of these on the Hudson.
Note: He had 4 brothers, 3 of whom served overseas; Lt. Peter Lindsay Horrocks 64904 30 Infantry Battalion. Passed away on the 27th July 1988 age 75. Lt/Col. John Brownlow Horrocks MC. CBE. 428519 New Zealand Artillery, 5 Field Regiment. Passed away on the 16th September 2003 age 83. Maj. James Ainsworth Horrocks (Territorial) Royal New Zealand Artillery, 1 Field Regiment. Passed away on the 16th May 2015 age 89. Cpt. Robert Edgeworth Horrocks MC. 25200 21 Infantry Battalion killed on the 28th November 1943 at Sangro River, Italy, age 27.
Sgt. Vincent Charles Hill. Christchurch Cemetery (Bromley) Grave 3. 3E. Born on the 23rd January 1919 at Dunedin. Worked as a private secretary at Tai Tapu Dairy Company. Enlisted on the 01st December 1938. Son of Charles Vincent Hill, and of Lena Hill (née Collins), of St. Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. A total of 508 flying hours logged.
Sgt. Jack Gilbert Bryson. Canterbury Provincial Memorial. Born on the 12th July 1918 at Dunedin. A store man for Atlantic Union Oil prior to service. Enlisted in the RNZAF on the 31st August 1941. Son of Peter and Margaret Wilson Bryson (née Dickson), of St. Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Sgt. Victor Newell Chapple. Wellington Provincial Memorial. Born on the 06th May 1921 at Hawera. A farm hand for W.W. Nicholas prior to enlisting on the 30th August 1941. Son of Charles George and Myrtle Grace Chapple (née Newell), of Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Sgt. Gordon Francis Stevens. Wellington Provincial Memorial. Born on the 31st January 1915 at New Plymouth. Enlisted on the 30th August 1941. Worked as a self employed Grocer prior to service. Son of Francis and Mabel Stevens (née Mills) and husband of Joyce Ellen Stevens (née Feakins and later Murphy), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.
AC1. John Gordon Davis. Wellington Provincial Memorial. Born on the 15th February 1910 at Ashburton. A grocer for Maypole Stores prior to enlisting on the 05th December 1941. Son of John Llewellyn and Emily Davis (née Gerrard) of Wanganui, New Zealand.
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, other sources as quoted below: