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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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486 Squadron Crest
28.06.1944 No. 486 Squadron Tempest V JN804 SA-R P/O. Wright

Operation: Diver

Date: 28th June 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 486 Squadron 150 Wing. 83 Group. 2nd Tactical Air Force (Motto: Hiwa hau Mak - 'Beware of the wild winds')

Type: Tempest V

Serial: JN804

Code: SA-R

Base: RAF Newchurch, Kent

Location: Beachy Head, East Sussex

Pilot: P/O. Roland John Wright NZ/421131 RNZAF Age 24. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 21:50 hrs on an anti-diver patrol (V1/Flying bomb). During the day the Squadron had claimed 7 - all destroyed.

There are variations on how he lost his life, some publications state that after shooting down a V1 the young New Zealander was killed when his Tempest hit the ground after being caught in the blast.

The other is that he was shot down by American anti-aircraft unit, perhaps made more credible as W/O. Cornelius James Sheridan NZ/412358 RNZAF (later Sq/Ldr) wrote about his loss stating that a radio message had been received by Joe reporting that he had been hit and was going to attempt to force land the aircraft. W/O. Sheridan explained that he thought that a forced landing at night was perhaps very difficult to undertake and could not understand why he chose not to bale out. He also went on to say that the feelings from others in the unit were that they wanted to strafe the American gun position!

Of course we welcome any further evidence on this.

Another Tempest from the Squadron was also hit by the anti-aircraft unit in the same area but 24 year old, F/O. Stamford Seaton Williams NZ/4122997 RNZAF, flying JN794 SA-T managed to fly the aircraft back to RAF Newchurch. Further information on this pilot can be found here.

P/O. Frank Brewster Lawless NZ/411417 RNZAF dod hit another V1 and was caught in the blast which forced him to crash land north east of Rye. The pilot was uninjured. Later to receive the DFC and remembered as destroying 9 x V1's and an enemy aircraft.

On Sunday 18th June 1944 P/O. Wright flying Tempest JN770 SA-V shot down a V1 at 22:00 hrs over Mayfield in Sussex.

Burial details:

P/O. Roland John Wright. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 8.AA.2. Born on the 31st January 1929 at Christchurch, the son of Roland Spencer Wright and of Christine Elizabeth Wright (née Ayres) and husband of Norma Daphne Constance Wright (née Miles), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as a clerk for the Farmers Freezing Company in Auckland. A total of 433 flying hours logged and having completed 32 operational sorties

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, also to Brian Cull for the publication 'Diver! Diver Diver!' on the V1 assault on England 1944-45. other sources as quoted below:

KTY 31.07.2019

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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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