NEW ZEALAND DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES
R.N.Z.A.F CATALINA FLYING BOAT AIR CRASH
FIJI
SATURDAY 27 JANUARY 1945

From - New Zealand Herald, Volume 82, Issue 25113, 29 January 1945, Page 4 and New Zealand Herald, Volume 82, Issue 25114, 30 January 1945, Page 6

On the 27 January 1945 a Royal New Zealand Air Force Catalina flying-boat went missing near Fiji. The aircraft had a total of 18 on board, consisting of crew and passengers. Six were later rescued, slightly injured.

Those missing, later declared killed were:
Corporal Ray Ellis ALLEN - Mr F Allen, Eden View Road, Glen Eden, Auckland 1 (father).
Sergeant Walter Desmond BOSS - Mr C L Boss, Dunedin (father).
Warrant-Officer Raymond Herbert FREEMAN Mrs M M Freeman, Wellington (wife).
Flight-Sergeant Walter John GEARY - Mrs M N Geary, Hawera (wife).
Leading-Aircraftman Victor Owen McKAIN - Mrs M McKain, Waitara (mother).
Leading-Aircraftman Eric William McLEOD Mrs J P McLeod, Commercial Hotel, Helensville (wife).
Aircraftman John Sustins STAFFORD - Mrs J F Stafford, Wellington (mother).
Leading-Aircraftman John Murray STEWART - Mr A M Stewart, 109 Campbell Road, Onehunga (father).
Aircraftman Brian Joseph STONE - Mrs K B Stone, 35 Allenby Avenue, Devonport (mother).
Aircraftman Arthur Hugh THOMAS - Mrs C H Thomas, Invercargill (mother).
Flight-Sergeant Frank Shields WILSON - Mrs D Wilson, Riverton (mother).
Leading-Aircraftman Robert Percy WRIGHT Mrs J J Wright, 17 Meola Road, Point Chevalier (wife).

Born at Dargaville 31 years ago, Leading-Aircraftman R P WRIGHT is tho husband of Mrs Wright, of 17 Meola Road, Point Chevalier, and the second son of Mrs M OTTO, of Piha. He was educated at Ponsonby, Kowhai Intermediate School and the Seddon Memorial Technical College. Before entering tho Army in January, 1943, he worked with a firm of motor coach builders in Auckland. Transferring to the Air Force shortly after entering the Army, Leading-Aircraftman Wright served at New Zealand stations until he left for Fiji at the end of December last. He is a keen yachtsman and was a member of the Point Chevalier Boating Club. An original member of the Hawke Sea Scouts, he served as assistant-scoutmaster for some years. He has two young daughters.

Leading-Aircraftman J M STEWART, aged 20, is the second son of Mr and Mrs A M Stewart, of 109 Campbell Road, Onehunga. Joining the Army in January, 1943, at the age of 18, he transferred to the Air Force nine months later and received his training as an instrument mechanic at various New Zealand stations. He left for Fiji in October last. He was educated at the Mount Albert Grammar School. A keen cross-country runner, Leading- Aircraftman Stewart followed this sport with the Presbyterian Harrier Club.

Corporal R E ALLEN, second son of Mr and Mrs F. Allen, of Eden View Road, Glen Eden, was born at Dannevirke 27 years ago. He was educated there and at Avondale, where he won the Bollard Scholarship, and at Mount Albert Grammar School. Leaving school he worked for the New Lynn Borough Council for a short time and then joined the staff of the Customs Department, in which he served for about four years between Auckland and Wellington before entering the Army in 1940. He served with the Army in New Zealand until he was transferred to the Air Force in May, 1942. He left for Fiji last September. A keen builder and flyer of model aeroplanes, he represented New Zealand in competitions in Sydney some years ago. He won several New Zealand championships. He played football and belonged to a hiking club in Wellington.

Aircraftman Brian J STONE is the only son of Mr and Mrs C J Stone, of Allenby Avenue, Devonport. Aged 23, he was educated at Sacred Heart College and Auckland University College. Before entering the forces in January, 1942, he was a member of the office staff of the Auckland City Council.


The aircraft left its base at Fiji on the Saturday morning. Late in the afternoon it was reported overdue, and an intensive search was carried out until dark by six other machines. At dawn today [29 January] the search continued, and six of the occupants of the missing flying-boat were found. They were:
Corporal J H CHRISTENSON, of Christchurch
Sergeant M HUNTER, of Invercargill
Aircraftman A E MARSDEN, of Birkenhead, Auckland
Corporal L V PERRY, of Tauranga
Sergeant Sidney Claud SAWARD, of Tuakau,
and one other passenger of Fiji.



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