Maori aircrew serving with 75 (NZ) Squadron, 1939-45

Many thanks once again to Chris for his contribution of this post. Whilst the blog has presented information about the Maori airmen that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron, specifically to certain crews, I think it’s fitting tribute to them as a group that we should recognise these individuals and their contribution to the Squadron and Bomber Command – as Chris observes, It’s fascinating, and quite ironic that these young boys, often from isolated rural backgrounds, travelled to the other side of the world in Britain’s defence, when it’s quite feasible that their great-grandfathers could have fought against the British in defence of their own lands and political independence………

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Photo from The Weekly News,17 March 1943, with caption, “A Maori team at a British air station – R. W. Raharuhi (Takara), M. T. Parata (Waikanae), M. T. T. Manawaiti and E. H. Gray (Otaki).” Thought to have been taken at Mildenhall.
– Photo: The Weekly News, from Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

One of the surprises in my research into my uncle’s time at Mepal, was a number of Maori surnames amongst the crew lists. The WWII exploits of the 28th Maori Battalion (NZ Army) are legendary in New Zealand, but little or nothing has been written about Maori serving in the Air Force. The short film “Maximum Effort”, featured in a recent post here, includes reference to the (Witting) crew’s Wireless Operator, Glen, “a Maori from the North Island”, and Harry Yates’ wonderful book “Luck And A Lancaster” refers to the Yates crew’s Maori Bomb Aimer, ‘Mac’ Maaka. A recent thread on the Wings Over New Zealand forum made for a fascinating discussion on the subject, with several family members joining in to add further detail. The daughter of 75 (NZ) Sqdn Wellington Pilot Roy Raharuhi mentioned the wonderful photo above, and I decided to try and compile a list of names. In the process I have made contact with a couple of these airman’s families, which is a real privilege, and the alphabetical list below might hopefully help encourage others to share more information about these brave individuals. This list is probably incomplete, and any additions would be great to see.

KenDalzell(25)

The Amohanga crew pose in front of Lancaster HK593, JN-X.
Left to right rear: Alf Woolcock, A/B; Ken Dalzell, Navigator; Kiwi Amohanga, Pilot; Jack Richardson, M/U/Gnr.
Front: Steven Fletcher, F/E;, Sandy Strachan, R/Gnr; Max Spooner, W/Op.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Ken Dalzell.

P/O Kiwi Ernest  Amohanga(NZ425492)
Pilot (Lancasters)
c/w Wi Rangiuaia as 2nd Pilot, then captain of own crew.
C Flight.
10 Mar 45 to 5 Jun 45.

Sgt Raymond Cyril Going (NZ414278)
Pilot (Stirlings)
No record of a prior op’ as 2nd Pilot.
13 Feb 43 to KIA 3 Mar 43, age 21. Panel 199, Runnymede Memorial

Ngapuhi.
Appears to have been shot down with all crew lost on their very first Op – Stirling N6123, AA-Q, lost on Operations March 3rd, 1943, shot down by Ofw. Karl Haisch 33 miles North West of Heligoland on mine laying op at 22:26 hours, headed to Dutch Frisian Islands (Nectarines Region):

Sgt. R.C. Going, R.N.Z.A.F. (+)
Sgt E.H. Weaver R.A.F.V.R. (+)
P/O A.M. Bridgman, R.N.Z.A.F. (+)
F/S F.A.W. Willis R.A.F.V.R. (+)
Sgt K.C. Eyre R.A.F.V.R. (+)
Sgt F.B. Stewart, R.A.F.V.R. (+)
Sgt C.S. Burton R.N.Z.A.F. (+)

F/Sgt Edward Henry Gray (NZ412878)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Wellingtons, Stirlings),
c/w Ray Broady, Ray Bennett, Jim Way, and Jack Joll.
6 Oct 42 to 25 Oct 43

Gray’s original pilot, Sgt Raymond Herbert John Broady, was killed a month after the crew arrived on Squadron, but before they had flown any op’s, on 28 Nov 42 in a training flight accident at Oakington, during conversion to Stirlings. Short Stirling Mk 1, BF399 , c/s AA-O, of 75 (New Zealand) Squadron (piloted by Sgt RHJ Broady ) took off from RAF Newmarket and crashed at Trinity Hall Farm, Oakington. It is not known why Gray was missing from the crew that day, but his place may have been taken by an OTU staff member who is listed as killed in the crash.
More info on the crash here

Gray went on to fill in with other crews, and then joined up with Ray Bennett’s crew, up until late Feb 43.

In early March 43 he appears to have been posted off to 1651 OTU with Jim Way’s crew, who had arrived on Squadron on 17 Feb, but lost their original Pilot (Sgt Alex Scott) on his 2nd Pilot op’. Gray was promoted from Sgt to F/Sgt 1 March 43. His new Pilot, W/O2 Jim Way died 17 Apr 43, age 26, during a raid on Ludwigshafen, flying as 2nd Pilot with the Debenham crew. Buried Choloy War Cemetery France. The ‘headless’ crew, who by now had each twice experienced losing a Pilot before the crew had flown an op’ together, was “picked up” by S/L Jack Joll  DFC, DFM, the Flight Commander of “A” Flight. Gray went on to complete his tour, flying his last op’ with the Joll crew on 5 Sep 43. Gray was posted to 11 OTU, presumably to a training role, on 25 Oct 43.

See photo at top of post

W/O Tapua ‘Tap’  Heperi(NZ426199)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Lancasters)
c/w Doug St.Claire Clement.
27 Nov 44 to 4 Jun 45

Photo and more about Tapua and the Clement crew here

F/O William Laurence Kereama (NZ425585)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Lancasters)
c/w Alan Baxter
1 Sep 44 to 24 Jan 45.

rotated and cropped

F/O William Laurence Kereama (NZ425585). Picture supplied by Jacqui Barwell

P/O Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka (NZ421741)
Air Bomber (Lancasters)
c/w Harry Yates.
31 Jul 44 to 16 Feb 45.

Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu
Mac featured in Harry Yates’ book, “Luck And A Lancaster”:

“As he talked, my impressions of him became ever more favourable. No Englishman I’d met was so sincere and guileless about himself. Mac was simply a stranger to the inner tensions and vanities that make liars of the rest of us. He was mightily proud of his people who, I thought, must be formidable opponents in war if they were all like this chap. I began to see in him a military paragon. He had the heart of a lion. I don’t think he was afraid of anything or any man. He had no need to be because he was built like a bunker. I felt that his loyalty would be a rich prize, if one deserved it. He was just the sort of chap one imagines walking steadfastly into the enemy’s fire for the sake of his comrades. Well, the skies over Germany were fiery enough. Mac would be an example to us all.”

Yates-crew-StTrond-op

Photo: Yates crew, Mac Maaka top right. From “Luck And A Lancaster”.

P/O Mikaere Tutahunga Tomika Manawaiti, DFM, (NZ412895)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Wellingtons, Stirlings)
c/w Leo Trott
12 Aug 42 to 6 May 43.

Citation DFM (13 May 1943): ‘Sergeant Manawaiti is a keen and reliable wireless operator air gunner who has taken part in many daring operational missions. His skill as a wireless operator has assisted in securing the success on many sorties, while his cheerfulness and courage have done much to maintain the high standard of morale and efficiency which prevails in the squadron.’

See photo at top of post

P/O Glen Osmond Marshall (NZ416011)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Stirlings, Lancasters)
c/w Eric Witting.
8 Sep 43 to 10 Jul 44.

Glen was the Wireless Operator in the Eric Witting crew, the crew featured in the May 1944 short film about 75 (NZ) Sqdn, “Maximum Effort”:

GlenMarshall

More here:

W/O Te Rahu Calvin Mataira (NZ43492)
Rear Gunner (Lancasters)
c/w Charlie Wagstaff.
20 Mar 45 to 28 Sep 45.

F/O, Hoturoa Arnel Dean Meyer, DFC, (NZ416968)
Pilot (Lancasters)
12 Jun 44 to 20 Sep 44.

DSC_0239 (2) - Copy

Tai Nicholas (front right) with the Layton crew.
Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © Clive Estcourt.

P/O Ta Tio Tuaine “Tai” NICHOLAS (NZ425658)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Lancasters)
Did two tours with the Layton crew.
27 Jul 44 to 15 Sep 44, & 10 Feb 45 to 16 Apr 45, c/w J R Layton

F/Sgt Hoani Paraone (NZ422204)
Air Bomber (Stirlings, Lancasters)
c/w Francis Lundon & Tom Buckley.
7 Aug 43 to 19 Sep 43 & 9 Oct 43 to 10 Jun 44

Paraone’s original Pilot, F/Sgt Francis Patrick Lundon, was lost before the crew even got to fly an op’ together – he was listed ‘Missing’ on his second op’ as 2nd Pilot with the Sedunary crew on 24 Aug 43. Paraone was posted back to 1651 Conversion Unit on 19 September, presumably to re-crew. He was posted back in to 75 (NZ) Sqdn on 9 Oct 43 and flew a tour of op’s as A/B with the Buckley crew.

Sgt Marama Tahu O’Tangi Potiki Te Whaiti Parata (NZ391069)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Wellingtons)
c/w Roy Raharuhi.
18 Aug 42 to 10 Nov 42.

See photo at top of post
More about the Raharuhi crew here: http://cambridgeairforce.org.nz/Robert%20Carter.htm

Sgt Roy William Raharuhi (NZ412737)
Pilot (Wellingtons)
c/w Jack Wright as 2nd Pilot, then captain of own crew.
19 Aug 42 to 10 Nov 42

See photo at top of post
More about the Raharuhi crew here: http://cambridgeairforce.org.nz/Robert%20Carter.htm

F/O Wi Rangiuaia (NZ427319)
Pilot (Lancasters).
c/w Ernest Abraham, Mac Baigent as 2nd Pilot, then captain of own crew.
C Flight
15 Jan 45 to 15 Jun 45.
More about the Rangiuaia crew here.

F/O Edward Simon (Haimoana) Snowden  (NZ427817)
Air Bomber (Lancasters)
c/w Hoturoa Meyer.
12 Jun 44 to 20 Sep 44.

Later DFC (27 Mar 45) with 7(PFF) Sqn, Polish Cross, CBE, QSM.

F/S Edward Maxwell “Max” Spooner (NZ428162)
Wireless operator (Lancasters)
c/w Kiwi Amohanga, then later with EF Butler, E L K Meharry, then A G Daly for Tiger Force.
C Flight
10 Mar 45 to 30 Sep 45.

P/O Iwikau Te Matauira Te Aika, DFC (NZ425860)
Rear Gunner (Stirlings, Lancasters)
c/w Des Horgan
18 Sep 43 to 17 Jun 44.

Citation DFC (18 Sep 1944): ‘This officer has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.’

F/O Richard John Urlich (NZ426229)
Pilot (Lancasters)
c/w Charlie Stevens as 2nd Pilot then captain of own crew.
20 Mar 45 to 15 Jun 45.

P/O Tame Hawaikirangi ‘Tom’ Waerea (NZ421300)
Rear Gunner (Stirlings)
c/w Richard Whitmore
C Flight
20 Aug 43 to KIA 27 Sep 43, age 29, during the crew’s eighth op’, a raid on Hanover. Buried Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

From the ORB’s, 05/06 September 43:
‘The aircraft (EH877) captained by F/S Whitmore sighted an enemy aircraft 100 yards astern. Both Mid-Upper and Rear air gunners, Sgt’s Chesson and Waerea, opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to roll on its back and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was followed by another enemy aircraft approaching in an arc from starboard to port astern. Both M/U and Rear gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. A minute later, a burning Lancaster was seen under attack from an unidentified enemy aircraft. F/S Whitmore’s two gunners opened fire on the German fighter, which then disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up.’

Promoted from F/Sgt to P/O 24 Sep 43.
27/29 September 1943: Stirling Mk III EH877, JN-C, failed to return, all crew except one were killed:

P/O Richard Charles Whitmore, RNZAF. (NZ421123) Pilot (+)
Sgt. John Bosworth Beresford, RAF (1583723), Flight Engineer (+)
F/O David Maurice Adamson, RNZAF. (NZ415052), Navigator (+).
Sgt. Hugh Munn, RAF (1349759), Air Bomber (+).
Sgt. F.C. Cowan, RAF (1387682), Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (PoW No. 250701. PoW camps Dulag Luft, Stalags IVB, Luft III. Promoted to F/Sgt while a PoW. Safe UK.)
Sgt. Frederick John Charles Chesson, RAF (1336122), Mid Upper Gunner (+)
P/O Tame Hawaikirangi, Waerea, RNZAF. (NZ421300), Rear Gunner (+)

Photos and more information:  http://75nzsquadronremembered.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/waerea-tame-hawaikirangi-thomas.jpg

F/Sgt Tamaterangi Wehi (NZ4213962)
Pilot/Flight Engineer (Lancasters)
c/w Laurence McKenna.
16 Jul 45 to 23 Sep 45. Tiger Force.

F/O Vernon John Zinzan (NZ425314)
Pilot (Lancasters).
c/w Wylie Wakelin as 2nd Pilot then captain of own crew.
3 Dec 44 to 10 May 45.

Thought to be All Black Zinzan Brooke’s namesake.
More here and here
Photo (standing at left) here

AKE AKE KIA KAHA

Sources:
Wings Over New Zealand forum (http://rnzaf.proboards.com/thread/17780/maori-aircrew-ww2), Auckland War Memorial Museum – Cenotaph, 75 (NZ) Squadron nominal roll and ORB’s, 28 Maori Battalion (http://www.28maoribattalion.org.nz/photo/messerschmitt-109-shot-maori-rnzaf-pilots), Luck and a Lancaster: Chance and Survival in World War II, by Harry Yates, DFC, 2005, Airlife Classics / The Crowood Press, private correspondence with the Rangiuaia and Waerea families.

10 thoughts on “Maori aircrew serving with 75 (NZ) Squadron, 1939-45

  1. gpcox

    Fantastic tribute. So often these units drift into the sunset as far as history goes due to being attached to larger groups. (I often have trouble finding the Canadian units as well due to events being kept as the Commonwealth Div., attached to British, yadayadayada… Thank you for this.

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    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Thanks for your appreciation GP – It’s important the Maori airmen are remembered for their participation and contribution to the Squadron and Bomber Command as a whole – there were many that flew in other Squadrons I am sure. The Squadron was made up of airmen from many different countries – New Zealand, the UK, Canada, Australia, an American that went to Canada to join up, the Caribbean, India and even an airman who was Chinese. They must all be remembered.

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  2. Tish Farrell

    A fitting tribute, indeed, and thanks to GPCOX for the reblog. My interest is largely African and in the thousands of rural young Africans who served in both world wars. In the second world war the men of Kenya’s King’s African Rifles played a crucial part in the war against the Japanese in Burma. They were recruited because British command ludicrously thought they could fight in steamy tropical jungles in the way Europeans could not this even though no such terrain exists in East Africa. Today their service largely goes unremembered, and the carrier corps of WW1 who died in tens of thousands unknown. And so I find it very sad (shameful actually) that the indigenous peoples of colonised countries still receive so little recognition for the valiant part they played in fighting for European freedoms. So great piece. We need to know about these brave people, and we need to remember them.

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  3. gpcox

    We are having a problem appearing in the Reader for people to see because there are far too many Tags – it will help others to find this post if you would not use more than 8 Tags per post.
    Thank you.

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    Reply
    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi GP – many thanks for re-blogging this piece – yes, I can understand the problem with the tabs, but as the primary function of this post was to (as like all of the posts perhaps in fact) allow all the names of the Maori airmen to be searchable as a tag I have to leave them all – its compounded by the fact that having moved the main document on Maori airmen to a page, it cannot be tagged for searches.

      Like

      Reply
  4. aussieian2011

    You are to be commended on this great tribute to the memory of these elite men.
    An elite group of airman whose contribution to the war must be considered exceptional.
    Ian

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