Maori aircrew who served with 75(NZ) Squadron 39-45

Many thanks  to Chris for his efforts in gathering together information on the Maori Airmen who flew with the Squadron. 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………

MUS050651-1600

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.

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.

Kiwi Amohanga’s crew also included Maori Wireless Operator Max Spooner, see below.

More about the Amohanga crew op’s history here.

 

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.

F/Sgt Phillip Baden “Phil” Baker (NZ416976)
Air Bomber / Mid Upper Gunner
c/w D P Leadley
13th of October 1944 to 20th of February 1945.

From Palmerston North.

More about the Leadley crew op’s history, including crew photos, here.

 

Sgt Raymond Cyril Going (NZ414278)
Pilot (Stirlings)
No record of a prior op’ as 2nd Pilot.
13th of February 1943 to KIA 3rd of March 1943, age 21. Panel 199, Runnymede Memorial

Ngapuhi.
From Maromaku.
Shot down with all crew lost on their very first Op – Stirling N6123, AA-Q, March 3rd, 1943.

More about the Going crew, with photos, here.

Going-Raymond-Cyril-World-War-II-1939-1945-24587-600507

Photo above from Auckland War Memorial Museum – Cenotaph

F/Sgt Edward Henry ‘Ted’ Gray (NZ412878)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Wellingtons, Stirlings),
c/w Ray Broady, Ray Bennett, Jim Way, and Jack Joll.
6th of October 1942 to 25th of October 1943.

From Otaki.

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.

More about the Joll crew op’s history here.

W/O Tapua ‘Tap’  Heperi(NZ426199)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Lancasters)
c/w Doug St.Claire Clement.
27th of November 1944 to 4th of  June 1945

From Okaihau.
Another photo and more about Tapua and the Clement crew here.
More about the Clement crew op’s history here.

TapuaHeperi cont and cropped

F/Sgt Tapua Heperi, Wireless Operator, 75 (NZ) Sqdn, Mepal. Taken on return from Essen daylight raid 11/3/45. The Clement crew had flown Lancaster I PB820, JN-V that day, landing back at Mepal at 5.14pm. Credit: Lancasters At War 3, Garbett & Goulding, Ian Allan Ltd, via Howard Keetch.

P/O Stanley John “Stan” Higgins (NZ415241)
Air Bomber (Lancasters)
c/w A C Baxter
30th of August 1944 to 7th of  January 1945.

From Murupara.
Stan Higgins and Bill Kereama (below) both flew with Alan Baxter.

More about the Baxter crew op’s history here.

F/O Roy George Tawa Iles (NZ4212581)
Pilot (Lancasters, Lincolns)
25th of April to 28th of September 1945, including Tiger Force.

Roy’s father, Tawa Iles’ mother was Ripeka Parani Ututaonga (Nga Puhi, Ngati Whakaue). Roy’s mother’s mother was Minny Kathleen Porter (Poata) of Ngati Porou.

More about the Iles crew op’s history here.
F/O William Laurence Kereama (NZ425585)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Lancasters)
c/w Alan Baxter
1st of September 1944 to 24th of January 1945.

From Marton.

More about the Baxter crew op’s history here.

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.
31st of July 1944 to 16th of February 1945.

Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu
From Taradale.

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.”

More about the Yates crew op’s history here.

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
12th of August 1942 to 6th of May 1943.

Citation DFM (13th of 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.”

More about the Trott crew op’s history here.

ManaManawaiti[3]

Mana Manawaiti.
image from NZ Bomber Command Association, Harry Hamerton collection.

P/O Glen Osmond Marshall (NZ416011)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Stirlings, Lancasters)
c/w Eric Witting.
8th of September 1943 to 10th of July  1944.

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”:

More about the Witting crew op’s history here.

GlenMarshall

 

W/O Te Rahu Calvin Mataira (NZ43492)
Rear Gunner (Lancasters)
c/w Charlie Wagstaff.
20th of March 1945 to 28th of September 1945.

More about the Wagstaff crew op’s history here.

P/O Ta Tio Tuaine “Tai” NICHOLAS (NZ425658)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Lancasters)
Did two tours with the Layton crew.
27th of July 1944 to 15th of September 1944, & 10th of February 1945 to 16th of April 1945, c/w J R Layton

More about the Layton crew op’s history here.

DSC_0239 (2) - Copy

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

F/Sgt Hoani ‘John’ Paraone (NZ422204)
Air Bomber (Stirlings, Lancasters)
c/w Francis Lundon & Tom Buckley.
7th of August 1943 to 19th of September 1943 & 9th of October 1943 to 10th of June 1944.

From Taumaranui.
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.

More about the Buckley crew op’s history here.

Sgt Marama Tahu O’Tangi Potiki Te Whaiti Parata (NZ391069)
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Wellingtons)
c/w Roy Raharuhi.
18th of August 1942 to 10th of November 1942.

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.
19th of August 1942 to 10th of November 1942

More about the Raharuhi crew here at Cambridgeairforce.org.
More about the Raharuhi crew op’s history here.

Dad,%20Parata%20and%20unknown[3]

Roy Raharuhi, Marama Parata (centre), and unknown.
Image from Raharuhi family via Russell Murphy.

F/S Charles Mita Hilairo Pinker, DFC (NZ416159)
Navigator (Stirlings, Lancasters)
c/w Francis Lundon & Tom Buckley.
7th of August 1943 to 10th of June 1944.

From Matata.
See Hoani Paraone entry above – their 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. Mita Pinker and Hoani Paraone flew a tour of op’s together in the Buckley crew.

Citation DFC (18th of  September 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.”

More about the Buckley crew op’s history here.

F/O Wi Rangiuaia (NZ427319)
Pilot (Lancasters).
c/w Ernest Abraham, Mac Baigent as 2nd Pilot, then captain of own crew.
C Flight
15th of January 1945 to 15th June 1945.
More about the Rangiuaia crew here.

F/O Edward Simon (Haimoana) Snowden  (NZ427817)
Air Bomber (Lancasters)
c/w Hoturoa Meyer.
12th of June 1944 to 20th of September 1944.

From Ahipara.

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

More about the Meyer crew op’s history here.

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
10th of March 1945 to 30th of September 1945.

From Taihape.
See Amohanga crew photo above.
More about the Amohanga crew op’s history here.

P/O Iwikau Te Matauira Te Aika, DFC (NZ425860)
Rear Gunner (Stirlings, Lancasters)
c/w Des Horgan
18th of September 1943 to 17th of June 1944.

Citation DFC (18th of  September 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.”

From Christchurch.
Credited with destroying a Ju.88 nightfighter on the night of 27/28th of September 1943, just after bombing Hannover, with the Horgan crew in Stirling EF148, AA-R.

Citation DFC (18th of  September 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.”

More about the Horgan crew op’s history here.

W/O Guy Perenara Tomlins, CdeG(Belg) (NZ42312)
Air Bomber (Lancasters, Lincolns)
c/w L D McKenna.
10th of June to 30th of September 1945. Tiger Force.

From Pakipaki.
Previous tour with 466 Sqdn.

Citation CdeG(Belg (27th of  June 1947):
“Warrant Officer Tomlins has made several sorties against a wide variety of enemy targets, including some of the most heavily defended deep in Germany. After the landing of the Allied Forces on the Continent he worked closely with the British Army by taking part in sorties against enemy communications, which operations assisted in the liberation of Belgium. Warrant Officer Tomlins has displayed keenness and efficiency together with determination and a devotion to duty that gained him the confidence of his crew, and set an example of the highest order in the squadron.”

F/O Richard John Urlich (NZ426229)
Pilot (Lancasters)
c/w Charlie Stevens as 2nd Pilot then captain of own crew.
20th of March 1945 to 15th of June 1945.

More about the Urlich crew op’s history here.

P/O Tame Hawaikirangi ‘Tom’ Waerea (NZ421300)
Rear Gunner (Stirlings)
c/w Richard Whitmore
C Flight

Killed on the 27th of September 1943, aged 29, during the crew’s eighth Op’, a raid on Hanover. Buried Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

From Rotorua.

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.
27/29th of September 1943: Stirling Mk III EH877, JN-C, failed to return, all crew except one were killed:

Photos and more information.
More about the Whitmore crew op’s history here.

F/Sgt Tamaterangi ‘Tom’ Wehi (NZ4213962)
Pilot/Flight Engineer (Lancasters)
c/w Laurence McKenna.
16th of July  1945 to 23rd of September 1945. Tiger Force.

From Takapau.

F/O Vernon John Zinzan (NZ425314)
Pilot (Lancasters).
c/w Wylie Wakelin as 2nd Pilot then captain of own crew.
3rd of December 1944 to 10th of May 1945.

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

As always, thanks to the families who have contributed photos and information, and to the NZ Bomber Command Assn. for permission to reproduce photos from their archives.

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.

One thought on “Maori aircrew who served with 75(NZ) Squadron 39-45

  1. Mark Iles

    Great thread! Can I add to this list my father Roy Goerge Tawa Iles, Sgt Pilot, (4212581). His father, Tawa Iles’ mother was Ripeka Parani Ututaonga (Nga Puhi, Ngati Whakaue). Roy’s mother’s mother was Minny Kathleen Porter (Poata) of Ngati Porou.

    Like

    Reply

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