NZ Aircrew's remains found

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by syscom3, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Jun 4, 2005
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    Orange County, CA
    Aircrew's remains found - The Press - Get the latest local, national and world news from Christchurch's daily newspaper

    Aircrew's remains found
    By SANDRA COX - The Press | Wednesday, 22 August 2007

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    DEAN KOZANIC/The Press
    WAR TRAGEDY: Stephen Graham is the surviving brother of one of two young Kiwi airmen killed in a World War 2 plane crash. The airmen have been found in the Solomon Islands by New Zealand police.

    remains of two young Kiwi airmen killed in a World War 2 plane crash have been found in the Solomon Islands by New Zealand police.

    Police and the New Zealand Defence Force are now embarking on a national search to find relatives of all five crew members – six decades after their deaths.

    The Royal New Zealand Air Force servicemen – all aged 20 or 21 – were killed when their Ventura PV1 bomber crashed and exploded on Malaita Island, 50km north-east of Guadalcanal, on May 28, 1945.

    The crew had left Honiara on a dawn patrol just after 6am. On the way back, the plane failed to clear a steep hill in bad weather and crashed at 1650 feet.

    A search team the next day found wreckage covering a 400m radius of jungle and partial remains of two airmen. The remains were discovered in remnants of flying suits but could not be identified and were buried near the crash site.

    All on board were killed instantly when four depth charges and fuel exploded.

    Keith Maxwell Graham, of Franz Josef, was the 20-year-old pilot.

    His brother, Stephen Graham, 80, of Lincoln, said yesterday the news that more remains had been found after 62 years was surprising.

    He expected the remains would be buried in Malaita and he was considering visiting the crash site.

    He said his brother had dreamed of becoming a doctor.

    Keith Graham was the third child of renowned mountaineer Peter Graham, a former Mount Cook chief guide.

    After primary school at Franz Josef, Keith Graham completed school at Christ's College with University Entrance and entered the air force. Because he was under 21, his parents had to give permission for him to serve overseas.

    "It was reluctantly given, but when you've got a boy whose friends are joining up and going overseas it's very hard to refuse," Stephen Graham said.

    "He was a very keen young fellow. Anything he took on had to be done correctly. He took everything in his stride, went into in depth and made the most of it."

    The head of the police International Service Group, Assistant Commissioner Jon White, said once police learnt of the unburied remains near the site, they wanted to ensure they were taken care of. Locals had apparently known of the remains and led police to them.

    Police last week recovered the remains and put them in secure storage in Honiara. .

    The servicemen killed with Flying Officer Keith Graham were: Sergeant Eric George Priest, 21, of Thames; Flight Sergeant Leo Parkes Marshall, 20, of Raurimu; Sergeant Melville Pascoe Lawrence Moxsom, 20, of Morrinsville; and Sergeant Douglas David Read, 20, of Kohukohu, Northland.
  2. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Jul 10, 2007
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    R E T I R E D !!
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    I hope these airmen get to "go home". I think it would be better if
    they were interred in their homeland.

  3. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Aug 21, 2006
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    Manufacture Tech
    I too hope that they will be buried at home. :salute:
  4. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

    Mar 18, 2007
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    Retired from Verizon Communications - Now Working for Point Lobster Company, Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ
    Jersey Shore, USA
    They deserve to come home and have a proper burial in their home country. :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute:

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