Known as Dave

Serial Number: NZ403966
RNZAF Trade: Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 27th of October 1940
Date of Demob: 22nd of April 1945
Rank Achieved: Flight Lieutenant
Flying Hours: 1206 hours total, 440 hours operational
Operational Sorties: unknown

Date of Birth: 3rd of February 1916, in Wellington
Personal Details: Dave was the son of Mr Harry Mathew Livingstone and Mrs Helen Maud Livingstone. Harry was a commercial traveller for Messrs Kempthorne, Prosser and Co. and before WWII they had moved from Cambridge to Tauranga, where they lived in Hunter Street.

Dave was also the half-brother of the late Flight Lieutenant Frederick James Livingstone, who had served in the First World War and was killed on the night of the 12th of January 1918 during a solo night flying training session in a No. 33 Squadron Royal Aircraft Factory FE2b (serial number A5626). Frederick crashed on landing at 23.15hrs and was killed in the impact, aged 25. He is buried at Gainsborough, England.

Moving up from Wellington in childhood, Dave lived in Cambridge for about ten years with his parents, their home being on the corner of Princes and Bowen Streets, and he was educated at Cambridge Primary School. He then partly completed his secondary education at Cambridge District High School from January 1929 till December 1930, where he was a member of the rugby team (though not the First XV as he lacked the weight for that team) and was also a good runner. He then finished off his schooling at Hamilton High School from February till December 1931. He had three years of military training as a territorial cadet whilst at High School too. Dave also enjoyed playing cricket and swimming.

He gained his University Entrance certificate in December 1931, and then studied a Bachelor of Commerce and Accountancy through the University of New Zealand during 1932, 1933 and 1935. By the outbreak of war he had passed nine of the ten required papers to become a fully fledged accountant.

Meanwhile Dave began work as an accountant whilst still studying, his first employment in this role being in the office of Mr. E.R. Marsh of Ward Street, Hamilton between January 1934 and July 1936.

He left that job for a better position, as the secretary-accountant to Tuck Brothers Ltd., sawmillers, at Oruanui, near to Taupo. Dave was Captain of the Oruanui Rugby Football team, and a member of the Taupo Rugby Association during this time too. He was also selected as a team member for the Taupo Rugby Union representatives.

He was at the mill from July 1936 till July 1939, at which point he took a position with Guinness Brothers Ltd., in Tauranga, again as the accountant. He was there up till applying to become a pilot in the RNZAF on the 29th of September 1939.

The previous year Dave had also applied for a position on the Civil Reserve on the 30th of September 1938, which was accepted despite his admitting to no knowledge of aircraft construction, mechanics or electricity, only a slight knowledge of internal combustion engines and having had only one flight as a passenger by September 1939.

He married an RAF Station dental nurse Adrienne Stella Garcia, known as Stella, in Bournemouth, Britain, during the war and brought her back to New Zealand after the war ended. They apparently had two sons.

Service Details: Applying for service as a pilot in the RNZAF in September 1939, just weeks after the outbreak of war, he was finally taken into the Air Force on the 27th of October 1940. Dave joined up on the same day and was on the same No. 7C Course as Cambridge airman Jim Ritchie.

His initial flying training course was probably done at No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School as he was trained on the de Havilland DH60 Moth as well as the DH82a Tiger Moth. This was the only EFTS to have the DH60 on strength. He completed 27.25 hours dual training and 23.40 hours solo on the Moth and Tiger Moth.

His next course was at RNZAF Station Ohakea, at No. 3 Service Flying Training School, flying the Hawker Hind biplanes. At the completion of the course he had amassed 157.55 flying hours in total, and he was rated on the 12th of April 1941 by his instructors as Average, with average marks at 81%, and the remark was added, "Would make a satisfactory instructor."

He was not to become an instructor however, at least not at this period of his service. Dave left New Zealand on the 29th of April 1941 for overseas service.

Upon arriving in the UK, Dave must have done an Operational Training Unit course, and was finally posted to No. 154 Squadron on the 19th of November 1941. This new squadron's main duties involved flying convoy patrols off the east coast of England. Dave was attached temporarily to RAF Coltishall from the 1st of March 1942 till the 5th of May 1942, before returning to No. 154 Squadron.

After moving to the Hornchurch Wing in June 1942 the squadron began offensive sweeps over France. He was also promoted from Warrant Officer to the rank of Pilot Officer on the 2nd of June 1942.

Of interest during this time, Dave took part in sorties over Dieppe on the 19th of August 1942, when the squadron covered the withdrawal of troops after the disastrous landings.

On the 24th of October 1942, Dave embarked on a ship for Gibraltar, arriving on the 8th of November, because the squadron was transferred to Gibraltar to take part in the invasion of North Africa. He rejoined No. 154 Squadron there at Gibraltar on the 11th of November, and with them was one of the first Spitfire squadron pilots to arrive at Djidjelli airfield in Algiers on the 12th of November 1942.

On the 15th of November 1942, Dave shared in destroying a Junkers 88. On the 2nd of December he received promotion to Flying Officer. In March 1943 he destroyed a Junkers Ju87 Stuka and damaged others.

It has been written elsewhere that by early 1943 Dave had transferred to No. 112 Squadron, where he was flying Kittyhawks in support of the British Eighth Army as it advanced westwards across North Africa. His service records however do not support this and according to his records he remained flying and fighting with No. 154 Squadron on Spitfires till the 1st of June 1943, when he was taken off active duty for a rest.

Dave was sent first to the Fighter Pilots' Practice Flight on the 28th of June 1943, and was made an Acting Flight Lieutenant the same day. he then went to instruct French pilots at RAF AFU Sétif, in Algeria. He was a Flight Commander at this unit, and was awarded the Diploma du Brevet Militaire d'Aptitude aux fonctions de Pilot d'Avion following this period as an instructor.

Completing his rest period as an instructor Dave reported to the Headquarters of the Desert Air Force in Egypt on the 15th of January 1944, and here he was posted to operations again with No. 111 Squadron in Sicily on the 20th of January 1944.

On the 17th of February 1944 he shot down a Focke Wulf FW190, and two days later he downed another of the same type. He held the post of Flight Commander on the squadron from the 1st of March 1944 onwards, and was in the thick of the action as the squadron supported the Allied advance. On the 2nd of June 1944 his rank was confirmed as a Flight Lieutenant.

Dave was to see action over the Anzio bridgehead. He also fought in the skies over Monte Cassino, where Kiwi troops and their Allies were battling below to take the monastery town, and there he destroyed a Messerschmitt Bf109 on the 22nd of March 1944. He destroyed another of that type on the 14th of May 1944 over the same place.

Dave shot down his last enemy fighter, a Focke Wulf FW190, near Lake Bracciano, on the 25th of May 1944. The German pilot bailed out and landed in the lake in his parachute.

On the 7th of June 1944 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his exploits, while with No. 111 Squadron, the citation stating:

"This officer has performed his duties as flight commander with skill and efficiency showing marked qualities of leadership and keeness to engage the enemy. Between January, 1944, and March, 1944, he destroyed three enemy aircraft, bringing his total victories to at least five. He has a long record of successful operations."

Taken off ops on the 22nd of July 1944, Dave returned to Britain on the 15th of August, where he attended No. 54 P.G.I.T. Fighter Course from the the 13th of September till 25th of october 1944. This was pilot gunnery instructor training.

From October 1944 through till August 1945, he was instructing at the Royal Air Force's No. 14 Armament Practice Camp, Warmwellin England as a fighter gunnery and rocket instructor.

His final UK posting was to No. 12 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre on the 17th of September 1945, to being his journey home. After the war he returned to accounting in Tauranga, then took up surveying so he could work outdoors and worked as a surveyor for the rest of his working life.

Dave Livingstone was a fighter ace, credited with six enemy aircraft destroyed and another shared. He served a total of 5 years and 77 days in the RNZAF, with 4 years and 257 days of that service being overseas. he had flown predominatly the Spitfire in his service career but also had periods flying the Miles Master, Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Typhoon and Hawker Tempest V. The latter two types would have been at Warmwell which instructing on gunnery and rocket firing.

David Franklin Livingstone was awarded his Distinguished Flying Cross on the 22nd of April 1946 in Wellington by the New Zealand Governor General, Sir Bernard Freyberg.

Details of Death: 17th of May 1984, at Tokanui Public Hospital, south of Te Awamutu
at: The Anglican Cemetery on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Grace Road, Tauranga (Row 30, Section 24, Plot 39)

Connection with Cambridge: Dave lived in Cambridge for ten years before the war in his childhood and youth, growing up here and being largely educated in Cambridge

Note: The photograph and some information on this page has been kindly supplied by the excellent New Zealand Fighter Pilots' Museum. See their website page on Dave here
Additional information has been source from the Waikato Independent newspaper and Colin Hanson's excellent book By Such Deeds. Much information has also been supplied by Michael Tuck. And details of Dave's half-brother Frederick come from For Your Tomorrow Volume One by Errol Martyn.

Thanks to: Errol Martyn, and to Michael Tuck - including records sourced from his late father Stanley Palmer Tuck - and Ian Brodie for their help on this page


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