Douglas Ronald ROSS
Service Number: NZ402574
RNZAF Trade: Fitter IIA
Date of Enlistment: 19th of July 1940
Date of Demob: 9th of June 1945
Rank Achieved: Corporal
Flying Hours: nil as crew
Operational Sorties: nil
Date of Birth: 18th of November 1918, in Auckland
Personal Details: Doug's father had been an administrator at the Chelsea Sugar Works in Auckland. Doug was educated at Glenfield Primary School and Northcote High School. He began his working career by serving an apprenticeship with A. and T. Burt, an Auckland firm. His service records noted his pre-WWII trade was Coppersmith.
He married Wellington nurse Noeline Browne at Trentham in 1941. After the war Doug returned to Auckland, and continued with his previous employment. This was cut short by an accident involving machinery that severely damaged his left hand and arm. Though doctors feared he'd lose the use of his arm, he determined to rehabilitate it, and eventually regained the use of his arm, reportedly playing golf with it to a handicap of 10.
From 1951 till his retirement in 1978 Doug and Noeline Ross lived in Wellington, where he worked at Odlin's Timber and Hardware, where he became a manager. He built a beach cottage at Waitarere Beach near Levin.
After retiring in 1978 the Ross's moved to Cambridge, and settled in Walpole Street.
Doug had over the years had interests in the Boy Scout movement in his younger days, the Masonic Lodge, a long association with the R.S.A. and later in life was a keen member of the Cambridge Golf Club. Doug and Noeline had two daughters, Jennifer (later Mrs Jennifer Mahoney of Adelaide) and Beverley (later Mrs Beverley Duff of Brisbane). At the time of his death he had ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren
Service Details: Doug joined the RNZAF at Hobsonville on the 19th of July 1940 as an Aircraftman 2nd Class, in the Flight Rigger trade. He was posted to RNZAF Station Rongotai to undergo his Flight Rigger's course at the Technical Training School on the 17th of October 1940.
Doug was reclassified from his original rank of Aircraftman 2nd Class (AC2) to Aircraftman 1st Class (AC1) on the 31st of January 1941.
Having completed the Flight Rigger's course, Doug was posted to RNZAF Station Whenuapai on the 4th of February 1941, and seems to have been on the Whenuapai Maintenance Wing rather than any operational squadron.
Doug returned to RNZAF Station Rongotai on the 13th of September 1941 to undergo his senior trade course.
At the completion of his course, on the 18th of February 1942, Doug was reclassified as a Leading Aircraftman (LAC) in rank, and was remustered as a Fitter II Airframes, or Fitter IIA as his trade description. Doug then returned to Whenuapai, on the 24th of February 1942.
On the 9th of March 1942 No. 3 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron arrived at Whenuapai from Harewood, and sometime thereafter Doug was posted to this squadron. They were flying Vickers Vincent and Vildebeest biplanes operationally at the time but they also had a pair of Airspeed Oxfords and were soon beginning to convert using them to the Lockheed Hudsons.
Doug left New Zealand on the 22nd of September 1942 with the squadron, destined for Pallikulo Airfield on the island of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides. In November 1942 part of the squadron moved to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands and Doug spent some time there too, before he returned to New Zealand on the 28th of April 1943.
Back in New Zealand, Doug was then posted to Whenuapai again and on the 16th of June 1943 he joined No. 1 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Whenuapai,.This squadron was also equipped with Hudsons but in June 1943 they began to re-equip with the Lockheed PV-1 Venturas.
On the 29th of July 1943 he was then posted to the newly formed No. 40 (Transport) Squadron which initially was equipped with Lockheed Lodestars from June 1943, and soon also received the Douglas C-47 Dakotas.
Doug arrived at Kaneohe in Hawaii on the 11th of October 1943 to join No. 14 Bomber Maintenance Unit, which was the assembly team for the Venturas and Dakotas that were being assembled by the US Navy for the RNZAF. Aircraft were then ferried to Whenuapai from there. He then returned to Whenuapai to continue his role on No. 40 Squadron, ,maintaining their fleet of transports that were regularly flying up and down the chain of Pacific islands. and Doug likely did several trips with the aircraft up to the Islands.
On the 2nd of February 1944 Doug returned to No. 40 Squadron, and spent another five months with that unit. Then on the 11th of July 1944 he was posted to the Whenuapai Maintenance Wing, and remained there for the rest of his time in the RNZAF. He was appointed as an Acting Corporal on the 15th of August 1944, and then promoted to the rank of Corporal permanently on the 15th of December 1944.
Doug was released from the Air Force on the 9th of June 1945, and placed on the Reserve 'C' list.
Date of Death : 16th of January 1989, at his home in Cambridge, aged 70
Buried: Cambridge Returned Services Association Lawn Cemetery, Hautapu, Cambridge Plot 141B
Connection with Cambridge: Doug moved to Cambridge in 1978 and lived here till his death
Thanks To: Doug's grandson John Mahoney for supplying information for this page