Douglas David READ

Serial Number: NZ44810
RNZAF Trade: Air Gunner
Date of Enlistment: 11th of February 1944
Rank Achieved: Sergeant
Flying Hours: unknown
Operational Sorties: unknown

Date of Birth: 13th of September 1924, at Cambridge
Personal Details: Douglas was the son of Arthur and Elizabeth Douglas Read (nee Douglas). He attended Mata North Primary School and became a farm hand on the family farm at Mata.

Service Details: Douglas was in the New Zealand Army Territorial Force for 7 months, and was a member of the Air Training Corps before joining the RNZAF. When he enlisted he was sent to RNZAF Station Delta in Marlborough, and was classed as an Aircrafthand (AD) but on the 6th of March 1944 he was remustered as Aircrafthand (Aircrew). he was put into the Delta Pool on the 8th of June 1944 to await training, and then on the 10th of July 1944 he finally began his Initial Training Wing course.

On the 13th of October following ITW, Douglas was remustered as an Air Gunner u/t. he moved from Delta to Woodbourne on the 4th of November 1944, and then was posted to the Gunnery Training School at Gisborne on the 25th of that month.

On the 2nd of February 1945 Douglas passed out as an Air Gunner, was awarded his Air Gunner's badge and was promoted to Sergeant. The following day he was posted to No. 1 (Bomber) Operational Training Unit to crew up and train on the Lockheed Ventura reconnaissance bomber,

On the 19th of March Douglas and his crew joined No. 4 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, flying Venturas. The squadron flew from New Zealand to the Pacific on the 24th of May 1945.

Date of Death : 28th of May 1945, aged 20. Douglas and his crew took off at 06.11 hours on the 28th of May 1945 in Lockheed PV-1 Ventura NZ4578 for a regular patrol. they flew into bad weather and with a lack of visual the aircraft flew into the side of a hill on the western side of Malaita, between the villages of Hauhui and Kiu. The port wing truck trees and the aircraft swing into the hill. The four depth charges in the bomb bay exploded in the impact. The wreckage was spotted later in the day by another aircrew, and a ground party reached the site of the crash on the 30th of May. Due to the explosion there was very little left of the five crew members, so there are no known graves.
Commemorated: On the Bourail Memorial

Connection with Cambridge: Douglas was born in Cambridge

Thanks To: Errol Martyn for providing information on this airman, and further details from his books For Your Tomorrow Volumes 1 to 3


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