Frederick Thomas LOVEGROVE
Serial Number: NZ412889
RNZAF Trade: Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Date of Enlistment: 11th of May 1941 at RNZAF Station Wereroa, Levin
Rank Achieved: Flight Sergeant
Flying Hours: 286 hours
Operational Sorties: 6th Operation
Date of Birth: 28th of October 1916, at Auckland
Personal Details: Frederick was the son of Orient Ishmael Lovegrove and Dorothy Amy Lovegrove. He was the husband of Pearl Lovegrove. He was educated at Ponsonby School. Before he joined the RNZAF he worked as a grocer at Marriotts Ltd.
Service Details: Frederick enlisted on the 11th of May 1941 at RNZAF Station Levin where he underwent his Initial Training Wing course. He then embarked for Canada on the 19th of June 1941 to undergo his Air Gunners' training. Attached to the Royal Canadian Air Force, he was initially posted to No. 3 Wireless School on the 5th of July 1941 where he learned to use the wireless telegraphy and radio sets.
He was then posted to the Combined Training Squadron on the 9th of January 1942, before posting to No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School on the 1st of March.
Frederick spent an extended period in hospital between the 18th of March and the 10th of August 1942, the reason is unknown. Returning to his training he finally achieved his Air Gunners' badge on the 11th of September 1942, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant the same day.
He proceeded to 1 Y Depot at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the 23rd of August 1942 to await transport to Britain. There he was attached to the Royal Air Force and he set sail for the UK on the 25th of September.
Arriving in England on the 9th of October 1942, Frederick was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre. From there, after acclimatising to the British climate, he was posted to No. 11 Operational Training Unit on the 28th of October 1942, where he crewed up and began training in Vickers Wellingtons. He became a Rear Gunner here.
Frederick and his crew moved on next to No. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit in February 1943, where they continued operational training but now on the four engined Short Stirling heavy bombers. During this training in late February he was attached for one week to No. 1483 (B)GF before returning to 1657 HCU.
With training completed Frederick and his squadron were posted to No. 214 Squadron RAF to begin operations on the 16th of March 1943. On his third op, on the night of the 29th/30th of March 1943, whilst returning from a raid on Berlin Frederick was forced to bail out of his stricken aircraft when his Stirling collided in the air with another aeroplane. He was injured and spent more time in hospital, not being released till the 22nd of June 1943. By that stage he had to find a new crew and so was posted on the 26th of August to No. 21 Operational Training Unit (flying Wellingtons) to recrew.
On the 12th of November 1943 Frederick and his new crew were posted to No. 311 FTU (flying Wellingtons), and then around December 1943 they were posted onto No. 1 Overseas Aircrew D Unit.
From there they set off on the 7th of December 1943 in a Wellington that they ferried to Italy, via Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, arriving safely at Foggia airfield, Italy on the 3rd of January 1944.
Frederick and his crew were then posted to No. 37 Squadron RAF who were flying Wellingtons from Tortorella (Foggia No. 2) airfiled, as part of No. 205 Wing. Meditteranean Allied Strategic Air Force. They flew two operations with the squadron but failed to return from the next.
Date of Death: Frederick was killed on the
27th of January 1944. He was Rear Gunner in a No. 37 Squadron RAF Vickers Wellington Mk. X, serial number HE898, coded P. The aircraft, captained by Flight Sergeant N.G. Broderick RAAF, took off at18.12hrs with the aim to bomb the Arezzo railway yards in northern Italy. The aircraft failed to return and no trace of the aeroplane or Frederick's body was ever found. He was 27 years old
Commemorated: Frederick is commemorated on the Malta Memorial,
Panel 17, Column 2. His name does not appear on any of the Cambridge War Memorials
Connection with Cambridge: Frederick joined up from Cambridge apparently and may have been living/working in the town in 1941.
Sources: A listing of airmen that were at RNZAF Station Levin training as Airman Pilots in May 1941, which was published in Contact magazine in June 1941, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Also valuable information for this page comes from Errol Martyn's books 'For Your Tomorrow: A Record Of New Zealanders Who Have Died While Serving With The RNZAF And Allied Air Services Since 1915" - Volumes Two and Three.