Richard Edward ISAACS

Serial Number: NZ423975
RNZAF Trade: Equipment Assistant (Petrol)
Date of Enlistment: 1942
Rank Achieved: Leading Aircraftsman
Flying Hours: 0 hours
Operational Sorties: 0 ops

Date of Birth: Richard was born on the 22nd of April 1943 in Wellington
Personal Details: Son of Dr. David Nathan Isaacs, and of Marjorie Rose Isaacs (nee Saunders), of Eastbourne, Lower Hutt. He attended Wellington College up to Matriculation standard, and he enjoyed playing football, tennis, swimming and athletics.

Richard attempted to join the RNZAF, applying on the 1st of August 1940, whilst he was still at college. However he was rejected on the grounds that he was unfit for aircrew. He then took a job with Caltex Ltd. He also became a member of the 3rd Battalion North Wellington Regiment of the Territorial Army for a short period in 1942 before again trying the RNZAF.

Service Details: Richard joined the RNZAF at RNZAF Station Rongotai on the 14th of September 1942, transferring from the Territorial Army. Rather than the aircrew trade he'd originally hoped for, he was enlisted as an Equipment Assistant (Petrol). A fortnight after enlisting he transferred to RNZAF Station Woodbourne, where on the 5th of October he was reclassified with the rank of AC1, and LAC on the same date.

In January 1943 he was posted to RNZAF Station Rukuhia. He was one of the airmen who would be rostered on to guard the AR9 fuel depot in Cambridge, and it seems that when on duty there he was under the jurisdiction of RNZAF Hamilton's Transport Section.

Details of Death: At 02.40hrs on the morning of the 14th of October 1943 a fire was discovered that had broken out in the barrack hut at AR9, Cambridge where the two guards normally slept. The fire was blazing fiercely and soon the building was completely destroyed.

Cambridge Police Constables H.C. Maisey and F. Solly searched the ruins and found the charred body of LAC Richard Isaacs,. He was just 20 years old.

An inquest for purposes of identification was opened at Cambridge before Mr S.L. Paterson S.M., and adjourned.

Buried at: Richard was buried in the Karori Cemetery in Wellington, grave reference 12. I/3. (S).

Connection with Cambridge: Though not from Cambridge, Richard was attached to the AR9 Depot, and was sadly killed in the town - the only member of the RNZAF known to die on duty in Cambridge


Note: Details of this airman's death were sourced from the excellent volumes of 'For Your Tomorrow' by Errol Martyn. See more details on these highly recommended books here

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