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  Lockheed Hudson Mark III Serial Number NZ2007  
2 Squadron

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Tim Jordan 2003

Pilot  P/O Alexander John MacFarlane (KIA)
Navigator  P/O Louis George William Volzke (KIA)
W/O / Gunners  Sgt Keith Robertson Jack (KIA)
W/O / Gunners  Sgt Phillip David Harris (KIA)

Crashed  December 15, 1941

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed. Constructors Number 3820. RAF Serial Number V9235 from British Purchasing contracts. Shipped to New Zealand on Limerick, BOC Unit 1 Hobsonville on September 18, 1941 and assembled at No.1 Aircraft Depot Hobsonville. This was the first RNZAF Hudson lost.

Mission History
On the afternoon of December 15, 1941, Hudson NZ2007 was detailed to carry out a patrol over the Cook Strait region between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Took off from its Nelson Airfield, at the top of the South Island, shortly before 1700.

The weather at the time was considered suitable for flying, although conditions over the sea were forecast to worsen, and MacFarlane had been instructed to cut the 3 hour patrol short if required. Once airborne, nothing was heard from NZ2007 until 1856, when a signal was received indicating that the aircraft was returning to base. As wireless silence was in force, it was taken to mean the weather was to bad to continue the patrol and the Hudson was coming home early. The position of the signal placed the NZ2007 60nm off the coast, giving an ETA of 1935, approximately 40 minutes away. However, NZ2007 failed to return to the Nelson airfield and no further radio contact could be established with it that night.

It was initially thought that NZ2007 had either crashed in the sea or on the West Coast of the South Island and the first searches were carried out in this area. However, these were hampered by several days of low cloud and rain and the search area moved closer to Nelson as reports from the public came in. All of these would ultimately prove fruitless and the first relevant piece of information didn’t come until December 21st when a Mr Bruce Ferguson reported to the police that his father William had heard an aircraft on the night of the 15th followed by several loud reports as if a .303 was being fired. William Ferguson was the only person on the isolated farm that night and a heavy fog lay over the West Coast. Suspecting deer-stalkers, Ferguson had not taken any further action although he noted that the livestock near the farm house were behaving strangely. With out a working radio, William had no knowledge of the missing aircraft, and had only mentioned it in passing to Bruce when he came to visit.

Despite being given the brush-off by the police, Bruce Ferguson and his neighbour, Albert Beardmore, searched the coast and hills the following morning. At 10:30am they informed the authorities that they had come across the wreckage of NZ2007, 7 days after it crashed. The Hudson had flown into a 700 ft coastal cliff, just below the summit, and scattered itself over the surrounding hillside. The remains of the four crew were removed the following morning with death being ruled as instantaneous in all cases. The subsequent Court of Inquiry placed the blame with the pilot, finding that the aircraft was on the correct track but ahead of its scheduled timings. With no visibility, the crew of NZ2007 would not have seen the hill looming up in front of them and had no chance of avoiding it.

Tim Jordan reports:
" I visited the area in late December 2003, almost 62 years to the day. I was able to interview Bruce Ferguson and his memory of the event was still clear as though it had happened yesterday. His son David took me out to the crash site and we climbed the hill to the main point of impact. Along the way we stopped at the largest pieces of wreckage at the site, namely part of the tailplane near the base of the hills and one of the wings further up the slope. There were several small pieces poking out of the ground along the way but a large amount has been removed over the years. There was no evidence of a crash in the shallow bowl near the top of the cliff where the Hudson had first hit. However, I clambered down a nearby sinkhole and found a piece of fuselage skin, which still had part of the roundel painted on it."

Thanks Tim Jordan for all photographs and research
ADF Serials - Hudson NZ2007

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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