|Pilot F/O Ronald Dean Gardner, 413838 (MIA / KIA) Auckland, NZ
Crew P/O Christopher Nicholls, 413884 (MIA / KIA) Nelson, NZ
Crew P/O Harold Henry Sheather, 415560 (MIA / KIA) Auckland, NZ
Crashed April 26, 1944 at 10:35am
Built by Grumman. Constructors Number 5342. United States Navy (USN) Bureau Number 24459. Disassembled and shipped overseas to New Zealand.
Arrived in New Zealand aboard Dalfonn. Assembled by No.1 Aircraft Depot at Hobsonville Airfield on October 25, 1943 with Unit 36. Assigned to 30 Squadron at Gisborne Airfield. No known nickname or nose art.
On January 24, 1944 flown on a ferry flight from Gisborne Airfield to Espiritu Santo, then northward to the Solomon Islands and finally to Piva North Airfield on Bougainville.
On April 26, 1944 took off from Piva North Airfield on Bougainville on a bombing mission over Rabaul. Over the target, hit by flak over Vunakanau Airfield. Damaged, this Avenger entered a spin and crashed at the end of the runway.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on the day of the mission. All three are memorialized on Bourail Memorial on panel 4 (Gardner), panel 5 (Nicholls and Sheather).
RNZAF Serials - Avenger NZ2521
The Avengers pages 58-59
CWGC - Ronald Dean Gardner
CWGC - Christopher Nicholls
Harold Henry Sheather
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January 5, 2018