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Sergeant JAMES ALLEN WARD

Service Number: 401793
Regiment & Unit/Ship

Royal New Zealand Air Force

75 (R.A.F.) Sqdn.

Date of Death

Died 15 September 1941

Age 22 years old

Buried or commemorated at

HAMBURG CEMETERY

5A. A1. 9.

Germany

  • Country of Service New Zealand
  • Awards Victoria Cross
  • Additional Info Son of Percy Harold Ward and of Ada May Ward (nee Stokes), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Additional Citation note

    The citation in the London Gazette for 5th August, 1941, gives the following details. On the night of July 7th, 1941, sgt. Ward was second pilot of a Wellington which, while returning from a raid on Munster, was damaged by cannon shell and incendiary bullets from an attacking Messerschmitt 110. Fire broke out near the starboard engine which, fed by petrol from a split pipe, threatened to spread to the entire wing. Strenuous efforts by the crew failed to extinguish the fire, and they were warned to be ready to abandon the aircraft. Sgt. Ward then volunteered to try and smother the fire with an engine cover which chanced to be in use as a cushion. He got through the narrow astro-hatch and, by breaking the fabric to make hand and foot holds, succeeded in climbing on to, and then along, the wing, to a position behind the engine. Lying precariously there he smothered the fire in the wing fabric, and tried to push the engine cover on to the leaking pipe. It was blown back by the terrific wind, and on the second attempt was lost. Nevertheless, the fabric surrounding the pipe was destroyed, so that the fire could not spread and finally burnt itself out. Sgt. Ward, with assistance from the navigator, was able to struggle back into the aircraft, which eventually reached home and landed safely. The flight back was made possible by Sgt. Ward''s most conspicuous bravery in extinguishing the fire at the risk of his life.

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Buried or commemorated at