Christchurch air force memorial

Christchurch air force memorial

Detail from the memorial Detail from the memorial Detail from the memorial Detail from the memorial

Memorial plaques located on Memorial Drive near Christchurch Airport. The Spitfire fighter plane and memorial wall commemorate New Zealand flyers killed during the Second World War.

On the same site is a memorial cairn dedicated to the four crew members of Straits Air Freight Express Bristol Freighter ZK-AYH, who were tragically killed when their plane crashed on nearby Russley Golf Course, 21 November 1957.

Read more about the Russley Golf Course air crash here.

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Roger Collins

Posted: 20 Sep 2017

F/Sgt (NZ425319) Francis Magnus LARNACH (nav.) RNZAF

In Norway in a churchyard at Grimstad the community have restored the gravestone of a WW2 NZ navigator Francis Magnus Larnach

Name: F/Sgt (NZ425319) Francis Magnus LARNACH (nav.) RNZAF - killed
Date died: 30-JUL-1944
Aircraft: Bristol Beaufighter TF.Mk X
Owner/operator: 489 (NZ) Sqn RAF
Registration: NE745
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: North Sea W Stavanger - Norway
Phase: En route
Nature: Military
Departure airport: RAF Leuchars, Scotland
Destination airport: Norway sortie
Narrative: Shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf 109.
W/O (NZ413516) William Robert TUCK (pilot) RNZAF - killed
F/Sgt (NZ425319) Francis Magnus LARNACH (nav.) RNZAF - killed
489 Squadron was a New Zealand unit and this day a further mission was carried out along with 143 (British) & 455 (Australia) Squadron escorted by Mustangs from 315 (Poland) Squadron, intended destinations were ports and shipping along the Norwegian coast in line with Lister to Stavanger. The weather was favourable and the view was very good, but despite this, no goal was found to attack. Shortly after turning for home, the Beaufighter plane was attacked by eight Messerschmitt Bf 109 from JG.5 but the Mustangs quickly came to rescue. The NE745 slipped and quickly got three BF 109 as a company, the other crews saw the plane making a wild run to escape but in vain. German data claim that the plane ran on for about 45 km west of Stavanger.

Whether the crew managed to jump or not is unknown, the pilot W / O Tuck was found outside Gothenburg and was buried September 3, 1944 at Tjärnö (later moved to Kvibergkyrkogården in Gothenburg). The navigator F / S Larnach was buried in Norway after being found dead at Grimstad.

From: Roger Byron-Collins <[email protected]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 5:22 PM
To: Ove Bach
Cc: Bill and Sue Spence; Oliver Previte; Leslie Burgher; Bjørn Kristian Pedersen; 'Ove Bach'
Subject: Re: Francis Magnus Larnach


I think you and your colleagues have shown a most caring manner for which I can only thank you
for myself but for the memory of Frances Magnus Larnach.

I really appreciate and if I may I will let the Royal New Zealand Air Force Memorial people know of your kind actions.

Once again many thanks and my wife and I look forward to visiting Grimstad and the churchyard
on our next visit.

Kind regards


Roger Collins
483 Green Lanes
London N13 4BS
United Kingdom

From: Ove Bach <[email protected]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 2:36 PM
To: Roger Byron-Collins
Cc: Bill and Sue Spence; Oliver Previte; Leslie Burgher; Bjørn Kristian Pedersen; 'Ove Bach'
Subject: Francis Magnus Larnach

Dear Roger!

Bjørn Undheim told met his morning that one from his crew, Håvard, had cleaned up the stone and made som plantings, so i took at trip just before lunchtime taking a picture. I think this looks much better than some days ago.

The writings can be better, but we have som much rain et this part of the year, som I think this must be done next year.

Best Reagards

Ove bach