Friday, May 24, 2013

Thames (NZ): WWII Thames men died on same plane

The stories behind the names of the Thames High School old boys that served in World War Two, show a group of achievers - who performed above average academically and in the sporting arena. Men who then went onto to serve their country and Britain and paid the ultimate price.

For two of these men, their friendship continued beyond Thames and the confines of Thames High School, to a bomber in the NZ 75th Bomber Squadron. Pilot Rex Martyn SANDERSON and his Co-Pilot William John (Jock) FINLAYSON were on the 24th October 1940 returning to England after operations over Norway, when the plane was forced down into the North Sea after engine failure. They were just 15 minutes from land.

Rex was the son of Alexander and Adelaide Sanderson and attended Thames South, Kauaeranga School and Thames High School 1930-33. Jock's parents were John and Hilda Finlayson and he had attended Thames High School 1930-32.

Source: Thames High School Haurakian Journal 1945-46