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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. W G Fenton


Walter Gordon Fenton, the son of a farmer, was born in Gisborne on 3rd May 1916. Too late for a short service commission, he volunteered for war service in 1939 and reported to the Ground Training School Weraroa on 18th December as a trainee air gunner.

In mid-January 1940 Fenton did a Lewis gun course at AOS Ohakea and got ten hours flying experience. He left for the UK on 23rd March in the SS Akaroa.


Fenton is standing far left.

Above image courtesy of

Fenton arrived on 9th May and then went to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge to await a posting. On 29th May he went to 5 OTU Aston Down where he was awarded his gunners badge and promoted to Sergeant.

Fenton joined 604 Squadron at Northolt on 6th July. Returning from Gravesend to Middle Wallop on 15th August Fenton was in a Blenheim which suddenly encountered a force of German bombers. Before any action could be taken a lone Spitfire, flown by P/O DM Crook of 609 Squadron, came from behind and riddled the Blenheim with bullets. The Blenheim pilot made a crash-landing at Middle Wallop and Fenton was taken to hospital with flesh wounds.

By June 1941 604 Squadron was equipped with Beaufighters. On 1st August Fenton was posted to 3 Group Training Flight for a gunnery conversion course, after which he joined 75 Squadron at Mildenhall, operating Wellingtons.

Commissioned in January 1942, Fenton completed his tour in June and went to CGS Sutton Bridge as an instructor. He moved to 28 OTU Wymeswold in August 1942 and in June 1943 returned to New Zealand.

Fenton was posted to Ohakea on instructional duties but in October a medical board found him to be unfit and he was invalided out of the RNZAF on 15th November 1943.

He returned to farming and died in 1992.


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