The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E E Croker
Eric Eugene Croker was born in Auckland on 1st January 1917, the son of Eric Arthur Croker and Ethel Maude Croker.
He was educated at Henderson Valley Primary School and Mount Albert Grammar School. After leaving school he went to work as an electrical apprentice with the Auckland Harbour Board.
In August 1938 he joined the Civil Reserve of Pilots. He was called up by the RNZAF at the outbreak of war and reported to the Ground Training School at Weraroa on 18th December 1939.
Croker went to No. 1 EFTS Taieri in mid-January 1940 and moved to No. 1 FTS Wigram on 11th March. With his training completed, he sailed for the UK on 12th July in the RMS Rangitane, arriving on 27th August.
Croker arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge from No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge on 11th September. He was unhurt when the undercarriage of his Hurricane, L1789, collapsed on landing on 24th September.
He joined 111 Squadron at Drem on the 29th. He had flown fourteen operational sorties before being posted to 260 Squadron at Skitten on 12th December 1940.
Croker went to 41 Squadron at Catterick in May 1941. On a training flight on 1st June his Spitfire IIA P8163 flew into high ground near Northallerton in bad visibility and Croker suffered severe head injuries.
He was taken to Catterick Hospital but died the next day.
Croker is buried in Catterick Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Above image courtesy of Dimitrios Corcodilos.