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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. W J Murland


William John Murland was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand on 14th November 1917, he took up farming after leaving school and later became a carpenter. In October 1939 he volunteered for aircrew duties and went to the Ground Training School at Weraroa on 18th December.

He moved to the Air Observers School Ohakea in mid-January 1940 for a Lewis gunnery course and air experience and then sailed for the UK on 23rd March in the SS Akaroa.



Murland arrived in the UK on 9th May 1940 and went to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge to await a posting. He joined 264 Squadron at Duxford on 3rd June and continued training.

On 4th November 1940 he joined 75 Squadron, operating in Wellingtons from Feltwell. He moved to 214 Squadron at Stradishall on 6th February 1941 and a month later he was posted to 148 Squadron at Luqa, Malta. The squadron moved soon afterwards to Kabrit, Egypt.

Murland left 148 for the Middle East Pool on 10th September 1941 and returned to the UK on 16th November. He was posted to 1622 Flight at Gosport on 23rd March 1942, on anti-aircraft co operation duties. He joined 140 Squadron on 15th March 1943, a photographic-reconnaissance unit with Blenheims.

He was promoted to Warrant Officer on 1st April. On 31st October Murland went to 13 OTU to convert to Mitchells. He then joined 98 Squadron at Dunsfold on 14th December.

In early May 1944 Murland was posted away for repatriation to New Zealand. He was recommended for a medical discharge and went on to the Reserve on 3rd November 1944. Soon afterwards he lost a leg in a railway accident, a loss he had great difficulty in accepting.

After moving down to Wellington, Murland worked mainly on building construction sites until his health failed, resulting in his spending several years in hospital.

He died in Porirua Hospital on 15th November 1978 and he is buried in the Whenua Tapu Cemetery.

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