condensed discuss document expanded export feedback print share remove reset document_white enquire_white export_white report_white

John Rushton Gard'ner



  • Title
  • Forenames
    John Rushton AWMM
  • Surname
    Gard'ner AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ41841 AWMM
    • NZ2177 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

Contribute ›
  • Birth
    14 June 1918 AWMM DunedinOtago AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs P.R. Parker (mother), Nelson, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

Contribute ›

Training and Enlistment

Contribute ›
  • Military training
    • Civil Reserve of Pilots -Nelson Aero Club AWMM
    • IE & RFTS (Hatfield) AWMM
    • RAF Uxbridge AWMM
    • NO 11 FTS, Shawbury AWMM
    • 51 OTU, Bedford AWMM
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


Contribute ›
  • Embarkation details

Prisoner of war

Contribute ›
  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

Contribute ›
  • Medical notes
    Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
    19 July 1940 Sustained badly cut head when aircraft shot down by ME109s, admitted to Union Road Hospital, Dover plus additional 3 months sick leave. AWMM

Last known rank

Contribute ›
  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

Contribute ›
  • Husband of Suzanne and the late Ghita and Martha

    Acting Pilot Officer 1 April 1939

    Pilot Officer 23 October 1939

    Flying Officer 23 October 1940

    Flight Lieutenant 23 October 1941

    Transferred to RNZAF 1 January 1944.

    Squadron Leader 1 July 1945

    Mentioned in New Years Honours List 1946

    Squadron Leader 1 August 1947

    Wing Commander 1 January 1954

    Returned to NZ March 1947 and joined Reserve 12 June 1947. Was offered a permanent commission with the RAF in September 1947, taking effect from 12 February 1948 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He accepted and returned to the UK on SS 'Waipawa' in January. Went on refresher course on Mosquitos to RAF Hunsdon. After completion promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to command 85 Squadron at West Malling. He held this position until January 1950 when he went to Cherry Point, North Carolina for service with the 2nd Marine Air Division Fighter Group.

    In 1951 Gard'ner joined 533 Marine Squadron at El Toro, Southern California as Operations Officer. The squadron was reequipping with Douglas Skynight fighters and working up to go into action in Korea.

    He returned to America in 1952 where he married for the second time, his first wife having died the previous year. He then returned to the UK and at the end of the year was posted to RAF, Box, in 10 Group Fighter Control Centre as Ops/Controller, with the rank of Wing Commander. In late 1954 he was appointed Liaison Officer at the Anti-Aircraft Artillery School in NSW.

    In 1956 he went to the RAF Flying College at Manby. After completing the course in which he flew Hunters, Meteors and Canberras, Gard'ner was awarded his 'pfc' and moved to RAF, Leeming as Wing Commander, Flying and Wing Commander, Radar-Training at a Night-Fighter Operational Conversion unit.

    Gard'ner went overseas at the end of 1958 with a posting to RAF Aden as Wing Commander, Ops.

    He returned to England in early 1961 as supernumeracy at the Administration HQ, Air Ministry, as Acting Group Captain, for training and briefing for Air Attache duties after which he was appointed to Embassy Staff in Brussels as British Air Attache Duties. In England in September 1964, he became ill with tuberculosis. He returned to Brussels in February 1965 and on 14 June retired from RAF.

    Retired June 1976 to near Tauranga.

    Portrait in Wynn, K. (1981). RMS Rangitata was a New Zealand Shipping Company vessel. It was build in 1929, was 16,737 tons, 552 feet long, 70 feet beam and could travel at 15 knots. It had a refrigerating capacity of 446,000 cubic feet. It was normally employed in the United Kingdom-New Zealand trade but when war broke out it was repainted and began a new career. One of its first tasks was to take Anzacs to Suez and from there carried on to England with her holds full of frozen produce. During the war years she covered over a quarter of a million miles. Countries visited included Panama, Jamaica, Australia, Ceylon, Arabia, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Natal, Spain, Madagascar, Mauritius, Pitcairn, Argentine, Uruguay, Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Trinidad, Malta, South Africa, Gambia, Algeria and the United States. Amongst those who travelled on board were the Royal Marines, Polish volunteers (from the Argentine, British evacuee children to New Zealand, United States wounded, German and Italian prisoners of war, Wrens in transit to Rhodesia, 'Desert Rats', West Africans, Canadian war brides, G.I. Joes for D Day, and the First Echelon of New Zealanders from Trentham. The ship had a crew of just over 200 and could accommodate 2600 troops. The Battle of Britain: 10 July - 31 October 1940 AWMM
Read more


About death

Contribute ›
  • Death
    6 May 2011 AWMM
    Age 92 AWMM
    TaurangaTauranga AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Cremated AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Obituary: New Zealand Herald, 9 May 2011 (photo) AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



Contribute ›
  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

Remember John Rushton Gard'ner by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of John Rushton Gard'ner

Leave a note

Contribute ›



Contribute ›
  • External links
  • Documents
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      vol 3. p. 588 [ref 15] AWMM
    • Thompson, H. (1956). New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vols. 1-3). Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      vol. 3 p. 214, 365 AWMM
    • Wynn, K. (1981). A clasp for "The Few". Auckland. N.Z.: Author. AWMM
      p. 160-163 AWMM
    • Hanson, C. (2001). By such deeds: honours and awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999. Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      p. 202 AWMM
    • The New Zealand Herald AWMM
      Obituary: 9 May 2011 (photo) AWMM
    • Ministry for Culture and Heritage. (2012). New Zealanders serving with RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, 10 July – 31 October 1940. [A list compiled by Ministry for Culture and Heritage with Errol Martyn]. AWMM
The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.

Creative Commons License Online Cenotaph Data by Auckland War Memorial Museum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License