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Desmond Whitehurst Laurie

Discharge certificate, WW2 for Warrant Officer Des Laurie; - This image may be subject to copyright

Discharge certificate, WW2 for Warrant Officer Des Laurie; - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Desmond Whitehurst AWMM
  • Surname
    Laurie AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Des AWMM
  • Service number
    • WWII NZ422971 AWMM
    • WWII 422971 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    29 December 1919 AWMM Point ChevalierAuckland AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 6 May 1942 AWMM Simpson Road, Ranui, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs Ellen Laurie (mother), Sampson Road, Swanson, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 20 August 1943 AWMM Single/WWII AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 6 May 1942 AWMM
    Age 22 AWMM
    Clerk AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Height, Unknown Period AWMM
      5 feet 5 inches AWMM
    • Eye colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Blue AWMM
    • Hair colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      fair AWMM
    • Complexion, Unknown Period AWMM
      fresh AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of [Titus] Reginald Laurie and Ellen Laurie (nee Birly).

    Warrant Officer Laurie attended Swanson School, Auckland, from 1926 to 1933; he also attended Seddon Memorial Technical College from 1934-1938.

    He was posted to Hobsonville Air Force Base on Air Maintenance duties from 6 May 1942 to 26 November 1942, then posted to Rotorua for pilot training selection.

    Warrant Officer Laurie was enrolled in the No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School at Taieri Air Force Base near Dunedin, 8 February to 3 April 1943.

    His advanced training was at No. 2 Service Flying Training School, Woodbourne Air Force Base, Blenheim, 5 April 1943 to 31 July 1943.

    Laurie, D.W. [2006]. Wartime experience and service as a Spitfire pilot on 17 Fighter Squadron in Burma Campaign, World War 2. Unpublished.

    Upon arriving in England, Warrant Officer Laurie was posted to Brighton, then transferred to an airfield at Desford, near Leicester, then Market Drayton and Telford in Shropshire for rating in Tiger Moths, and Hurricane fighters.

    He was later transferred to Tealing Air Base near Dundee to assist in live air-to-air firing practice for Spitfire pilots.

    Warrant Officer Laurie was transferred to Fayid air base, Egypt on 7 October 1944 to receive training in the Mark V Spitfire. On 17 December 1944 he was transferred to Poona, India for advanced flying on the Mark VIII Spitfire. He also received jungle survival training in the southern mountains of Mahabaleshwar. It was during this period that he was promoted to Warrant Officer (31 January 1945).

    He was transferred to Headquarters Burma on 3 May 1945, then joined 17 Fighter Squadron in Ywadon, where he flew air patrols in support of the 14th Army. In mid June he flew to Madura to train in the Mark XIV Spitfire, in preparation for the invasion of Malaya; however, the surrender of Japan meant that this became an occupation rather than an invasion. When the rest of 17 Squadron was moved to Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, Warrant Officer Laurie was left behind to assist in shutting down Madura base.

    While he was on convoy duty the "Quit India" riots began, he was ordered to report to Dhubalia, north of Calcutta. He spent a week trapped at the Anzac club in Calcutta due to the rioting, before reaching Dhubalia to embark on the Oriana for England. Unfortunately, that ship had turned back for England due to engine trouble, and Warrant Officer Laurie instead travelled by train to Bombay before embarking on the troop carrier Athlone Castle for New Zealand (via Australia) in mid December. He arrived in Wellington, New Zealand in early January 1946.

    Joined Swanson RSA as a foundation member AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    New Lynn RSA, 2 Veronica Street, New Lynn 0600 AWMM

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      Vol. 3 p. 610 AWMM
    • Unpublished papers: family papers. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM

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