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Ian Hamilton Byers



  • Title
  • Forenames
    Ian Hamilton AWMM
  • Surname
    Byers AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • WWII NZ428186 AWMM
    • WWII 428186 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    30 September 1917 AWMM ShannonManawatu AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) AWMM
    DFC. 2 March 1945: His Lancaster was hit and set aflame, killing the mid-upper gunner, while bombing Giessen, Germany. He managed to keep the aircraft under control and effect a safe emergency landing at an unattended and unlit airstrip near Lieges, Belgium. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Jul 1942 AWMM Factory manager/Civilian 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

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Husband of Teenie; father of Kerry and Robyn

    Service: Waikanae, New Zealand

    "Another amazing series of incidents befell Flying Officer Byers1 and his crew of No. 61 Squadron one night in December during the attack on Giessen. First came a sharp fighter attack; then, just as the bombs were released, a nearby burst of flak sent their Lancaster plunging almost out of control. A minute later incendiaries dropped from an aircraft above struck the fuselage, followed almost immediately by a burst of fire from a fighter which killed the mid-upper gunner and set his turret alight. The blaze soon gained a firm hold and a second fire developed in the port wing, sending long tongues of flame licking along the fuselage. Byers now ordered the crew to bale out but the wireless operator, busy over his set, did not hear the order. He remained in the aircraft and, as the Lancaster flew on, managed to subdue the fire in the mid-upper turret. Byers, who had stayed at the controls, thereupon decided to attempt a landing on the Continent. Eluding a trailing fighter, he flew towards Liege on fixes supplied by his companion. Eventually the Lancaster arrived over an airfield – it was unlighted and its short runway was normally only used for fighters, but Byers managed a safe landing with the aid of the aircraft's lights and Very cartridges." From New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol. II) p. 401.

    Ian Byers remembers the incident slightly differently and recalled to a friend Basil Kruse "“They got it all wrong in the report. I didn't land on the runway; I was going to land on the railway - I could see lights, but it was a train coming! As I was pretty low and on fire, I landed in a field close to the runway. The Americans came running over with hatchets and were going to cut the plane open. I opened up and got out with my wireless operator. The Americans took us to their quarters and gave us a large brandy. My operator didn't drink so he gave his to me; it was one swallow, and gone.” AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    1 March 2011 AWMM
    Age 93 AWMM
    WaikanaeWellington Region AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Waikanae Cemetery Ngarara Road Waikanae Kapiti Coast New Zealand AWMM Servicemen`s Cremation Beam, RSA Y, Row X, Plot 166 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Death Notice: The Dominion Post, 17 March 2011 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
    Thompson, H. (1959). New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol II). Wellington: Dept of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. Digital Copy
    Sources Used
  • References
    • Hanson, C. (2001). By such deeds: honours and awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999. Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. 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. 110 AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      vol. 3, p. 610-11 [ref. 171] 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. 2, p. 401 AWMM
    • Dominion Post AWMM
      Death Notice: 17 March 2011 AWMM

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