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

Ivan Francis Urlich

Portrait of Flight Sergeant Ivan F Urlich Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 18 AUGUST 1943 p020. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19430818-20-31. No known copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Flight Sergeant Ivan F Urlich Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 18 A …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Ivan Francis AWMM
  • Surname
    Urlich AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 132897 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

Contribute ›
  • Birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

Contribute ›

Military decorations

Contribute ›
  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

Contribute ›


Contribute ›

Prisoner of war

Contribute ›
  • Capture details
    1 May 1943 AWMM
    Captured after a raid, only survivor of crew, confirmed POW June 1943 AWMM
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

Contribute ›
  • Medical notes

Last known rank

Contribute ›
  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

Contribute ›
    • Flight Sergeant Ivan Urlich - from Hawera, South Taranaki - served with the RNZAF - at England.
      On 3 May 1943 Flight Sergeant Urlich was a crew member of Ventura AE780 S-Sugar - piloted by New Zealander Flying Officer Stuart McGowan RNZAF - on the RAF's first daylight raid into Amsterdam (code named: Amsterdam Raid : Ramrod 17).
      Flight Sergeant Urlich's Ventura aircraft was in a formation of 6 Ventura Bombers - led by Group Captain Leonard H. Trent VC DFC - of Nelson, New Zealand.
      All 6 Ventura Bombers came under heavy German aerial attack and all 6 were shot down. Flight Sergeant Ivan Urlich's Ventura impacted along the Van Bossestraat, Amsterdam - at 1745 hours (local time). On the 4-man crew of Ventura AE760 S-Sugar only Flight Sergeant Urlich survived. He would become a POW. Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 30 March 2018 - Reference : (Biography of Group Captain Leonard H. Trent VC DFC).
    • In a post-war interview Flight-Sergeant Urlich stated that " I remember noticing we were practically over Amsterdam and that only Squadron Leader Trent's aircraft was still with us. As I was watching it (Trent's Ventura) a burst of flak blew its tail away and it went down in a spin. Aboard his own Ventura - "Mac" (Flying Officer Stuart McGowan RNZAF) put on my parachute and pushed me out the door. That was the last I ever saw of him".

      48 crew men (many RNZAF) took off - in their Ventura Bombers - from RAF Methwold, England at 16.43 hours on 3 May 1943 - for a 200 mile flight to Amsterdam. In little more than 75 minutes later 28 crewmen were dead; 12 captured as POWs and 8 made it back to England. Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 30 March 2018 - (Biography of Group Captain Leonard H. Trent VC DFC).
    • The account of how Flight-Sergeant Urlich had his life saved by his fellow crew-members is recounted here, in the Biography of the Ventura raid Squadron Leader - later Group Captain Leonard H. Trent VC DFC :
      "At 1750 hours Ventura No AE780:S S-Sugar was shot down over Bornstrasse, Amsterdam. Sergeant Ivan Urlich, now living in Hawera, owes his life to the prompt and courageous actions of his PIlot and Navigator McGowan and Thornber. Seeing the Gunner unconscious in his turret the two Officers dragged Urlich out, clipped his parachute pack on to his harness, hooked his right hand into the rip-cord handle and pushed him out of the doomed aircraft. Urlich recovered in time to open his canopy and float down to the comparative safety of a term of imprisonment. His three companions (fellow crew members) died in the crash of S-Sugar". Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 14 December 2018 - Biography of Group Captain Leonard H Trent VC DFC : Hutchison Press (1983) : Pages 122-123.
    • From the other nine bombers which had already been shot down there were relatively few survivors. Some men were killed at their posts during the air battle, others when their machines exploded in mid-air or crashed and blew up on the ground. A wounded air gunner was the only survivor from one crew. He owed his life to the action of his captain, Flying Officer McGowan,1 and Canadian navigator, Flying Officer Thornber.2 After he was wounded they dragged him from his damaged turret, put on his parachute, and pushed him out of the burning Ventura. A few moments later the bomber exploded, killing them both. The gunner, Flight Sergeant Urlich,3 gives this description of events from the time the French coast was crossed until his turret was put out of action:

      Suddenly through the inter-comm. I heard ‘fighters coming in to meet us from below.’ A moment or two later I saw German fighters all round our formations. Five singled us out and began to follow. Three came behind in line astern, the first about 600 yards away. They did not attack immediately but when McGowan began to take evasive action the first one came in. He got in a burst on the port side between my turret and the pilot, but did little damage. The second one was a better shot. He broke a lot of perspex and wounded me in the right leg. The third one really fixed us. He came in

      1 Flying Officer S. McGowan; born Wellington, 6 Feb 1921; farmer; joined RNZAF Sep 1941; killed on air operations, 3 May 1943.

      2 Flying Officer E. G. Thornber; born Methven, Canada, 14 Jan 1916; joined RCAF Aug 1941; killed on air operations, 3 May 1943.

      3 Warrant Officer I. F. Urlich; born Hawera, 6 Aug 1922; shop assistant; joined RNZAF Jan 1941; p.w. 3 May 1943.
      page 146 very close, raked us from end to end and hit me in the left foot. I managed to get a burst into him and down he went with his engine on fire.
      The inter-comm. went dead, and we had a few peaceful moments till we were attacked from the front. I didn't see this one come in. He really smashed up the turret. I got nicked in the left side and one of the guns was hit by cannon shell and knocked out of its mounting. Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 20 March 2019 - Reference : New Zealanders with the RAF (Volume 2) : Chapter 6 "Daylight Raids By The Light Bombers" : Victoria University of New Zealand.
Read more


About death

Contribute ›
  • 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



Contribute ›
  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

Remember Ivan Francis Urlich by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Ivan Francis Urlich

Leave a note

Contribute ›



Contribute ›


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
12 December 2021KelvinNorfolk, EnglandResearcher
14 June 2019JeniferWairarapaResearcher

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