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James Samuel Humphreys



  • Title
  • Forenames
    James Samuel AWMM
  • Surname
    Humphreys AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    41928 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    • No. 9E & RFTS (Ansty) AWMM
    • RAF, Uxbridge (short Induction course) AWMM
    • 6FTS (Little Rissington) AWMM
    • Ground Attack Course , specialising in Rocket Projectiles April 1942 AWMM
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    Inter War Feb 1938 AWMM
    Age 19 AWMM
    Audit Office Employee/Civilian AWMM
    New Zealand 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
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Lost finger in plane crash AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Hepatitis April 1945 AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Attended West Christchurch District High School -1930-31.

    Christs College - 1932-35

    Married after war and remained in England until June 1951.

    Acting Pilot Officer 15 April 1939

    Pilot Officer 6 November 1939

    Flying Officer 6 November 1940

    Flight Lieutenant 6 November 1941

    At 5pm on the 9 September 1940 Hunmphreys' squadron was ordered off and after 15 minutes 'B' Flight was detached and vectored on to a raid apparently heading for the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. Contact was made about 5.25 with a force of 20 plus HE 111s, with Me 109s as close and high escort. Awkwardly placed, at the rear of the enemy formation and slightly below, the Hurricanes climbed to get into an attacking position. As the high escort started to take notice Humphreys moved Green section outwards, drawing the Me109s with them. 605's Blue section moved in and broke up the bombers and Humphreys turned his section to pick up any of the scattered Heinkels. At this point they were bounced by some Me 110s which Humphreys had not seen. His Hurricane waas hit three or four times, one being a 20mm cannon shell beside the throttle control.. He went down in an aileron turn for some 3000 feet and took stock of the situation. There was a sizeable hole in the cockpit wall, the throttle quadrant was gone the cockpit was full of smoke and petrol fumes. It seemed that his aircraft was gong to catch fire so he baled out at an altitude of 12000 feet. He did a free fall to down to cloud level, about 3000 feet, before pulling his rip-cord. His left hand was badly wounded, a mess of blood, flesh, bone and glove mixed all together, and he ultimately lost his little finger. Humphreys' came out of cloud over the Canadian Camp at Bordon and drifted across it with the breeze. Soldiers began firing the Lewis gun up at him, putting six holes through the canopy, cutting on rigging line and sending one bullet through the left breast pocket of his tunic, leaving a weal on his left side. Humphreys' landed just outside the camp in a copse besides the railway line, was picked up by the Canadians and having being relieved of his buttons, flying boots and maps was taken to the Cambridge Military Hospital at Aldershot. When he abandoned his aircraft he released his escape panel, on which was stencilled his personal insignia, a Maori Tiki. This shows one of the hands cut, which he considers to be of superstitious significance. Humphreys' must have mentioned this panel to the Canadians for three days later three of them brought it to him in hospital. The very soldiers who had picked him up had found it on manoeuvres. A remarkable coincidence, considering it had fluttered down 12000 feet.

    Humphreys' stayed in hospital just over 4 weeks, after which he went to Torquay for convalescence. (from " A clasp for the few : New Zealanders with the Battle of Britain Clasp' by Kenneth G. Wynn)

    Portrait in Wynn, K. (1981). The Battle of Britain: 10 July- 31 October 1940 AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    1986 AWMM
    WanganuiManawatu-Wanganui AWMM
  • Date of death
    25th April 1986 Public - Penelope Ann - Other Relative - 15 April 2015 - Family knowledge
  • Age at death
    68 years Public - Penelope Ann - Other Relative - 15 April 2015 - Family knowledge
  • Place of death
    Palmerston North Hospital and buried in Whanganui. Public - Penelope Ann - Other Relative - 15 April 2015 - Family knowledge
  • Cause of death
    James died following a courageous battle with cancer. Public - Penelope Ann - Other Relative - 15 April 2015 - Family knowledge
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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  • In loving memory of Jim - he often quoted High Flight by John Magee. It clearly spoke volumes in relation to the lighter moments enjoyed in Spitfire and Hurricane. His was a long war which took him to India, Burma and Thailand as well as Europe. So loved and missed by his family. "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . . Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or ever eagle flew — And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put
    Public - Penelope Ann - Child - 15 April 2015



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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Wynn, K. (1981). A clasp for "The Few". Auckland. N.Z.: Author. AWMM
    • Wynn, K. (1989). Men of the Battle of Britain. Norwich, England: Gliddon Books. AWMM
    • Wynn, K. (1981). A clasp for "The Few". Auckland. N.Z.: Author. AWMM
      Wynn, K. (1981). p. 220-224 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


Command item
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Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
25 October 2021AnthonyHaumoanaResearcher
16 April 2015Penelope AnnHavelock North HastingsOther Relative

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