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Herbert Samuel Wipiti

Portrait of Bert Sam Wipiti, Royal New Zealand Air Force, taken at Swainson's Studios, New Plymouth, c.Second World War. Puke Ariki, SW1923-1965.00235: Image is subject to copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Bert Sam Wipiti, Royal New Zealand Air Force, taken at Swainson's Studios, New Plymouth, …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Herbert Samuel AWMM
  • Surname
    Wipiti AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • Bert Sam AWMM
    • Herbert Samuel Public - Sarndra - Researcher - 11 July 2015 - Memorial board at Altar - St George's RAF Chapel of Remembrance, Biggin Hill, Kent, England.
  • Service number
    • WWII NZ41388 AWMM
    • WWII 41388 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    16 January 1922 AWMM New PlymouthTaranaki AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 New Plymouth AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Father: Mr T. M. Wipiti, Lower Mangorei Road, New Plymouth AWMM
  • Relationship status


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
    • Pilot/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845617)
    • Pilot RNZAF Biographies (R17845617)
  • Enlistment
  • 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
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM
    Killed on air operations AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Joined 485 Squadron RNZAF (Spitfire) August 1943.

      Son of Motu Tamihana and Ngamata Paenga Wipiti (nee Lowrie), Lower Mangorei, New Plymouth.

      Attended New Plymouth Boys' High School (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845617)) AWMM
    • Bert was educated at New Plymouth Boys High School. He was the first Maori airman to leave New Zealand on active duty when he was posted to Singapore. He became an air ace by destroying five Japanese aircraft. Public - Ian Banks - Researcher - 5 June 2020 - Research
    • Bert Sam Wipiti grew up in New Plymouth and spent three years at New Plymouth Boy’s High School before beginning work as a junior refrigeration technician with Pattersons Ltd in New Plymouth. When World War Two broke out he enlisted with the RNZAF and received his training in Levin, Bell Block and Ohakea. He was promoted to Sergeant just before leaving for overseas in July 1941. He was posted to Singapore with the 243 Squadron at Kallang Airport. Bert stood out for his expertise during the aerial assault by the Japanese forces on Singapore where it is thought he was responsible for the first enemy aircraft to be shot down by his squadron. He was awarded the DFM for his service in Singapore. The citation read; “Sergeant Wipiti carried out a large number of operational flights against the enemy and displayed outstanding courage and determination whilst engaging large formations of enemy aircraft. He set a fine example to all.” After Singapore Bert was posted to Calcutta where he joined the 67 Squadron (RAF). He was promoted to Warrant Officer in 1943 and posted to England where he was trained in flying Spitfires before joining the 485 (NZ) Squadron at Briggin Hill, Kent. Bert died on 3 October 1944 after his aircraft was shot-down by enemy aircraft while escorting bombers over coastal France. His aircraft crashed into the sea and was lost. Bert’s name is commemorated on the Runnymeade memorial, England. Public - Louise - Researcher - 9 September 2020 - West, J. (1995). Lest We Forget. New Plymouth: New Plymouth Boy’s High School Centennial Trust.
      Puke Ariki, Swainson/Woods Collection ARC# SW1923-1965.00235 & ARC 2002-1005
      Retrieved from &
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About death

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  • Death
    3 October 1943 AWMM
    Age 21 AWMM
    FranceEurope AWMM
  • 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
    Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, United Kingdom AWMM

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  • External links
  • References
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      vol.3, p.514 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
    • The Weekly News AWMM
      Weekly News, 1943 AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
      Moorhead, M. (1976, November 10). Countdown to tragedy, Review (RSA). 9. AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Ue - Z. Archives New Zealand (R17845617) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [Missing - But Presumed Dead on Lapse of Time - Officers, Airmen]. Archives New Zealand (R17845743) AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
19 April 2021KelvinNorfolk, EnglandResearcher
09 September 2020LouiseNew Plymouth, New ZealandResearcher
05 June 2020Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
11 July 2015SarndraAuckland, New ZealandResearcher

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