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John Dorset Webster

Portrait of Pilot-Officer J. D. Webster, of Whakatane, missing on operations. Auckland Weekly News, 16 September 1942. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19420916-18-41. Image has no known copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Pilot-Officer J. D. Webster, of Whakatane, missing on operations. Auckland Weekly News, …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    John Dorset AWMM
  • Surname
    Webster AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • WWII NZ405351 AWMM
    • WWII 405351 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    5 April 1917 AWMM StratfordTaranaki AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Lewis Dorset Webster (father), New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and 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 on Active Service, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Son of Lewis Dorset Webster and of Adele Marie Webster (nee Avery), of New Plymouth AWMM
    • Operation: Sweep

      Date: 23rd July 1942 (Thursday)

      Unit: No. 234 Squadron (10 Group)

      Type: Spitfire Vb

      Serial: AR285

      Code: AZ-?

      Base: RAF Portreath, Cornwall

      Location: English Channel off France

      Pilot: P/O. John Dorset Webster NZ/405351 RNZAF Age 24. Missing believed killed


      Taking off at 15:20 hrs for a sweep between Plousecat and Guissény the unit encountered flak and light machine gun fire near Landerneau as well as encountering enemy aircraft.

      The squadron lost four pilots during this operation, apart from Sgt. Webster who is thought to have come down in the English Channel. (some reports state that he baled out - missing)

      The others lost from the Squadron:
      Spitfire Vb AD454 Flown by Sgt. W.H.T. Farmer 570023 RAFVR Taken PoW No: 25657 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
      Spitfire Vb AD541 Flown by Sgt. David Gordon Fuggle 1333176 RAFVR - Missing - believed killed.
      Spitfire Vb AB864 Flown by P/O. Jorgen Billy Thalbitzer 110594 RAFVR - Taken PoW - Oflag XXIB - further details follow.

      Burial details:

      P/O. John Dorset Webster. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 117. The son of Lewis Dorset Webster and of Adele Marie Webster (née Avery), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. 406 Flying hours logged and on his 91st operation.

      Sgt. David Gordon Fuggle. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 83. No further details on next of kin - are you able to assist?
      P/O. Jorgen Billy Thalbitzer. Vestre Cemetery (Copenhagen). No further details on next of kin - are you able to assist?

      Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand Public - kelvin - Researcher - 5 November 2017 -
    • John Webster was 15 years old when he left New Plymouth Boy’s High School in 1934 and went to work at the Taranaki Daily News in Hawera and then later on to the Farmer’s Co-op Society. In 1940 he enlisted in the RNZAF and received training in Levin and Bell Block before being transferred to Canada for further training. After more training in Scotland he was graded above average as a fighter pilot and was posted to 234 Fighter Squadron in Ibsley to fly spitfires. On July 23 1942 he was returning from a mission over France when his aircraft was lost without trace. It was assumed his aircraft had been brought down and lost at sea. His name is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, England. Public - Louise - Researcher - 28 August 2020 - West, J. (1995). Lest We Forget. New Plymouth: New Plymouth Boy’s High School Centennial Trust.
      Puke Ariki, Swainson/Woods Collection ARC#SW1944.1947
      Retrieved from
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About death

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  • Death
    23 July 1942 AWMM
    Age 25 AWMM
    Europe 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
    Commonwealth War Graves Commission record
    Sources Used
  • References
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      pp.499-500 AWMM
    • This record is a work in progress and was partially compiled from the “Database of New Zealand Airmen who took part in Advanced Air Training in Canada during WW2”. Researched by Ivan and Lorna Lindsey of Tauranga. N.Z. 2003 – 2012. Reproduced with permission. AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
28 August 2020LouiseNew Plymouth, New ZealandResearcher
11 July 2020Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
05 November 2017kelvinNorfolk, EnglandResearcher

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