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William Henry Swain

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William Henry AWMM
  • Surname
    Swain AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ40665 AWMM
    • WWII 40665 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    10 January 1918 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mr R.A. Swain (father), 35 Makora Road, Masterton, 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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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • 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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    • William Swain was the son of Arthur William and Dora Goss Swain, of Masterton

      Next of kin details compiled from information in the Casualty lists published in the newspapers. AWMM
    • Reason for aircraft / crew loss :

      Aircraft : Wellington Ic L7798 HA-S.
      Squadron : RAF 218 Squadron (Gold Coast ) Squadron 3 Group : RAF Base Marham, Norfolk, England.
      Squadron Motto : 'In Time'.
      Crash site : Trezeguer Farm, Lanrivoar, France.

      Operation : Brest
      Date : 22-23 April 1941.

      Last air operation of Wellington L7798 HA-S details:

      26 aircraft left RAF Bases, at England - including aircraft from 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron at Marham, to bomb Brest - an important port and repair works for the German Navy.

      Wellington 1c L7798 HA-S - piloted by New Zealander (Masterton, Wairarapa) Flight Sergeant William Henry Swain RNZAF NZ/40665 - was hit by anti-aircraft flak fired from a German Flak (anti-aircraft) Battery (Regiment 100) over France - and the Wellington crashed at Trezegeur Farm, near Lanrivoar, France. This Wellington was the only aircraft that did not return to RAF base from this air operation - although 2 crash landed in England because of low fuel.

      All crew aboard Wellington IC L7798 HA-S were killed when the bomber crashed - except for RNZAF Flight Sergeant James Clark NZ/402103. He was on the run for 1 month before being captured by German forces and sent to a POW Camp.
      At his death Flight Sergeant William H. Swain had logged 305 flying hours - and was on his 5th 'Operational Sortie'.

      The crew of the last air operation of Wellington L7798 HA-S were :

      1) 1st Pilot - Flight Sergeant William Henry Swain : RNZAF NZ/40665 - aged 23 (killed).
      2) 2nd Pilot - Flight Sergeant Ray E. Finch : RAFVR 907613 - aged 23 (killed).
      3) Observer Flight Sergeant Malcolm Bruce Crooks : RNZAF NZ/40755 - aged 25 (killed).
      4) Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Flight Sergeant Victor M.R. Lloyd RAFVR - aged 21 (killed).
      5) Wireless/Air Gunner Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Molyneaux RAFVR 985594 - aged 22 (killed).
      6) Air Gunner Flight Sergeant James Clark : RNZAF NZ.402103 (survived crash; taken as POW of Germans). Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 12 September 2019 - Reference : (England) : Profile of Wellington Ic L7798 HA-S / Flight Sergeant William H. Swain NZ.
    • Williams mother's name is incorrect. - And is incorrectly entered on his death certificate. His mother was actually Dorothea Cross nee Nicolson.
      Swain was his adopted family he and my grandfather were born Cross after the father apparently divorced and their mother died 1924 they were eventually adopted.
      There is no such person as Dora Goss Swain - she was Dora Cross ( Nicolson)
      It is frastrating this record as Dora died not getting recognition for her son Public - Clinton Anthony - Other relative - 2 February 2020 - Family history and birth certificate of William and his brother
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About death

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  • Death
    22 April 1941 AWMM
    Age 23 AWMM
    FranceEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Milizac Churchyard, Milizac, Finistere, Bretagne, France AWMM Grave 4 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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Command item
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Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
02 February 2020Clinton Anthony RotoruaOther relative
13 September 2019JeniferWairarapaResearcher
10 November 2018C PMastertonOther

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