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James Kingston Stellin

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Biography for James Kingston Stellin. RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Ue - Z. Archives New Zealand (R17845616-0193). CC-BY 2.0.

Biography for James Kingston Stellin. RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Pe …

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    James Kingston AWMM
  • Surname
    Stellin AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ421785 AWMM
    • WWII 421785 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    2 July 1922 RNZAF Biographies (R17845616) RNZAF Biographies (R17845616)
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Parents: Mr & Mrs J. Stellin, "Casa Loma". Western Hutt AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
    • Pilot/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845616)
    • Instructor/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845616)
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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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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    • James Stellin was the son of James Stellin and of Beatrice Hart Stellin (nee Heard), of Lyall Bay, Wellington, New Zealand.

      Attended Scots College (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845616)) AWMM
    • "KIWI PILOT'S SACRIFICE SAVES FRENCH VILLAGE - 19 AUGUST 1944.

      As his damaged Hawker Typhoon fighter-bomber rapidly lost height, Pilot Officer James Stellin struggled to avoid crashing into Saint-Maclou-la-Brière, a village of 370 people between Le Havre and Dieppe in northern France. He succeeded, but at the cost of his own life. The villagers gave him a hero’s funeral and have honoured his memory ever since.

      James Kingston (‘Joe’) Stellin was one of several thousand New Zealanders who flew with the Royal Air Force over Europe in support of the D-Day landings in 1944. Born in Wellington on 2 July 1922, he was the son of James and Beatrice Stellin of Lyall Bay. He attended Scots College before enlisting in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1942 and beginning pilot training. On 3 June 1944, three days before D-Day, he and two other Kiwi pilots were posted to 609 Squadron, RAF, at Thorney Island airfield, Hampshire. Over the following month, 609’s pilots flew numerous missions over Normandy, targeting German radar stations, tanks and other vehicles. In early July the squadron moved its base to France, arriving at Plumetot, north of Caen, under shellfire and in mud and rain. For the next six weeks Stellin flew almost daily missions against German tank concentrations, strongpoints and motor transport in the Falaise area.

      On 18 August, 609 Squadron’s Typhoons destroyed at least seven German tanks and 12 vehicles. Stellin flew again that evening, attacking vehicles on the Vimoutiers–Orbec road and setting five alight. On the 19th, 609 Squadron again targeted German transport trying to escape the Falaise pocket. At 8.30 a.m. Stellin took off from Martragny airfield, flying Typhoon JP975. After destroying several tanks and trucks, Stellin’s aircraft was heading home when he asked permission to descend to attack a vehicle. He did not return to his formation and asked for a homing to find his way back to base. He was given a course but later reported that he was short of fuel. It is thought that his plane was hit by flak near Bernay. A teacher at Saint-Maclou-la-Brière, Monsieur Jacobs, described the scene:


      It was 10 o’clock in the morning when the sounds of an aircraft in difficulties first made us look up. The plane was about 1500 to 2000 feet up, and rapidly losing height. Suddenly, on realising the great destruction his plane would cause if it were to crash in the centre of the village, the pilot straightened up his plane with a vigorous and supreme effort, made a half-climb, then turning sharp left at an acute angle, it fell rapidly, crashing less than a mile away.

      Stellin bailed out at the last moment, but his parachute failed to open and he was killed. He was 22 years old. His funeral in Saint-Maclou-la-Brière was attended by 1200 people from the surrounding area. His grave in the local cemetery was later designated a Commonwealth War Grave; ever since it has been decorated regularly with flowers. In 1946 M. Jacobs, who had been active in the local Resistance, wrote a moving letter to Stellin’s parents. The following year the Kiwi pilot was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme. The people of Saint-Maclou-la-Brière later engraved Stellin’s name onto the war memorial for the dead of their own village. In 1964 they erected a black marble memorial stone to Stellin outside the gates of their church. In 2001 the area in front of the St Maclou church was named ‘Place Stellin’". Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 26 August 2017 - Attribute to : NZHistory.org.nz : www.nzhistory.org.nz : Manatu Taonga : Licensed by Manatu Taonga for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence : Not re-use for commercial purposes with permission of NZHistory.org.nz
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    19 August 1944 AWMM
    Age 22 AWMM
    AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    St Maclou-La-Briere Churchyard, Seine-Maritime, France AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
    Stellin Park, Tinakori Road, Wellington & Scots College, Wellington, New Zealand. Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 26 August 2017 - www.nzhistory. org.nz
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
  • References
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Sm- Ty. Archives New Zealand (R17845616) - Former archives reference: AIR118 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
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [List of Missing - United Kingdom, Airmen]. Archives New Zealand (R17845745) AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [List of Killed - Officers (Canada, Pacific, Europe) - Airmen (Canada, India and Far East)]. Archives New Zealand (R17845748) AWMM

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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
28 August 2017JeniferWairarapaResearcher

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