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John David Rudling

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    John David AWMM
  • Surname
    Rudling AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • WWII NZ41714 AWMM
    • WWII 41714 AWMM
    • WWII 41714 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    18 March 1922 AWMM Vava'uVava'u Group AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre Jan 1941 AWMM Larchwood Avenue, Westmere, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Parents: Mr. & Mrs. T. G Rudling of Auckland AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) AWMM
      Citation: Pilot Officer Rudling has flown continuously on operations since December 1942 and has been in combat with enemy aircraft. On all occasions he has displayed marked courage and determination. In April 1943 he was engaged by enemy aircraft for five minutes but he succeeded in shooting it down. A month later, during an enemy attack on Chittagong, Pilot Officer Rudling attacked three enemy bombers, damaging at least one but his own aircraft was hit and set on fire by a Japanese fighter. In spite of this, he again attacked the enemy bomber and continued to fire until his own aircraft was blazing and he had to leave it by parachute. Throughout his operational career Pilot Officer Rudling has shown outstanding skill on operations. AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    • Enlisted at RNZAF Station , Hobsonville (January 1941) AWMM
    • Initial Training Wing, Levin AWMM
    • No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School (Whenuapai) AWMM
    • No. 3 Service Flying Training School, Ohakea ( July 1941) - advanced training on Hawker Hind aircraft AWMM
    • With the RAF No. 9 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, Feb 1942 (Hullavington, Wiltshire) - refresher course on Miles Master and Hurricane aircraft. AWMM
    • With the RAF later carried out operational flying training at Annan in Scotland AWMM
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
    Pilot/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845615)
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Jan 1941 AWMM
    Age 19 AWMM
    Banker/Civilian AWMM
    HobsonvilleAuckland 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
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • John Rudling was the son of Thomas George and Minna Louisa Rudling, of Auckland, New Zealand. He came to New Zealand with his parents in 1924 and was educated at Mt Albert Grammar School and Seddon Memorial Technical College (where he studied accounting). On leaving school he was employed as a bank clerk. He applied for war service with the RNZAF in March 1940. On 6 September 1941 he was awarded his flying badge and promoted to rank of Sergeant In 1941 he embarked from New Zealand for San Francisco, then to Vancouver and across Canada by rail to Halifax where he embarked and reached Liverpool on Christmas Day 1941.

    1 October 1942 - promoted to Flight Sergeant.

    16 April 1943 - commissioned as Pilot Officer.

    16 October 1943 - promoted to Flying Officer.

    Arrived in India (26 July 1942).

    Posted to No. 136 Squadron (based at Dum Dum in Bengal).

    Flying Hurricane fighters he took part in two day and one night patrol before the squadron moved to Chittagong, near the Burmese border. From here Flying Officer Rudling carried out a further 81 operational sorties - interceptions, patrols, bomber and shipping escorts, fighter sweeps and low-level strafing attacks. During these operations he destroyed two enemy aircraft and damaged another and on one occasion was forced to bale out (see award circumstances).

    End of June 1943 - No. 136 Squadron was withdrawn to Baigachi, near Calcutta and later to Amarda where they were re-equipped with Spitfire aircraft.

    Early February 1944 - Moved to Rumkapalong in the Arakan district of Burma.

    March 1944 - moved to Sapam and Wanjing airfield in the Imphal Valley. From these bases Flying Officer Rudling engaged in a further 49 operational sorties and succeeded in damaging four enemy aircraft in combat.

    The following is a transcript of the report on loss of Flying Officer J.D. Rudling, DFM: "Flying Officer Rudling was airborne in Spitfire VIII (JF619) from Rumkapalong with the rest of the squadron at 1535 hours on 29 April 1944 to carry out a low-level attack on Kangaung air field. When at 9500 feet north of Popa, the squadron formed into two flights of 6 and 4 aircraft, the flight of 6 leading. Flying Officer Rudling was flying in the second flight of 4 aircraft as JANUS RED 3. The order to jettison long-range tanks was given at 7000 feet. JANUS RED 2 could not release his tank and he stayed up with Flight Officer Rudling covering him, while the other two aircraft of the flight commenced a gradual dive on the target. When 4 miles west of Kangaung at 1500 feet and 400 yards behind and 500 feet above the leading flight, 5 enemy fighters were sighted by JANUS RED 1, 1000 feet directly above. The enemy aircraft were seen to be peeling off and commencing an attack. JANUS RED 1 was attacked by two enemy fighters. Flying Officer Rudling was seen to come down to assist him and he was immediately attacked by another enemy fighter. He turned steeply to port with an Oscar attacking him from astern and obtaining strikes on his aircraft. JANUS RED 1 while turning to starboard succeeded in firing a short burst at the Oscar but no visual damage could be seen. Shortly afterwards Flying Officer Rudling crashed in flames and his aircraft was seen burning on the ground four miles west of Kangaung. While taking evasive action JANUS RED 4 who was the fourth member of the flight saw an aircraft explode in the air and it is assumed that this aircraft was RED 3 flown by Flying Officer Rudling. (Signed) E.C. Watson S/Mr; Officer Commanding; No. 136 Squadron, RAF"

    Attended Mt Albert Grammar School (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845615)) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    29 April 1944 AWMM
    Age 22 AWMM
    Myanmar (Burma)Southeast Asia AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Taukkyan War Cemetery, Rangoon, Myanmar AWMM Plot 23A, Row F, Grave No. 6 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Mount Albert Grammar School, Alberton Ave, Mount Albert Auckland 1025 AWMM
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

Roll of Honour

Remember John David Rudling by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of John David Rudling

Leave a note

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  • Rest in peace Uncle Johnny lost but never forgotten.
    Thank you for your Service ❤️
    Public - Melville - Direct descendant - 9 April 2022
  • Minna Kalolaine Munro, Rotorua New Zealand (niece of Johnny's) and Carolyn Jane Munro, Christchurch, New Zealand ( great niece of Johnny's) are visiting Johnny's grave (row F, grave 6, plot 23A) at the Taukkyan War Cemetery in Yangon, Myanmar on 7 April 2019
    Public - Carolyn - Other relative - 31 March 2019



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  • External links
  • References
    • Sutherland, J. (1989). Gallantry awards to New Zealanders in World War Two. Christchurch, N.Z.: Regal Medals. AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Qu - Sl. Archives New Zealand (R17845615) - 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. [Missing believed killed - Officers, Airmen]. Archives New Zealand (R17845746) AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - Embarkation Lists, November 1940 - July 1942. Archives New Zealand, Wellington (R17845762). AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
09 April 2022Melville Westport New Zealand Direct descendant
24 April 2021CarolynChristchurch, NewZealand Other relative
09 January 2019PublicNew ZealandResearcher

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