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William Robert Esquilant

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William Robert AWMM
  • Surname
    Esquilant AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • Bert AWMM
    • Pat AWMM
  • Service number
    • NZ412471 AWMM
    • WWII 412471 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    1909 AWMM DunedinOtago AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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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 William Charles and Jemima Forrest Esquilant, of Dunedin, Otago.

    Pat joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1939, was commissioned with an administrative job, and gained the rank of Flying Officer. An easy war was not to his taste, however, and although he had the greatest difficulty in doing so, he eventually persuaded the authorities to allow him to transfer for active service. He later, as an L.A.C., sailed for Canada, where his natural aptitude for mathematics, coupled with a unique determination (so typical of him!) made him an apt pupil, and he qualified with the award of a Silver Wing for his outstanding navigational ability. In the course of lengthy service in the Pacific, during which he rose to the rank of F./Lieut., he gained high praise as a navigator, and was rewarded with an A.F.C. He was disappointed at not being posted for service in the European theatre, but was consoled by the opportunities he seldom missed to snatch a climb on his brief visits to New Zealand.

    To his delight, 1946 brought a posting to London to work on the War History of the R.N.Z.A.F. He left in April with great expectations of visiting England, the Continent, and in particular the Swiss Alps. The summer months were crammed full of sight-seeing and visiting, and his wonderfully descriptive letters showed his wide interests. ... His impending visit to the Alps was the subject of his last letter, and shortly after came the tragic news of his death on the Weisshorn on 24th August. He lies buried in the Vevey Military Cemetery and, although no surrounded by his beloved Southern Alps, yet, as he would have wished it, is near the mountains. [Source: New Zealand Alpine Journal, vol. XII, no. 34, June, 1947]

    Received King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    24 August 1946 AWMM
    Age 37 AWMM
    SwitzerlandEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    St Martin's Cemetery, Vevey, Switzerland AWMM Grave 123. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
    Commonwealth War Graves Commission record
    Sources Used
  • References
    • New Zealand Alpine journal AWMM
      Vol. XII, no. 34, June, 1947. [includes photograph] AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. 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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