The Airmen's Stories - P/O E Orgias
Eric Orgias was born in Palmerston North, New Zealand on 23rd November 1914. After leaving High School there he worked for a local farmer before going to Massey Agricultural College where he obtained a diploma in sheep farming in 1936.
In February 1938 Orgias joined the Civil Reserve of Pilots and did his required forty hours of flying at the Middle Districts Aero Club. He applied for an RNZAF short service commission in March 1939 but did not report to the Ground Training School at Rongotai until 20th September in the last intake of the short service scheme. On 24th October Orgias went to No. 1 FTS Wigram. He was awarded his flying badge in January 1940 and sailed for the UK in early March on the SS Remuera.
On arrival at the RAF Depot at Uxbridge on 13th April Orgias relinquished his RNZAF commission and transferred to the RAF. He was posted to 5 OTU, Aston Down on 5th May 1940 and converted to Blenheims, joining 23 Squadron at Collyweston on 12th June.
By September the squadron had moved to Middle Wallop. On the 25th Orgias was flying a night patrol in Blenheim L8639, crewed with Sgt. LR Karasek and gunner AC2 RI Payne. He reported a rough-running engine and his intention to return to Middle Wallop. On the approach, with flaps and undercarriage lowered, the aircraft stalled and crashed at Broughton, south of the airfield. All three crew were killed.
The post-crash report said:
........ From the trail of evidence on the ground - namely a battered cylinder, then a frayed steel cable, and finally the crashed engine with these items missing - we came to the conclusion that for some reason the bolts holding the top cylinder of the radial Mercury engine had become lose. Then the pounding of the piston in the loose cylinder eventually broke the steel cable at the front of the motor allowing the huge top and bottom cowlings to open out suddenly forming an overpowering brake on one side of the aircraft, altogether beyond the control of the pilot. The cowlings of the Mercury were held on by steel cables clamped tightly around at the front and the rear of the motor.
Orgias is buried in Over Wallop churchyard.