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The Airmen's Stories - P/O C R Bush


Charles Roy Bush was born in Wellington, New Zealand on 7th February 1918. He was educated at Wellington College and then went to work for an insurance company.

Early in 1939 he applied for an RAF short service commission and was provisionally accepted.

He left New Zealand on 15th June and in late July began his flying training at 8 E&RFTS Woodley. He then went to 3 ITW at Hastings and finished his flying training at 10 FTS Dumfries.

Bush was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down on 20th April 1940, where he converted to Gladiators and then Spitfires. In mid-May he joined 615 Squadron at Abbeville and flew Gladiators on aerodrome defence until the 21st, when 615 Squadron's remaining aircraft were withdrawn to Kenley.



On 5th June Bush was posted to 242 Squadron at Biggin Hill. Three days later he flew back to France with the squadron to provide cover for the Army falling back to St. Nazaire. After several days patrolling the port, 242 Squadron was withdrawn to Coltishall on the 18th.

Operational again and led by Douglas Bader the squadron moved to Duxford at the end of August. On 7th September Bush damaged a He111 and a Me110, on the 9th he destroyed a Me110, on the 18th he got a probable Ju88 and on the 27th he destroyed a Me109.

Bush joined 258 Squadron at Drem on 5th December. On 16th June 1941 he claimed a probable Me109. He was posted to 610 Squadron at Tangmere on 19th July but moved on a month later to 41 Squadron at Merston as a Flight Commander. He destroyed a Me109 on 22nd August, shared a Hs126 on 18th September and damaged a Me109 on the 21st.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 30th September 1941).

Posted to 58 OTU Grangemouth on 22nd October, Bush was there until March 1942, when he was detached for special duties with the RNZAF. He arrived home on 13th July and was posted to the newly-formed 11 (Fighter) OTU at Ohakea. He joined 15 (Kittyhawk) Squadron in late October 1943 and went with it to New Georgia on 16th December as a Flight Commander.

Bush returned to New Zealand on 16th February 1944 and on 1st May he was given command of 21 Squadron, about to be formed at Ardmore with Corsairs. The squadron pilots flew in a transport to Santos on 19th June and received their Corsairs next day. Tour-expired, Bush returned to Whenuapai on 20th September and after a rest went to Guadalcanal for a second tour with 21 Squadron, which he finished in February 1945.

Bush returned to the UK in July and was attached to No. 1 AFDU at Andrews Field, Essex. He took part in the first Battle of Britain flypast over London on 15th September 1945.

In late March 1946 Bush transferred to the RNZAF and arrived back in New Zealand in early November. He was given command of the Communications Flight at Ohakea.

On 30th November 1948 Bush was carrying out a photographic reconnaissance of the Gisborne area in Airspeed Oxford I NZ2127. He landed at Napier, took off again for Ohakea but never arrived. The crashed aircraft was finally located in the Ruahine Range.

It had broken up in extreme turbulence.

Bush, the navigator HGF Rennie and the photographer RG Roper were all killed.


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