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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. D O Stanley


Douglas Owen Stanley was born at Tirau, New Zealand on 12th July 1916, the son of William John and Annie Stanley.

He learned to fly privately in 1938 and in March 1939 enrolled in the Civil Reserve of Pilots, carrying out the required training at the Waikato Aero Club, Hamilton.

At the outbreak of war, Stanley volunteered for service and reported to the Ground Training School, Weraroa on 20th October 1939. A month later he was posted to 2 EFTS, New Plymouth, moving on to 2 FTS, Woodbourne on 15th January 1940.

Awarded his flying badge on 23rd April, Stanley completed the course at the end of June and sailed for the UK in the RMS Rangitane on 12th July.



He was posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 11th September and after converting to Hurricanes he joined 151 Squadron at Wittering on the 30th.

In the evening of 26th October 1940 Stanley was one of a group of pilots practising night circuits and landings at Coleby Grange, a satellite of Digby. At 20.40 hrs he took off and crashed 500 yards beyond the windward boundary of the airfield. The Hurricane, V7434, caught fire.

Stanley was taken from the wreckage and admitted to Lincoln County Hospital, where he died the same night.

Stanley is buried in Scopwick Burial Ground, Lincolnshire.

A local remembrance of him is to be found at Achilles Point, Auckland, New Zealand. A seat there bears the inscription 'Presented to the citizens of Auckland by Private JE (Ted) Scherer in memory of his friend Sergeant Pilot Douglas O Stanley, of Matamata, who lost his life in England 26th October 1940'.

A second seat there had this inscription 'AH Scherer Esq. In fulfillment of his son's wish. Private JE (Ted) Scherer Killed in Action in Italy 10th April 1945'.



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