485 (NZ) Squadron R.A.F.

The New Zealand
Spitfire squadron.

This special page has been compiled as a tribute to all those members of 485 (NZ) Squadron,
pilots and ground-crew, those with us still and those no longer.

It is not our intention to present the complete history of the squadron on this site
as it is already so well covered in author
Kevin Wells' memorable book,
but to add a little reflective epilogue, a little follow-up...

We wish to thank Kevin for permission to use extracts from his book as a 'jumping off' point,
then onto the post-war years with some of the personnel and personal links that have
continued with all the members over the years since those dark days of World War Two.

As we are covering Hawke's Bay aviation in general, a good place to start the HB connection with 485 is conveniently in Dannevirke, home of 485's first commanding officer.

Squadron Leader M.W.B. Knight D.F.C. served as Commanding Officer
from March 1941 to July 1941, and went on to fill major administrative posts
in the UK and Middle East. He returned to Dannevirke at the end of WW2.

Other Hawke's Bay pilots who served with 485 at some time were...
SGT Thomas W.T. Denholm -NZ415687 RNZAF
When seperated from his squadron, while escorting a Ventura Squadron (487)
on a railway yards raid at Caaen 18th April 1943, was shot down.
Reported missing...later, confirmed dead. He was aged 22, on his 26th Op.
Buried at Douvres - Delivrande, north of Caaen, France.

P/O J.R.Falls - who was taken prisoner off the French coast May 1942,
after bailing out from his aircraft with an engine fire.
A POW until the German surrender 1945. A sharebroker in Hawkes Bay after WW2.

F/O N.E. Frehner - another spitfire with engine failure due to fire.
Bailed out near Dungeness, rescued from the sea uninjured.
Crashed again off the end of runway with engine cut-out on takeoff.
A chartered accountant in Hawkes Bay after the war.

Wing/Cmdr R.J.C. Grant DFC DFM (From Woodville)
He was CO of 485 from May 1942 to January 1943 and had the
sad experience of seeing his brother, Ian, shot down and killed by a FW190.
He then managed to shoot down the FW190 responsible.
Reg Grant was later killed on ops 28th.Feb.1944.

F/L J.J. Palmer - used his 'chute' with engine fire, after chasing off a JU88
which had lined-up to bomb a fleet of minesweepers.
April 1942 - 'jumped' from behind by two ME109s on his tail..
POW until end of hostilities in Europe 1945. Returned to farming in Hawkes Bay.

F/LT A.R.Robson D.F.M.- Was with 485 from 1941 until he was forced-down
with a possible hit from a FW190 in a 'dogfight' near Boulogne in February 1943.
A POW until end of war. Returned to farming in NZ.

F/LT M.G. Sutherland - On August 22nd 1943, 485 and 341 squadrons
were involved in a battle with fifty to sixty enemy aircraft.
F/LT Sutherland was among four NZ pilots shot down that day by FW190s
and was taken prisoner until the end of war in Europe.
An accountant in Hawkes Bay after the war.

From the appointment of S/Ldr M.W.B. Knight, 485 had nine commanding officers -
S/Leaders Wells, Grant, Baker, Checketts, Hume, Niven, Pattison, MacDonald.
The last being S/Ldr S.F. Browne from June to August 1945.
As we are covering Hawkes Bay's 485 members, we come to two of Waipawa's lads:
John Pattison and Max Collett.
S/LDR John G. Pattison
The Hawkes Bay Aviation Heritage members congratulate our Patron
Squadron Leader John G. Pattison D.S.O. D.F.C. on his investure of France's highest honour:
The Legion of d'Honneur by the President of France,
Jacques Chirac on 6th. June 2004
at the ceremony commemorating the D-Day landings at Normandy 1944.

F/OFFICER Max Collett

485 Squadron SPITFIRE OU-U June 1994
Two Mk IX Spitfires flown by 485 Squadron RNZAF still exist and are
true historic D-Day veterans. They have been fully restored and remain
airworthy. MK 732 in the photo flew with the Royal Netherlands Air Force
post-WW2, and is now owned and operated by the Dutch Spitfire Flight.
It usually wears Dutch markings, but in 1994, to mark the 50th Anniversary
of the D-Day invasion, was painted in original 1944 markings as
Plt.Off. HWB Patterson's Baby Bea V OU-U of 485 Squadron.
ML 407 OU-V is another 485 Squadron Spit still flying in its original markings with owner,
Caroline Grace, in England. On D-Day its pilot claimed the first allied 'kill' after the invasion started.
Minutes later, the pilot of OU-U, flying in the same section, shared the second.
The story of ML 407 OU-V is quite remarkable - we'll add it to this section later.

If you can provide some info re any 485 Squadron personnel, please contact us.

Beautifully-restored Spitfire with 485 Squadron markings.
Owner Nick Grace in the cockpit - 'ready to roll' - the first time since WW2
a Spit had been on the airfield at Duxford. Photo taken in 1988.
Nick Grace restored this Spitfire from "boxes of parts"
to the flying condition it still remains to this day...and
making many appearances at airshows in the UK.

Sadly, Nick was killed in a motor accident.
His wife, Caroline Grace, is now the pilot.