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Thread: Theo Johan Cornelis (Derrick) VARKEVISSER

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    Default Theo Johan Cornelis (Derrick) VARKEVISSER

    Varkevisser was killed in a New Zealand flying accident at New Zealand's Washdyke airfield near Timaru on 13 December 1951.

    According to a summary of his career on pages 200-203 of D. E. Drakeís self-published 1993 book, Wings Over South Canterbury, Varkevisser had arrived from Holland in April 1951 to take up his appointment with the club as flying instructor. His wife arrived in Timaru only about a fortnight before the accident. During the war he served with the RAF, training as a pilot in Britain and Canada before being posted to Bomber Command. Returning from a bombing raid his Lancaster collided with another while in a holding pattern over a cloud-obscured aerodrome and crashed. Varkevisser was the sole survivor of his crew but seriously injured. It took 18 months for him to recover fully from his injuries. After the war he returned to his homeland and served as a flying instructor with the air force until demobbed in 1948. He then did some commercial flying in the United States and Canada before returning to Holland, where he married then decided to come to New Zealand.

    Iím seeking confirmation as to where, when and with which unit the collision occurred, though I realise this may be somewhat difficult to pin down as Varkevisser quite likely flew with the RAF using a nom de guerre. Any further information about his post war service in the Netherlands and in North America would also be most welcome.

    With thanks in advance for any assistance offered.

    Errol

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    Hello Errol,

    Halifax NR278 of 1663 HCU collided with Halifax MZ561, of the same unit. Collision was on the ground

    Your man was the only crew injured on NR278. Three FFAF airmen injured on MZ561.

    Page 163 of Chorley's HCU.

    Cheers,

    Dave
    Last edited by alieneyes; 22nd January 2018 at 22:55.

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    Hello Dave,

    Many thanks indee for digging this out for me. I'd asked Bill Chorley earlier but he couldn't help me, possibly because of the misleading 'Lancaster' part of the story. Also good to learn that the crew deaths were only a rumour greatly exaggerating them!

    Cheers,
    Errol

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    Hello Errol,

    If you do "Google" there are some information if it is the right person :

    RAF 1940-1945
    P/O 184980
    It is mentioned Rhodesian Air Force

    Hope it is of some help

    Best regards from down under

    Rene

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    Hello Rene,

    184980 (as per the 1950 London Gazette entry under RAFVR) is the correct Varkevisser but I cannot see any WWII Rhodesian Air Force connection for him (seems to be a different Varkevisser).

    Cheers,
    Errol

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