Flight Sergeant

Geoffrey Alan Mathias

Additional Information: 

Son of Stanley Geoffrey and Ada Agnes Mathias, of New Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

  • CWGC

Biographical Notes:

Tension and excitement in equal measure must have gripped the young Aucklander, Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Mathias, flying at night across the dark waters of the English channel at low level into enemy territory on his first air mission.

The 21-year-old didn't know it was to be his last.

In 1942, RNZAF recruit Mathias had embarked for overseas with 1300 other New Zealand troops aboard the newly converted luxury liner Dominion Monarch.

In Canada where much wartime air force training was based, Mathias learnt navigation, bombing, gunnery and air observation.

He graduated in August, transferred to 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron RAF in England and after more training was ready for his first mission. 

On 27 May 1943, the Stirling bomber with its seven-man crew, including another Kiwi, 22-year-old Flying Officer William Fitzgerald from Rotorua, took off from RAF Downham Market airfield in Norfolk for the Frisian Islands off the European coast to lay mines.

The bomber was under command of pilot 23-year-old Flight Sergeant William Mills. The islands, today a popular holiday destination, lay close to the convoy lanes from Germany.


Aircraft missing

The squadron's Operations Record Book for the night notes simply: “Three crews were briefed for operations tonight. Operation summary: The effort was mining. Aircraft U was missing. The remaining two crew reported having successfully planted 22,500 lbs of seeds in the allotted positions.” (RAF slang referred to mines as seeds and vegetables).

Mathias's parents in New Lynn were not able to be told what happened to the rookie crew and the aircraft lost without trace – possibly a night fighter had shot it down.

Mathias is commemorated on the panels of the Runnymede Memorial beside more than 20,000 air force casualties with no known grave, and on the war graves websites of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the New Zealand War Graves Trust, where there is a photo of his name on the memorial. (Terry Snow)


Public Contributions:

There are no public contributions written for this casualty

Personal Tributes:


Service Number: 
Geoffrey Alan Mathias
Flight Sergeant
Date of Birth:
Not known
Date of Enlistment:
Not known
Royal New Zealand Air Force, 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron

Casualty Details

Cause of Death:
Killed on Air Operations
Date of Death:
27 May 1943
Day of Death:
Age at Death: 

Embarkation Details

Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum


Cemetery Reference: 
Panel 199.
Cemetery Location: 
United Kingdom
Geoffrey Alan Mathias
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