James Alexander Pedersen
Son of Albert Pedersen, and of Elizabeth Margaret Pedersen (nee Mooney), of Broad Bay, Dunedin.
26 October 1944 - Four members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force lost their lives when an R.N.Z.A.F. Ventura bomber aircraft on a cross-country flight crashed about four miles north-east of Whenuapai. A fifth member of the crew received serious burns and was removed to station sick quarters at Whenuapai. The men were:
Flight Sergeant Edward Thomas BRIGHTWELL, pilot (wife, Mrs A R Brightwell, Turongo Street, Otorohanga).
Flight Sergeant James Alexander PEDERSEN, navigator (mother, Mrs A Pedersen, Mt. Cargill, Dunedin).
Sergeant Russell Trevor ROBBIE, air gunner (mother, Mrs W E Robbie, No. 3 Line, Wanganui)
Sergeant Harold Edwin MAUGER, air gunner (wife, Mrs P L Mauger, 330 Riverlaw Terrace, Christchurch).
INJURED. Flight Sergeant Archibald Malcolm Charles ALEXANDER, wireless operator air gunner (mother, Mrs M H Alexander, 91 Garlands Road, Hillsborough, Christchurch). Condition serious. [Died 28 October 1944 from injuries received.]
Flight Sergeant Brightwell was farming on his own account at Otorohanga before he enlisted in the Army. He joined the R.N.Z.A.F. in January, 1943. He was 29 years of age. His secondary education was obtained at the Palmerston North Boys' High School and the Woodville District High School. He served in the Pacific war theatre. Flight Sergeant Pedersen, who was born in Dunedin in 1923, joined the R.N.Z.A.F. Reserve in August, 1941. He was transferred from the Army to the Air Force in July, 1942, and his training as an observer was completed in Canada. He had completed one tour of duty in the Pacific. In civil life Flight Sergeant Pedersen was a dairy assistant. Sergeant Robbie joined the R.N.Z.A.F. in June 1943, on transfer from the Army. He was 20 years of age, and before entering military service was engaged in farming. His secondary education was obtained at the Wanganui Collegiate School. After home service in the Army, Sergeant Mauger entered the R.N.Z.A.F. in August, 1943, and was trained as an air gunner. He was born in 1917, and was a mechanic by occupation. He was a well-known wrestler and won a South Island bantamweight championship.
Source: Evening Post, Volume CXXXVIII, Issue 102, 27 October 1944, Page 6 and Auckland Star, Volume LXXV, Issue 256, 28 October 1944, Page 6
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Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum