Clarence Lloyd KELLY
Known to all as Lloyd

Serial Number: NZ39559
RNZAF Trade: Aircrafthand (General Duties), then Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 20th of September 1939
Rank Achieved: Sergeant
Flying Hours: 263 hours
Operational Sorties: 5 Ops

Date of Birth: Born on the 22nd of May 1921, at Cambridge
Personal Details: Lloyd was the son of Mr Clarence John Kelly and of Katherine Jessie Kelly (nee Hall), of Leamington, Cambridge. He was educated at Cambridge Primary School and Cambridge District High School. There he played rugby in the school's First XV team. Lloyd also enjoyed tennis, wrestling, rowing, boxing and athletics.

On leaving school Lloyd worked in the drapery department of the Auckland Farmers' Co-op Ltd., (better known as AFC) in Cambridge. He left this employment pre-war to join the RNZAF, having been accepted for technical training.

He was described in the newspaper as “a fine lad, and a promising athlete.” He also played rugby for Leamington Football Club, and had been a runner and a cyclist with the Cambridge Athletics Club.

Lloyd was also a member of the Cambridge Municipal Band for three years before leaving for the Air Force.

This report appeared in the Waikato Times newspaper on the 12th of September 1939:




Friends of Mr Lloyd Kelly of Leamington, gathered in the Oddfellows' Hall at Cambridge on Thursday evening to bid farewell prior to his departure to join the Air Force.

Among those present were: Mesdames C. Kelly, I. McKinnon, R. Cubis, E. Connor, W. James.

Misses I. Kelly, E. King, I. Shaw, E. Davies, D. James, B. James, M. Meanie, M. Garmonsway, B. Cubis, V. Shaw, I. McCutcheon, R. Chard, P. James, M. Chard, A. Atkins, M. James.


Service Details: Lloyd volunteered for the RNZAF in June 1939, and was enlisted on the 20th of September 1939, weeks after the outbreak of the war. He reported to RNZAF Station Ohakea to undergo ground training, and was placed into the trade of Aircrafthand (General Duties), or ACH (GD.

This unskilled role saw him working on aircraft or components doing the less skilled jobs required on a flightline on in the hangar, like refuelling, aircraft handling, marshalling, stores keeping, cleaning, generally helping the trained airmen in their work. He performed these ground duties at Ohakea for a short time and was subsequently posted to RNZAF Station Woodbourne at Blenheim, joining the Wellington General Reconnaissance Squadron, who were operational and were patrolling the Cook Straight and eastern and western approaches watching for enemy shipping or submarines.

On the 15th of March 1940, along with many men from his squadron, Lloyd was posted to RNZAF Station Whenuapai in Auckland to carry out the same role. The three General Reconnaissance squadrons had been merged into one unit, his new unit, the New Zealand General Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron flew Blackburn Baffins and latterly Vickers Vincents on seaward patrols protecting the waterways around the country, and particularly Auckland and Northland.

The NZGR Squadron became renamed No. 1 (GR) Squadron on the 1st of January 1941, but Lloyd would not be around much longer because he remustered to become a pilot and on the 19th of January 1941 he was posted to the Initial Training Wing at Levin to begin his training in all things aeronautical. He began flying training at No. 4 EFTS, Whenuapai, on the 14th of April 1941. After completing initial training at Whenuapai he spent Final Leave at home in Cambridge. He was then given an official send off with a number of other servicemen on the 12th of July 1941.

This report on his farewell from Cambridge was published in the Waikato Independent on Monday the 14th of July 1941.




Five Cambridge airmen and one sailor were honoured at the dance arranged by the Cambridge Inter-Zone Patriotic Committee, and held in the Town Hall on Saturday evening.

They were Pilot-Officer C.O. Hooker, Leading Aircraftmen R.N.H. Jones, L.G. Kelly * and M.F. Dillon, Mr K.C. Ward who is joining the Fleet Air Arm, and Mr J.C. Wilson, who is entering the Navy.

On behalf of the district the Mayor, Mr Edgar James, extended to the guests his sincere appreciation of what they were about to undertake. "We cannot all go as they are going," he said, "but we must measure up to the standard by sacrifice, and prove ourselves worthy of these men."

Mr R. Newcombe, president of the Returned Soldiers' Association, wished the guests of honour the best of luck and every success.

Wallets were presented by the Mayoress, Mrs Edgar James, and Pilot Officer C.O. Hooker returned thanks on behalf of the guests.

Members of the Returned Soldiers' Association were in attendance and formed a guard of honour during the presentation ceremony.

* This and also the newspaper from the 11th of July 1941 noted the name L.G. Kelly. This was in fact Clarence Lloyd Kelly, who was known as Lloyd.

The same farewell was reported on in The New Zealand Observer dated the 23rd of July 1941, under the social page Waikato Doings. It read;


DANCE: A dance was staged recently for several lads in training for the Air Force and Fleet Air Arm. It was a truly successful affair, with presentations to each. An energetic committee was responsible for the evening's entertainment, and included Mrs R.J. Neely, Mrs G.C. Vosper,Mrs Edgar James Mayoress), Mrs W. McLennan, Heather Pierce and Alison Mills, who was over from Hamilton and looked attractive in a frock of black ring velvet.


Lloyd embarked for Canada on the 22nd of July 1941 aboard the SS Dominion Monarch. His destination was No. 6 SFTS at Dunnville, where he completed his flying training on Course No.  36. This course began on the 25th of August 1941, and on completing it he was awarded his wings on the 7th of November 1941, and promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

On the 12th of November he proceeded to No. 1 "Y" Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia, to await embarkation on a ship to Britain. On arrival in the UK he was posted first to No. 3 Personnel Reception Area at Bournemouth, arriving there on the 1st of December 1941. He underwent a short refresher course with No. 9 Service Flying Training School at Hullavington, Wiltshire. Then he was posted onto a course at No. 59 Operational Training Unit on the 21st of February 1942. This took place at Crosby-on-Eden, and then at Longtown, both airfields being in Cumberland. He was training there in Hawker Hurricane fighters.

On completion of training he had a brief stay with No. 167 Squadron at Scorton in Yorkshire, but on only one occasion here was there any action recorded in his log book, when on the 27th of May 1942 when an entry was listed as "Scramble". All his other flights were training, up till July when he left England for the Mediterranean theatre.

Early in July he embarked on aircraft carrier HMS Eagle with No. 1235 Squadron. On the 21st of July 1942 he made a 2 hour, 45 minute flight in Spitfire VB  (EP260) from Eagle to Luqa, in Malta. In his log book Lloyd noted, "Got off carrier successfully. Good trip. Established record for trip". 

He made four more operation flights, all from Luqa, in the defence of Malta. They were as follows (with Lloyd's additional notes in quotation marks):

24th of July 1942 - Spitfire VB (EP201) - Scramble - "No. 2 to CO. Ran into Me.109s at 27,000. Saw 4 Ju.88s at 20,000".

24th of July 1942 - Spitfire VB (EP201) - Scramble - "No. 2 to CO. Saw Me.109s and R.E".

7th of August 1942 - Spitfire VB (VN) - Scramble -"No. 2 to F/O McLeod. Aircraft protection".

8th of August 1942 - Spitfire VB (VN) - Scramble - "Missing".

Note, the last 2 entries are in different handwriting and the only other flight while in Malta was a 15 minute "Ferry Job" of a Spitfire VC (EP565) from Halfar to Luqa.

Details of Death: Lloyd was killed on Saturday the 8th of August 1942 during an interception of an incoming raid. He was flying with No 1435 Squadron, RAF, operating from Luqa, on the island of Malta.

He took off in Spitfire Vb EP336 at 10:20hrs with other aircraft of the squadron. Flying as ‘Blue 2', he was shot down in the engagement with enemy fighters and crashed into the sea. An extensive search failed to find his body. Because of this he was posted missing, and later on the 18th of March 1943 the Waikato Times gazetted a casualty list that reclassified his position as “death now officially presumed”. He was aged 21

Commemorated at:   Clarence Lloyd Kelly is commemorated on Panel 5, Column 2 of the Malta Memorial.

Connection with Cambridge: A Cambridge lad born and bred till the day he joined the RNZAF

Note: I have found on numerous occasions in the Waikato Independent newspaper this airman was billed as simply L. Kelly rather than C.L. Kelly, and even as L.G. Kelly. The details for L. Kelly and L.G. Kelly match that of Lloyd so I can assume all three are one in the same man, and it was poor journalism and mix-ups due to the fact he was universally known as Lloyd.

Thanks To: A massive thank you to Stuart Russell, great-nephew of Lloyd Kelly, who has helped enormously in the research and writing of this page. Thanks also to Ivan Lindsey for details of Lloyd's Canadian training. Note: Details of this airman's death were also sourced from the excellent volumes of 'For Your Tomorrow' by Errol Martyn.


Lloyd Kelly's Flying Career in Brief

Unit Aircraft Flown Dates

No. 4 EFTS, Whenuapai

No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, Canada

No. 9 SFTS, Hullavington, England

No. 59 OTU, Crosby on Eden, England

No. 59 OTU, Longtown, England

No. 167 Sqn, Scorton, England

No. 1435 Squadron, Luqa, Malta

DH82A Tiger Moth

North American Yale, Harvard II

Miles Master I, Miles Master III



Spitfire Va, Spitfire Vb and Spitfire Vc

Spitfire Vb

14 Apr 1941 - 24 Jun 1941

25 Aug 1941 - 03 Nov 1941

02 Jan 1942 - 29 Jan 1942

21 Feb 1942 - 29 Mar 1942

01 Apr 1942 - 20 Apr 1942

01 May 1942 - 31 May 1942

21 July 1942 - 08 Aug 1942


Above: Lloyd (at the rear on the right) with his family at Raglan beach
Kindy supplied by Matt Tompsett.

A sadly scratched photo of Lloyd from his very early introduction to flying with
de havilland Moth ZK-ACK, kindly supplied by Stuart Russell

Above: A hand-coloured portrait of Lloyd during his RNZAF training
Kindy supplied by Matt Tompsett. Lloyd's cousin Debbie McCauley says this
-coloured photo used to hand in the lounge of her grandparents, Mr and Mrs Walter
George Kelly, in Matamata. It now hangs in Debbie's hallway, and she took this photo.

This photo shows Flight 4A, and I assume it was taken at RNZAF Station Levin, because
it appears that Lloyd Kelly is squatting next to Ken Law in the front row, third and second
from right respectively. From the Ken Law collection via Pam O'Connor. Below is a blow up below
from the same photo:

Above, a photo of Ken Law (left) and Lloyd Kelly (right) relaxing in a hut at Levin in January 1941. From the Ken Law collection via Pam O'Connor.



Home Airmen Roll of Honour