Joseph Lewis McNAMARA

Serial Number: NZ40725
RNZAF Trade:Air Gunner
Date of Enlistment: 12th of March 1940
Rank Achieved: Sergeant
Flying Hours: Unknown
Operational Sorties: Unknown

Date of Birth:18th of August 1918, at Cambridge
Personal Details: Joseph was the son of Mr and Mrs Patrick Joseph McNamara of Arapuni. He was also the cousin of fellow Cambridge airman Brian McNamara. Joseph had attended Otorohanga District High School, and became a plasterer with H. Dean & Co. of Te Awamutu, before joining the RNZAF.

Service Details: Joseph entered the Gunnery Training School at RNZAF Station Levin on the 12th of March 1940, and progressed to No. 1 Air Observer's School at RNZAF Station Ohakea on the 8th of April 1940. Following an intensive course there he was awarded his Air Gunner's badge on the 3rd of May 1940.

He was attached to the Royal Air Force and embarked on a troopship bound for England on the 24th of May. Three days later whilst aboard the ship he was promoted to Sergeant. He arrived at No. 1 Depot on the 10th of July 1940, and was posted to No. 15 Operational Training Unit to crew up on Vickers Wellingtons on the 20th of July 1940.

On the 6th of September Joseph was posted to No. 149 Squadron, as an air gunner on Wellingtons.He was to be on a crew that ferried a Wellington from England to Egypt, leaving on the 23rd of Februrary 1941. On arrival he joined No. 148 Squadron and began to fly operationally with them.

Date of Death : 9th of April 1941, aged 22. Joseph and his crew took off from the desert strip at Kabrit designated LG213, in Vickers Wellington 1C (serial T2952, coded T), they were headed for Malta where the squadron had a detachment. Three aircraft were flying together and all are believed to have refuelled en route at the strip LG29 (Amariya). However nearing Malta, Joseph's Wellington ran out of fuel and the aircraft was forced to ditch into the sea. All six men aboard were killed and lost without trace.
Commemorated: On the Alamein Memorial

Connection with Cambridge: Joseph was born in Cambridge and lived at nearby Arapuni, otorohanga and Te Awamutu, so he undoubtedly kept in contact with the town throughout his life, having relations living in Cambridge.

Thanks To: Errol Martyn for providing information on this airman, and further details from his books For Your Tomorrow Volumes 1 to 3

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