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Coldbeck, Harry G

Stats:

rank: Squadron Leader
status: survived
airforce: RNZAF    (no: NZ405235 )
born: 1916-11-27 Christchurch New Zealand

added by: AlanBS
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Bio / Text:

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Trained at Wigram NZ
Then Canada
Posted to England
Enroute to Middle East piloting MKIV PR Spitfire AB300,via Gibraltar and Malta, he remained at Malta 1942 tasked with developing a PR capability - PR 69 squadron

152 sorties from Malta, various exploits as covered in detail in his wartime memoirs 'Maltese Spitfire'
Loved flying near Mt Etna Sicily and a few paintings by Roy Cross (an Air NZ crew member) of him flying his AB300 it in the vicinity of Mt Etna, one such image present on the cover of his book. DFC awarded 8th November 1942. Two days later Harry was shot down 10th November 1942 over Augusta harbour at 400 feet having just completed his PR work beneath low cloud ceiling, hit by Italian Navy artillery - badly injured but taken good care of by crew of the ship which shot him down with a direct hit on his plane, Harry formed what became a close life-long friendship with the captain of that vessel which landed a direct hit on his plane. Joining caterpillar and dolphin clubs at the same time
POW in Modena then after some time and accompanied by apologies he was passed to the Germans
Held in Stalag Luft 3 (during the Great Escape) then was marched around Germany with other captives as the war closed in on Germany
Post-war he was repatriated to England then left RNZAF in 1946. In the RAF 1947-1958 he was CO of Castle Bromich
airbase (service no. 59705) retired from RAF and returned to New Zealand late 1950's and settled in Auckland.
Passed away 31st May, 1998, his coffin was adorned with a model of his beloved PR Spitfire AB300 and medals incl DFC.

Squadrons:

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AirforceSqdrnDate
none provided

Aircraft:

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SerialMarkingDate
AB300 1942-09-19
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