Topic: Basil Alexander Walker (1919-1941)
Basil Alexander Walker was serving during World War II when his Wellington aircraft crashed in the Western Desert on 5 May 1941. All the crew were killed. Much of the following story appears to have been written by his mother and is part of his Military File. Photos courtesy of Darren Walker, military file courtesy of David Luke.
Basil Walker was born at Christchurch on the 16th October, 1919. He received his secondary education at the Napier Boys’ High School, reaching Matriculation standard. He played football for his school and afterwards for the High School Old Boys’ Club; also taking part in tennis, rowing and swimming. After leaving school in 1935 he accepted employment with the National Tobacco Co. Ltd. at Napier, and was still employed there at the time of enrolling in the Civil Reserve of Pilots, in February 1939, but had not commenced flying training on the outbreak of war.
Sergeant Walker was mobilised on 12th March 1940, at the Initial Training Wing, Levin, and proceeded on the 8th of April to No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School, New Plymouth, to commence his flying training, then on the 3rd of June to No. 2 Service Flying Training School, Blenheim. Here on the 2nd of August he was awarded the flying badge and promoted to Sergeant on the 21st of September, afterwards embarking on the 6th of October by the “Mataroa” for the United Kingdom.
Sergeant Walter arrived at No. 1 Depot, Uxbridge, Middlesex, on the 30th November and proceeded on the 3rd of December to No. 20 Operational Training Unit, Lessiemouth, Scotland, where he crewed up and completed his training as pilot of Wellington bomber aircraft, before posting on the 13th of February 1941 to No. 75 (N.Z.) Squadron at Feltwell, Norfolk. From this base as second pilot of Wellington aircraft he took part in four operational flights to targets at Cologne, Bremen and Hamburg in Germany and Boulogne in France. Early in April he proceeded to No. 3 Group, Overseas Training Flight in Stradishall, Suffolk, and on the 8th of the month flew by Wellington aircraft over France to Malta and the next day to Abu Sueir in Egypt, joining No. 38 Squadron at Shallufa on the 19th of the same month.
On his first operational flight as second pilot of Wellington aircraft against a target at Benina in the Western Desert on the 5th of May, the aircraft crashed at El Gasaba on return and all the crew, including Sergeant Walker, lost their lives. He was buried in the El Alamein Military Cemetery.
286 hours as Pilot
Written by Sergeant Walkers mother, Mrs K.A. Walker. Filed 29 March 1949.
Cenotaph Database (Auckland War Memorial Museum).
Darren Walker (personal communication, 2016).
David Luke (personal communication, 2016).
Military Personnel File (Archives New Zealand).