Compiled by Richard Lindsay
411219 Flight Sergeant Douglas James Kirkland was born at Hawera, New Zealand, on 11th June 1920 and received his secondary education at Kawhai High School, later furthering his studies by attending radio engineering classes at the Seddon Memorial Technical College, Auckland. His civilian occupation was that of a radio mechanic with Radio (1936) Ltd, Auckland.
Douglas enlisted in the RNZAF in April 1940,and was selected for aircrew training on 16th February 1941 at the Initial Training Wing, Levin, and on the 29th April 1941 he embarked for Canada for training under the Empire Training Scheme.
Shortly after arrival in Canada, Kirkland was posted on the 14th May 1941 to No6 Observers School, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He proceeded on the 3rd August 1941 to No5 Bombing and Gunnery School, Dafoe, Saskatchewan where on the 15th September 1941 he was awarded his Air Observers Badge and promoted to Sergeant, meanwhile on the 15th September 1941 he was posted to No1 Air Navigation School, Rivers, Manitoba and whilst there on 1st October 1941, he was promoted to Flight Sergeant and posted to No 31 Operational Training Unit, Debert, Nova Scotia on the 27th October 1941.
On 10th December 1941, Flt Sgt Kirkland proceeded to No1 “Y” Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia to await embarkation to the United Kingdom, arriving at No3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth, on 26th December 1941,from there he was posted to No1 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit, Wigtown, Wigtonshire, Scotland on 30th January 1942.
After completing this course on 10th March 1942,he was posted to No17 Operational Training Unit, Upwood, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, where he crewed up and completed his training on Bristol Blenheim aircraft.
On the 27th May 1942,Flt Sgt Kirkland was posted to 21 Squadron, RAF Watton, Norfolk, with this squadron. Douglas carried out two night intruder sorties and one air sea rescue flight.
On the 15th October 1942,Flt Sgt Kirkland took part in a training sortie as navigator in a Lockheed Ventura Mk1 Serial No AE760, which was a replacement for the Bristol Blenheim; 547160 Flt Sgt Rees Davies Williams piloted this aircraft. At 10:45 they were on approach to RAF Bodney the aircraft spun to port, crashed and caught fire about a mile west of the airfield this occurred whilst an engine was feathered in order to carry out the single-engine approach. All three crew members perished, at this point Flt Sgt Kirkland had flown 354 flying hours.
Flt Sgt R.D.Williams is buried at Brecon Cemetry, Brecknockshire.