Spitfire Square

At 11.30am on the 21.11.1967, a Bristol Freighter ZK-AYM of Straits Air Freight Express was flying over Christchurch, heading towards the airport. Aboard was the airline’s founder and General Manager Thomas O’Connell, Operations Manager, Captain Robert Hamilton, First Officer Helge Torgersen and James McLaggan.

At 11.33am, these men lost their lives as their plane crashed into Russley Golf Course. This memorial stands on the corner of Memorial Ave and Russley Road as this accident was the only fatal accident in Christchurch skies for the airline over 4 decades!Close by is a replica of a Spitfire LL XVI E TE .288 as an “A fitting memorial to those aircrew who made the supreme sacrifice in war” The real Spitfire went on display in December 1963 and remained until February 1984 when it was replaced with the replica. The real deal is now in the care of the Air Force Museum. It was gifted to Christchurch by the British Air Ministry.
*Photo taken by Annette Bulovic*

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