The War Memorial at Clydevale has a stunning view and a shockingly large number of names for such a small place - but the names are from the farming area around it as well as the village itself. One of them is unique in the many war memorials I have seen over the years, commemorating a local man who died while preparing for the war to come.
South Otago Aero Club
The executive of the South Otago Aero Club met on Monday night, the president (Mr R. R. Grigor) occupying the chair. Advice was received from the Unemployment Board that the club's application for assistance in extending the aerodrome was under consideration.
It was decided that the Department of Civil Aviation be asked to suggest plans for a hangar at the aerodrome. Arrangements were made for the executive to meet members of the Borough Council at the aerodrome to discuss proposed improvements.
The official opening of the aerodrome was tentatively arranged for early in the New Year. It was decided to seek the co-operation of the Otago Aero Club and the Defence Department in holding a pageant to mark the occasion. It was reported that all the flying pupils were making good progress, and that new pupils of a good type were enrolling for tuition. The secretary was instructed to convey the club's congratulations to Pilot A. N. Macfarlane on his appointment to the Royal Air Force. Reference was made to the departure from Balclutha of Mr R. D. Macdonald, who had been a valued member of the executive since its formation, and it was decided to forward to him a letter of appreciation. -Otago Daily Times, 11/12/1935.
Cabled advice has been received that Air Alan Macfarlane, of Clydevale, who left for England early in December, has passed his final test and will enter the Royal Air Force in March. The young aviator is a member of the Otago Aero Club, and was among the successful competitors for the Otago Daily Times Scholarship last year. He subsequently qualified for his A licence under Flight-lieutenant Olsen at Taieri. -Otago Daily Times, 2/2/1936.
DEATH OF PILOT
STRUCTURE OF PLANE BREAKS
ROYAL AIR FORCE ACCIDENT
Press Association — By Telegraph — Copyright LONDON, January 29. At the inquest into the death of Pilot-officer A. N. Macfarlane, eye-witnesses of the accident gave evidence that they saw the plane loop three times, after which they heard a crack that suggested that something had broken. Pieces dropped from the plane. Squadron-leader Tindall gave evidence that the bomber Macfarlane was using was too heavy to be looped at high speed, as there was a danger of the structure breaking. A verdict of accidental death was returned.
[A message published on Saturday stated: Saved by a parachute from hurtling to earth from a crashing aeroplane near Boston, Lincolnshire, Pilot officer A. N. Macfarlane, of the Royal Air Force, after floating four miles, lauded safely, but collapsed and died after walking a few steps. Possibly he was hit by the plane as he dived for his life.]
VICTIM A FORMER BALCLUTHA RESIDENT Pilot-officer A. N. Macfarlane was the third son of Mr and Sirs W. Macfarlane, of Rosebank, Balclutha. He was 25 years of ago, and left his father’s estate at Upper Clydevale a little over two years ago to join the Royal Air Force. After completing his period of training he was promoted to the rank of pilot-officer, and was looked upon as having a promising career before him. This is the second son that Mr and Mrs Macfarlane have lost under tragic circumstances, and much sympathy is felt for them throughout the district. -Evening Star, 31/1/1938.
NEW ZEALANDER KILLED
THIRD IN A WEEK
(From Our Own Correspondent), (By Air Mail) LONDON, Jan. 29. The third New Zealander to lose his life in an air crash in England within a week was killed at Tattershall Thorpe, near Horncastle, on January 27. He was Pilot Officer Alan Norman Macfarlane, of Clydevale, near Balclutha, Otago. Only a few days before two New Zealanders in a Royal Air Force Reserve School aeroplane were involved in a fatal collision in Hertfordshire.
Flying-officer Macfarlane, who was attached to 44 (B) Squadron, Royal Air Force, was stationed at Waddington Aerodrome, Lincolnshire. The machine in which he was flying solo was seen to be in trouble and farmers saw the pilot jump from it. His parachute appeared to catch in the fuselage but eventually he got clear. The parachute opened and he seemed to land safely. Farmers and villagers rein to the spot but found him lying on the ground. He had apparently walked a few paces after landing and then collapsed and died. He had received severe injuries to the head.
An eye witness expressed the opinion that he had been struck by part of the aeroplane as he jumped from it. The machine came down four miles away and was smashed to pieces.
Pilot-officer Macfarlane left New Zealand in November, 1935, and he entered the Royal Air Force in February of the following year. He paid a visit to London just a few days before he was killed. -Otago Daily Times, 4/3/1938.
Alan Macfarlane's last flight was in a Bristol Blenheim - a monoplane bomber which was faster than contemporary fighter planes when first designed and beginning to enter service when he joined 44 Squadron. It was a performer for its day, but not designed for aerobatics.
MACFARLANE.—In fond remembrance of our dear son. Pilot Officer A. N. Macfarlane, of No. 44 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Waddington, England. “Peace, perfect peace.” -Otago Daily Times, 27/1/1940.
The reference to a second son "lost under tragic circumstances" is intriguing. A quick search uncovered those circumstances - and they were indeed tragic.
MAN DIES FROM INJURIES
INQUEST ON VICTIM
(Special to Daily Times) BALCLUTHA, April 27. An inquest on the body of William Kingsley Macfarlane, who died in the Balclutha Hospital on Thursday morning, after being shot in the knee while deer stalking in the Blue Mountains, was held at the Balclutha Courthouse on Friday afternoon before Mr W. Kean, J.P., acting coroner, and a jury comprising Messrs S. V. White (foreman), T. Incrocci, W. Stewart, and W, Anderson. Constable Boyle conducted the inquiry on behalf of the police.
Evidence was given by Dr D. G. Radcliffe, of Balclutha, who stated that he had gone to the camp to which the deceased had been carried after the accident, and had found him to be suffering from a wound in the left leg. The main artery had been severed and the thigh bone completely shattered. After tending to the wound witness had had deceased transported to the Balclutha Hospital. He was suffering greatly from shock. He lingered until the following morning, when he died at 5 o’clock. The actual cause of death was shock, accentuated by the long interval that elapsed before he could be medically treated. The wound was consistent with that caused by a softnosed rifle bullet.
Alan Norman Macfarlane said that he had been farming at Clydevale with his brothers. During the Easter holidays it had been customary for some of them to go deer stalking in the Blue Mountains, and this year he had arranged to go with his brother “King.” Each had a .303 rifle, and they were using softnosed bullets. They were out shooting each day until the date of the accident. After breakfast on the 24th they travelled about three-quarters of a mile from camp, and then separated. They heard a stag roaring, and the deceased went after it, while witness kept straight on, and came on another stag. He waited expecting to get a shot. The stag was below witness, and moving about. Witness thought he heard a movement in the bushes, and caught sight of what he thought was the blade of antlers, and fired where he thought the stag’s body would be. Immediately his brother called out, and witness dropped his rifle and ran to him. His leg was doubled up under him. Witness examined the wound, and with his brother’s belt made a tourniquet above the wound. Witness left to go for assistance. He telephoned Balclutha for a doctor, and his brothers. Witness explained how his brother was brought in from the mountains. The scrub was thick in parts where the accident had occurred, but there were clear patches, although the visibility was not good. There were places where one could not see a deer if it was only three yards away. Witness had done a lot of shooting in the last four years. His brother must have changed his plans to be where he was when witness fired, and witness thought he must have heard the same stag that witness heard.
Evidence was also given by William Macfarlane, father of the deceased, and James Frederick Simmers, of Popotunoa, who was one of the party that carried deceased out.
The jury returned a verdict that deceased died from shock, after being accidentally shot in the leg. A rider was added commending the action of deceased’s brothers and the others who had brought him out of the mountains. The acting coroner expressed his sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.
The funeral of the deceased took place to the Balclutha cemetery to-day, the cortege including over 60 motor cars. -Otago Daily Times, 29/4/1935.