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Full Name
Robert Lawrence Spurdle
Rank Last Held
Pilot Officer
Robert Lawrence
Also Known As
  • Peter
  • Spud
World War II, 1939-1945
Serial No.
Date of Birth
3 March 1918
Place of Birth
Wanganui, New Zealand
Occupation before Enlistment
Next of Kin
Mr & Mrs F.M. Spurdle (parents), Wanganui, New Zealand
Marital Status
Enlistment Date
July 1939
Age on Enlistment
Body on Embarkation
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Embarkation Date
7 June 1940
Place of Embarkation
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Other Units
  • Royal Air Force, 74 Squadron
  • Royal Air Force, 91 Squadron
  • Royal Air Force, 116 Squadron
  • No. 2 Observers' Training School -(he started Camera Gun Assessing School)
  • Royal New Zealand Air Force, 16 Squadron
  • Royal Air Force, 130 Squadron
  • Royal Air Force, 80 Squadron
  • HQ 83 Group
  • 11th Armoured Division
  • Central Gunnery School
Military Training
  • Rongotai -Ground Training
  • No. 1 EFTS, Taieri
  • No. 1 FTS, Wigram
  • RAF, Uxbridge
  • No. 7 OTU, Hawarden
  • Battle of Britain
  • Pacific
Military Awards
  • Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Bar
  • 1939-45 Star (Battle of Britain clasp)
Discharge Date
18 April 1946
Last Unit Served
Royal New Zealand Air Force, 12 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre, Brighton
Reason for Discharge
To Reserve
Place of Death
New Zealand
Date of Death
Year of Death
Biographical Notes
  • Husband of Shirley
  • Educated at Wanganui Collegiate.
  • Joined RNZAF Sep 1939, transferred RAF July 1940, transferred again back to RNZAF July 1945.
  • Embarked as a Trainee Pilot, rank unknown
Postwar Occupation
Description of Image
In snow at Volkel January 1945. Image from Lee Melles collection. Caption from Sortehaug, P. (1998). p. 207. left to right, back row: Keith Alexander Smith, William Arthur Kalka, William John Campbell, Andrew Ralph Evans, Neville Joseph Powell, Brian John O Connor, Owen David Eagleson, William Alan Liddell Trott, Loyd James Appleton, Raymond Jack Danzey. Front row; Sydney john Short, Colin James McDonald, Thomas Michael Fenton, Cornelius James Sheddan, Harold Longley, Keith Frederick Thiele, Arthur Ernest Umbers, Evan Mackie, Joseph Crafts, Robert Spurdle, John Edward Wood, Ross Alexander Melles, Alan Clive Inclis, William Lister Miller.
Additional Information
  • Known as Peter by family
  • Portrait in Wynn, K. (1981).
  • The Battle of Britain: 10 July - 31 October 1940
Further References
Sources Used
  • Thompson, H. (1956). New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vols. 1-3). Wellington: Dept of Internal Affairs, War History Branch.
  • Wynn, K. (1981). A clasp for "The Few". Auckland, The Author.
  • Sortehaug, P. (1998). The wild winds : the history of number 486 RNZAF Fighter Squadron with the RAF5. Dunedin, N.Z.: The Author.
  • Evening Post (Wellington)
  • Papers Past. Digital New Zealand Newspapers.

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