Anzac Old boys - World War II


Grenville McFarland with the College Rugby team
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Three of the young men from Nelson College who lost their lives in World War II, as recorded in the Nelsonian, the Nelson College Magazine.

Pilot Officer Grenville James McFarland RAF1


Grenville James McFarland, image supplied by Gina Fletcher and Nelson College Old Boys Association

Killed on air operations 12 May 1940

"McFarland entered the school in 1933 as a Country House boy.  He passed Matriculation in 1936, and then had two years in the Sixth Form.  He first became prominent as a cricketer, playing in the 2nd XI when the first visit to Greymouth occurred in 1935.  He had three years in the 1st XI, being Vice-Captain in 1938, and a Nelson representative for two years.  He first made his mark as a fast bowler, but gradually developed into so good a bat that he scored a century in his last club match at College.  He was also a sound footballer, securing his 1st XV cap in his last year. 

His good all-round abilities and his strong character won him a House prefectship in 1936 and a school prefectship in the following year.  In 1938, on being made Head of the school, he came in to board at Fell House.  He proved an exceptionally successful Head Boy.  His sound and forceful character made him an ideal prefect, and these strong qualities in his personality were tempered by a genial good-humour and ready wit that won him easy popularity. 

He was interested in flying from an early age, and qualified for his pilot's certificate while still at school.  After leaving school he had a few months at home, and then left for England in March 1939, to take up a commission in the Air Force."

Frank Edward Creasy, image supplied by Gina Fletcher and Nelson College Old Boys Association
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Private Frank Edward Creasy 2

Son of Mrs E M Creasy, entered Nelson College in 1929, staying for four years.  During this time he was active both in and out of school and became known as a steady likeable character.  After leaving school he managed his mother's orchard at Mahana.  He enlisted in 1940 and was called up for active service in June, 1943.  He was killed by a flying fragment of shell during the attack on Cassino on 18 March 1944.  He married Miss Hazel Daly of Wellington, and leaves two little boys.

Flight Lieutenant Alan Harold Ching3

Alan ChingAlan Ching, image supplied by Gina Fletcher and Nelson College Old Boys Association
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Alan entered College in 1936 and left early in 1940, having passed Matriculation.  He was a good cricketer, being captain of the 2nd XI when he left.  After working in the State Advances Corporation for a short time, he went into camp with the 12th N.M.W.C. Regiment, from which he transferred to the Air Force.  He trained in New Zealand and Canada and, after being commissioned, served in the Central Mediterranean Forces until 1944, when he returned to England.  He lost his life while returning to rescue his pilot from a blazing plane after getting out safely himself.  He received severe burns and died after a week in hospital. 

William Ching, image supplied by Gina Fletcher and Nelson College Old Boys Association
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Flight Sergeant William Michael Ching3

William attended College form 1937 to 1941.  He had a good all-round record, for besides passing Matriculation he was a school prefect, a CSM and a member of the 1st XI.  He entered Christchurch Training College in 1942, but left at the end of the year to enter the RNZAF.  After courses at Taieri, Ohakea and Rotorua air stations, he completed his training in Canada.  On reaching England he was at first engaged on Lancasters as navigator, and then transferred to Pathfinders, taking part in 13 raids.  In December 1944 he was reported missing over Heilbronn, and his death was presumed. 

 William and Michael were brothers.


Updated: April 2020

Sources used in this story

  • Pro Patria(1940, July) The Nelsonian
  • Pro Patria (1944, July) The Nelsonian  
  • Pro Patria (1945, September) The Nelsonian

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  • Hello
    I have copied and attributed the fabulous information relating to Alan Harold CHING to his grave photos that I took in 2015 and

    It would fabulous if someone could get hold of Gina and place Alan's portrait on his Cenotaph Database record:


    Posted by Sarndra Lees, 26/11/2017 6:26pm (7 years ago)

  • Wonderful information.

    Posted by gloria sigglekow, 17/10/2016 9:36pm (8 years ago)

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