Harvey Sweetman

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Harvey Sweetman
Born(1921-10-10)10 October 1921
Auckland, New Zealand
Died15 January 2015(2015-01-15) (aged 93)
Auckland, New Zealand
AllegianceNew Zealand
Service/branchRoyal New Zealand Air Force
Years of service1940–1945
RankSquadron Leader
UnitNo. 234 Squadron
No. 485 Squadron
No. 486 Squadron
Commands heldNo. 3 Squadron (1944–45)
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross

Harvey Nelson Sweetman, DFC (10 October 1921 – 15 January 2015) was a New Zealand fighter pilot and flying ace of the Second World War. He flew with No. 486 (NZ) Squadron over Europe.

Early life[edit]

Sweetman was born on 10 October 1921 in Auckland, New Zealand, and educated at Matamata District High School in the Waikato, where he was swimming champion and captain of the 1st XI cricket team.[1]

Second World War[edit]

Sweetman enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in April 1940 and, after flight training, left New Zealand for Europe as a sergeant pilot later in the year.[1] After service with both No. 234 and No. 485 (NZ) Squadrons, he joined No. 486 (NZ) Squadron as 'B' Flight commander in March 1942. At its establishment, No. 486 Squadron was equipped with the Hawker Hurricane MkIIB, operating as a night fighter unit from Wittering. On 23/24 July, Sweetman scored the squadron's first aerial victory of the war, a Do217, which was shared with a Royal Canadian Air Force Beaufighter.

Shortly after 30 July 1942, No. 486 Squadron began re-equipping with the newly introduced Hawker Typhoon. In May 1943, Sweetman was the second No. 486 Squadron pilot to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (after Frank Murphy a week earlier). Still commanding 'B' Flight at this point, Sweetman's tally of victories stood at two aircraft destroyed and a further two shared. In July 1943 Sweetman left No. 486 to take up production testing for Hawker, returning to the squadron for a second tour to command 'A' Flight in February 1944. By this time the unit had converted to the Hawker Tempest Mk V. and from the middle of 1944 Sweetman and No. 486 Squadron became heavily involved in the campaign to protect London and southeast England from the V1 flying bomb offensive. Sweetman became a V1 ace by claiming 11 (and 1 shared) V1 flying bombs during this period. Following the loss of Squadron Leader Wigglesworth, Sweetman was given command of No. 3 Squadron in September 1944. He finished the war with a second period with Hawker as a test pilot.


After the war Sweetman returned to New Zealand and lived in retirement in Auckland. He died in January 2015 at the age of 93.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Brilliant airman". New Zealand Herald. 27 September 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  2. ^ WWII RAF squadron leader dies stuff.co.nz, 17 January 2015

External links[edit]