A terrifying explosion in the middle of the night during wartime would be a cause for panic anywhere.
It woke half of Auckland just after midnight in June 1942 but there was no headline, no explanation and no one spoke of it despite worry that the Japanese had invaded.
It wasn’t until 1945 that the story of the death of 11 airmen from a plane crash became known.
Wartime censorship had done its job to keep secret that a Flying Fortress plane - the first of its kind to reach New Zealand - had crashed into a low hill on farmland at the extreme end of one of Whenuapai airport’s runway.
The plane called the Texas Tornado was in New Zealand on a secret mission. And on board has been 11 airmen, from the United States and one from France.
The plane hit so hard it knocked a house almost apart and pieces were found for miles.
Horribly, there were two immediate survivors, one man was seen dragging a comrade from the crash. He then returned to the plane for others but it burst into flames and within minutes two of the 500 pound bombs being carried exploded.
Several days later a very quiet funeral was held at Waikumete Cemetery and the men were interred on June 21, with the then Minister for Co-ordination of Defence in attendance. Army and Navy men made up a silent honour guard.
It took years before the names were mentioned, for the first time in the Auckland Star newspaper in 1945.
And the worried parents and relatives of those killed spent months trying to get confirmation of what happened.
A special part of the cemetery was set aside for them and they were reburied there until the end of the war when they were repatriated to America and buried with full military honours
They were James Bruce, Charles Brunson, Curtis Childers, John Clanton, Richard Cobb, Harry Cohn, James Herriotts/Herriotta, E Hoffman, E Hurst, J Lopez and Free French Navy liaison Jesn Gilbert/Githerd.