Well done Dave , the setting was great and plenty of time to catch up with Forum friends . A good idea to have a gab spot in future meetings as boy can some of those guys talk , I could hardly get a few words in , as can I can really talk !!!
Amazing the drift of this thread , old airfields certainly attract plenty of attention as do submarines and spies. To add a little , Dave , the U Boat at Gisborne was in 1945 , just why they were way down here so late in the war seems a mystery. After the boat returned to Singapore the crew remained there until after VJ day. There has been a book published about this .Then theres the intriguing story of the Japanese sub calling into 90 mile beach and recorded in the book about Waipapkauri. With Kaikohe , the Aerodrome branch of the PWD undertook the extension work , the very wide main runway was to allow two landing strips side by side , and the location because it was within the safe range of heavily loaded C47s coming in from the Solomons with wounded. Like Kaitaia it never used to any extent in wartime. But looking south why was a similarly huge airfield built at Haast , and again never used . Locals there say it was to be a secret last redoubt. It must have featured high in the priority list as getting materials there involved running scows up onto the beach and being left there once unloaded. The building effort nationwide was controlled by the PWD who manpowered labour and impounded materials and equipment without notice . With Kaitaia the PWD supervisor called at the local contractors , impounded all of there equipment all timber and materials even sand , and gave the order to be up on the site at 8 am the next day. I have read that the delays in building Stoney Batter were because of cement shortages , certainly there was no allocation for any private use as defense works used it all. Imagine that type of organisation today today , Aucklands "housing shortage" would be solved in 6 months except people today wouldnt live in transit camps as they did in the late 1940s and 50s.
And back on thread , I dont know where the Corsair is .
Over the years I have seen many logbooks , some with no reference to the aircraft at all , then later in the same book , all the details , so they must have been given the word. Many pilots logs are sparse , but fighter pilots tend to add all sorts of detail especially about "duff " engines and boost . The most beautiful one I have ever seen was Artie Ashworths , copper plate script all through , even after many ops , where others carry just the bare details . Aircrew logs were meant to contain the aircraft type and serial number for every sortie with no mention of squadron code or letter number. It gets confusing in big squadrons where there are two with the same letter, making tracking of ops done by a particular airframe difficult , likewise when they come back into service after rebuild having bits of other airframes grafted in . So is it now say BF700 or EK 344 ? From memory the factory serialled the rear fuselage and the rest of the bits came along and joined in. Regardless, thank goodness we have these logbooks which are a real treasure trove of material that fleshes out the dry ORBs .
Two of the most memorable are from a pilot seeing a V2 launching from a pad in Holland and a great quote following a forced landing , out of petrol , out of height , out of airspeed , out of hope !
ROTHWELL , Geoffery DFC and Bar , LdeH , Order of Leopold , Croix de Gurre , RAF 42726 Bomber Command . Geoff passed away this morning aged 97. He joined the RAF in July 1939 as a pilot and his first ops were over France a year later. Geoff flew with 99 , 75, 218 squadrons and instructed many Kiwis at 11 OTU. His third tour was with 138 SQ SOE and he came down on his 71st op to end up a POW. Post war he remained as a flying instructor and examiner at CFS until 1951 , emigrating first to Malaya as a rubber planter then to NZ where he and fellow 75 sq flight commander Dick Broadbent ran a motel for many years. His funeral will be held in Milford Auckland later this week
Peter , regarding Matamata ,I am fairly sure that the Aerodrome Branch PWD records this as being built by the RNZAF in 1940 well before the Japs threatened . I cannot find much about its use in wartime except its runway strength wasnt high enough for B17s so wasnt used except for some training flights from Rukuhia of all places .
Errol its interesting that his logbook only records 41 ops in Africa but a check of the ORBs shows 43. He could have done more but while taking a clapped out Wellington back to Cairo he was asked " while are you still here ".His new Orders just hadnt got through to the LG. He then endured a marathon RAF , Sabenz , BOAC flight back to UK via West Africa and Portugal. He never knew why he had this special service. After a mishap outside of the Red Lion he lost his Heavy Bomber Pilot cert ( hand damage ) so was limited to target and fighter affiliation duties on Martinets at Oakley. He was posted to 692 sqn ( part of the LNSF ) specializing in " cookies ". Stephen Watts was a CO prior to Roys arrival . He always blamed the shrieking engines on the Lockheeds in Union Airways for his hearing loss , yet "merlin ear " has been recognised as a veterans complaint. His funeral is at 3 pm Friday Oct 6 at 3 pm .
MONTROWE , Roy DFC LdeH , NZ 411925 on 28/9/17 in Auckland Hospital . Roy qualified as a pilot ( surname then Momo ) and was posted to UK . Post OTU his first duty was a ferry flight with a Wellington to Egypt via Malta . With 148 sq he flew 43 ops mainly night attacks against Tobruk . He was flown back to UK and after a period at 11 OTU Oakley , he joined 692 sq on Mosquitos flying 50 ops with 4000lb cookies. Postwar he joined Union Airways then NAC flying most types , including 12500 hours on DC3s. Roy was retired at 55 from his position as a senior B737 captain but continued with charter work until failing hearing forced his final retirement with 222300 hours all up. He was an original member of NZBCA and the Wednesday Club. His ready humour and liking for a glass of wine will be really missed . Godspeed my freind.
Interesting list , I have a memory that the MOTAT example is not an RNZAF machine but a US one brought back from the Solomons and part of the complex swap over with 3009. I will have to check the data plate.
An earlier post suggested that the RNZAF recover their Corsair from the Solomons . Why not invoke the USN rule that they never passed ownership over even though the aircraft went down. What would it really take ?
Errol the lights are off as a precaution against a trace of old tip gas coming through a floor joint. MOTAT are waiting on an engineering fix for it. The missing perspex panels in the turret were out for copying to help Just Jane in UK on its rebuild to flying status. With all the work on aircraft movements the aviation team havent been able to replace them yet , likewise the repairs to the inner wing joints.
DONT FORGET , its Aviation Day at MOTAT tomorrow , the Avenger is now up alongside the FAA display and the Lanc has been moved forward to allow visitors around the tail. There will be plenty of volunteers and guides on hand . 10 till 4 Sunday.
Yes indeed Errol . And Dave the rankle still remains.I prefer the version " soldiers of the Army , sailors of the Navy and GENTLEMEN of the Air Force." A few years ago at a meeting a rather pompous Brigadier asked why our Air Force vets should be given special treatment , so I slipped that quote in. He puffed a bit so I gave him the thought that all our men were volunteers and had to pass an exam to get in . If they were dumb and failed , it was the trenches for them. He puffed quite heavily then , but as a civvie I was immune.
For the record Bunny commenced training in Canada at 1 AOS school Malton from May 11 1942 then No 2 "O" AFU Malton Oct 27 1942 11 OTU Westcott Course 63 15 Jan 1943 crewed with F/O Megginson 1657 CU Stradishall April 28 1943 15 sq Mildenhall 18 May 1943 B flight 17 ops 622 sq Mildenhall Dec 1 1943 A flight 10 ops 1653 HCU Chedburgh May 12 1944 13 OTU Dec 10 1944 ( Mosquito ) crewed with P/O Kassler 487 sq Rosieres March 7 1945 13 evening anti train patrols
Postwar Bunny flew with 75 sq on Mosquitos from March 1947 including two UK ferry flights until May 1949 when he flew on the R&D Flight from Masterton with F/L Wenden using 2504 on top dressing trials. He served with 41 squadron , later in Malaya and finally as station adjudant in Lacaula Bay. Certainly a varied service life .After the RNZAF Bunny took up commercial tomato growing in west Auckland until finally retiring . He was a founder member of the NZBCA and held many posts when the Ass had branches in most centres , national reunions and over 1000 members. Sadly most have passed on now .