Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 31, 2006 23:51:18 GMT 12
I am currently reading Roy Russell's excellent book Aerial Circles - 50 Years of NZ Aviation 1935-1985 and he says that Harewood was known colloquially among the wartime RNZAF as 'Hotel Harewood', because the Station Commander, Sir Robert Clark-Hall, who was a high ranking officer in the RAF before the war (AVM) and who'd come out of retirement to run Harewood, was very rich. He'd decided that he wanted even the lowliest airmen to eat as well as the officers, so he subsidised the Airmen's Mess, and Roy says they had lots of rarities such as whipped cream and oranges, etc that most people couldn't get, and you wouldn't see on other stations.
Prior to this he'd gone from primitive conditions in tents at Levin to being billeted in Brents Hotel at Rotorua when the ITW moved there. At Brents, they have luxurious rooms, showers nextdoor to their rooms, maids cleaning for them, real chefs and all the rest. It's amazing the contrasts of war sometimes.