The service starts at noon London time and is scheduled to take an hour. There is meant to a flypast of four Tornadoes from 617 then a poppy drop from the memorial flight Lancaster . If any one spots the service I would appreciate you recording it as many of our members are Sky less and would love to see it.
Here's a cheap advert. Many of the pictures from this month forum headers come from the NZBCA book "Kiwis Do Fly" published 2010. There's another 400 odd in the book plus, chapters from veterans, maps and lists. Forum members can purchase it from NZBCA, PO Box 317111, Hobsonville, Auckland 0664 for $30 including postage (NZ only) PM for other places. All proceeds go to the NZBCA fund for Lancaster and display maintenance.
I wanted to add a little history here, Jack Wakefield flew as the regular tail gunner in one of the most famous No. 75 (NZ) Squadron Wellingtons, AA-Y for Yorker (serial K1162) with the nose art of a soda siphon spitting bombs nose art, after he transferred from Charlie Pownall's crew (who'd finished his tour). Jack was flying with P/O Mathieson as his captain and Sgt Bob Fotheringham as 2nd pilot, and later Bob Fotheringham took over as the captain.
World War II air veterans (from left) Ernest Davenport, Harry Furner, Wally Halliwell and Harry Cammish, pay their respects at Whenuapai. Photo / Chris Gorman.
A brief ceremony in Auckland has recognised the role of World War II bomber crew members who were excluded from an official New Zealand veterans' memorial trip to London.
Seven veterans were special guests at a United Kingdom's Armed Forces Day reception at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base, Whenuapai.
Recognition of their service brought smiles to the faces of the men, now in their late 80s, as they stood and straightened their backs for the toast to the Queen.
Aucklanders Doug Williamson and Harry Cammish said they were disappointed when they were turned down for the official party of RNZAF veterans for the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial.
The unveiling was held in London at 11 o'clock last night New Zealand time and was attended by 35 RNZAF veterans.
Former RAF flight engineers Messrs Williamson and Cammish missed the New Zealand Government-sponsored trip because it was open only to RNZAF members of Bomber Command.
It cut no ice that because the RNZAF did not train flight engineers, RAF members were supplied to Kiwi bomber crews in the heavy Stirling and Lancaster aircraft.
"I was a bit browned off when I was told," said Mr Cammish. "We've been Kiwis for 50 years and I thought they could find room for half a dozen Poms in that big Air Force 757.
"But I thought, I'm 89 and have trouble sitting in a chair for some time let alone sitting in an aircraft for many hours."
Mr Williamson joined the RAF as a 19-year-old from Edinburgh and was posted to 75 (NZ) Squadron for 32 missions over Germany. In 1974 he moved to New Zealand and over the years all the three New Zealanders in his crew passed away.
"I had hoped to represent them at the memorial but I'd rather be here."
Another Aucklander, Harry Furner, an air gunner who lost an eye three days before he turned 20, said he would pay his way to London in August to see the memorial.
Representatives of the British Ministry of Defence and British High Commission invited the men to the Whenuapai reception after the British Government refused requests for trip assistance to Commonwealth residents.
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, talks to former airman Dick Lempriere of the NZRAF.
New Zealand veterans have spoken of their pride and sadness attending the unveiling of a memorial to the thousands killed during the bombing raids over Europe in World War II.
The 32-strong group, aged between 87 and 94, all served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) with Bomber Command.
They flew to London for the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in London by Queen Elizabeth.
The ceremony, in Green Park, was also attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, delegations from Canada and Australia and the thousands of other guests.
Many of the veterans had tears in their eyes as they remembered lost comrades.
The three and a half hour ceremony was wrapped up by a flypast of a Lancaster bomber and Tornado GR4s, and a poppy drop above London.
Jack (Waky) Wakefield, of Blenheim, aged 90, said: "This memorial is not for us, it's for our friends and the 55,000 who paid the supreme sacrifice, we represent them."
"What it means, apart from remembering great losses, is that one of the pleasures for me is the Queen being here. She was here during the Blitz and she was a service lady. And also the Duke of Edinburgh was on HMS Kelly and had it shot from under him. They have great knowledge of what we were doing."
Wakefield flew in a Blenheim 90 and served from 1940-44 with 75 NZ Squadron (Wellington) and 38 Squadron (Wellington) as a rear gunner.
He said he made the trip to "honour the 19 air gunners out of 23 who never returned".
He said the visit brought back memories of the extremely cold winter of 1940-41 and "the flak snaking up towards us and being held by search lights", as well as seeing "the odd aircraft exploding and burning pieces fluttering downwards".
"I remember climbing from East Anglia on the 1000 Bomber Raids. Aircraft of many types filled my heart with hope and pride. For me that was the turning point towards victory at great cost over six years."
He said the disciplines of service taught people how to support their families in an era when there was not much money around.
"What amazed me is we left New Zealand as boys and in about three months we were men in every sense. And we did the job. It's disgusting today to see 19 year olds with their cap on back to front riding a bloody skateboard."
Wakefield said the London visit had brought together the surviving veterans. "Most of us have done more talking in the last three weeks than the previous 70 years. We've been royally treated on this trip."
Wellingtonian Bruce Cunningham, 91, was a Flying officer in 514 Squadron RAF and a Lancaster pilot. He was later a prisoner of war in Sagan East Germany from 1944-1945.
He said it had been a long wait for recognition.
"This should have been done years ago, but that's life, just one of those things."
"To me the memorial recognises that freedom cost us a lot. We acknowledge that it's easy to lose. You forget the price. We take it for granted in New Zealand we can do as we want. In some countries you can't. It is a great honour to be present at the actual dedication and unveiling of the memorial to the 55,000."
Serving Squadron Leader Bryce Meredith said: "This memorial gives something there for the families of those people to go to. That's important - each one of those had mothers, fathers, cousins, aunts."
"These guys have told us stories a lot of them have never mentioned before. As the younger generation we don't know what they went through. Some of the stories are beyond belief, some came back without a scratch and some went to hell and back."
Author: Swift to the Sky – New Zealand’s Military Aviation History Author/publisher: For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 & A Passion For Flight - New Zealand aviation before the Great War. Publisher of Gp Capt C M Hanson’s By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999
A number have asked adout the blue badge worn by the veterans,. It is the official NZBCA aircrew emblem designed by Mary Denton of the RAF Heraldic Trust and approved by the RAF authority board. Only 176 have been issued to surviving WWII aircrew , and it will be a rare item in years to come. The similar badge worn by widows , friends and family but with a black field is a memorial badge in memory of those who lost their lives in service.
Excuse my ignorance if i am wrong, but the ceiling above "The sculptures of seven Bomber Command aircrew crafted by Philip Jackson was unveiled by the Queen." Is that the alloy donated by Canada of a smelted bomber? So sorry if out of line on such a solemn occasion but i vaguely remember talk the canooks donated alloy from an aircraft..(wellington?) if not the ceiling is at least very reminiscent of Welly framework so at least 1 unsung bomber is memorialized in a subtle way with the well known, (to modern generation's) like the beautiful spit stole attention from the hurricane in the Battle of Britan. No attempt to divert this momentous occasion or thread i was just curious