Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 13, 2006 20:44:08 GMT 12
The 14th of June 1923 saw the formation of New Zealand's first Government run Air Force. The New Zealand Permanent Air Force came into being on that day, some 83 years ago.
Today no NZPAF members survive, as the force was renamed the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1934, and the oldest living RNZAF members joined in the 1936-37 period.
Also of the many and varied types the NZPAF operated over 11 years of service, I believe just one example of their planes remains extant today. This is an Avro 504K which is being restroed at Omaka by well known WWI enthusiast Stuart Tantrum.
The Avro served at Wigram from August 1925 till 1931, when it was sold at auction for 45 pounds. It became ZK-ACU. From there it had an eventful life (see Ivan's adf.serials site for full history) before being stored in a barn for 50 years! It was rescued from the New Plymouth barn in July 1986.
So there is but one tangible link to the NZPAF, apart from Wigram and Hobsonville, which will soon be no more. All the NZPAF hangars at Wigram which survived till the late 1990's are now gone too.
But we won't forget this air force, our first. We won't forget the brave men of both the NZPAF and the New Zealand Air Force (which was the forerunner to the Territorial Air Force), and their pioneering efforts that set up for the RNZAF to be born.
Happy birthday for tomorrow NZPAF, and Lest We Forget