Something not mentioned previously was that at early Wigram, the only people who actually had accommodation allocated to them were the CO and the groundsman/caretaker (Bill Park), both of whom had a house each, with former having the least pretentious. Everybody else travelled to and from work as they all had to find their own accommodation outside the service. Wigram in the 1920s only had about 4 to six officers, and perhaps a slightly larger number of NCOs, and less then 20 other airmen. However the "Block 7" huts were used in the summer by the Territorials (and probably at other times of the year too should special flying courses be scheduled out of the warm season). However many of the wealthier Territorials (all were officers) preferred to stay at the Bush Inn in Upper Riccarton so as to avoid the privations of those huts. I believe also that part-time mess waiters were employed for the duration of the refresher courses in the 1920s and 30s, and they possibly were housed in these huts should any be available. They only started providing proper officer and NCO accommodation seriously in the late 1930s after the Cochrane report stimulated the government to build up a proper air force worthy of the name, which also resulted in "modern" but very spartan airmen barracks (the H-blocks), plus a start was also made on providing some of the first proper MQ's at this time. However there was considerable building from about 1935 onwards, just prior to Cochrane's arrival, including the first airmen's barracks. Quite a bit of this history can be found in Bee Dawson's Wigram book, although much information can also be found in the Air Department annual reports (H-37) for the period in question. David D
This from 80 years ago in The Press, 22 February 1936
QUARTERS FOR AIR FORCE
PROVISION PLANNED AT, WIGRAM
£20,000 TO BE SPENT
Because in the past permanent members of the New Zealand Air Force have been compelled to live away from the Wigram aerodrome, the centre of their activities, the Defence Department has accepted tenders for the provision of living quarters for about 50 single men. Tenders for the work, which is estimated to cost about £20,000, have been accepted, and within six months two fine buildings will be completed on a section almost immediately opposite the main entrance to the aerodrome at Sockburn.
These two buildings will be the sleeping and living quarters, which will be linked by a covered way, and, in addition, a large new workshop is to be constructed at the aerodrome. The plans, which were shown to "The Press" yesterday, provide for buildings which will be a credit to the department. The living quarters include recreation, reading, writing, and billiards rooms, in addition to the large dining-room, and the necessary, kitchen and boiler room.
Two billiards tables will be provided, while the recreation room is 48 feet long by 25 feet wide. The reading and writing rooms together are about the same size. The kitchen will be electrified.
The sleeping quarters, which, like the living quarters, will be constructed almost entirely of wood, will be of two storeys. Two of the bedrooms are double, but the remainder are single, 10 feet by seven feet. Those measurements are of clear floor space, for capacious wardrobes and large dressing-tables will be built in. Both these buildings will be of the hipped-roof design, the only gable, and that a very small one, being over the main entrance to the living quarters.
The workshop, the estimated cost of which is £10,000, will be of design similar to the existing hangars, As yet no provision has been made for married members of the force, but it is understood that plans are being prepared for suitable quarters for them.