Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 19, 2016 20:35:34 GMT 12
Four years ago in the lead up to the first flight of Mosquito KA114 I was asked by Warren Denholm of Avspecs to track down and invite as many Mosquito aircrew and ground crew veterans as I could find for the Mosquito Honour Dinner that we held at Ardmore the night after the big airshow, 29th of September 2012. I seem to recall that in the end we had more than 30 veterans who'd flown in or maintained the de Havilland Mosquito during WWII or in the postwar period attend the airshow, and a few less who stayed around for the dinner.
I also found and invited a number of veterans to the 2013 Wings over Wairarapa Airshow to be special guests. Some of them had not made it to Ardmore for the first airshow.
Looking now at my list of veterans that I amassed at that time, in that short time since we've sadly lost a few. There are 39 names on my list in total. We have since lost Sir Richard Bolt (NZ Ferry pilot), Brian Currie (No. 75 Squadron pilot), Owen Foster (No. 487 Squadron pilot, Allan George (No. 139 PFF Squadron pilot, No. 75 Squadron pilot), Ken Lee, Ron Macfarlane (No. 75 Squadron Navigator/Bomb Aimer); Don Mackenzie (Maintenance Unit); Reg Mitchell (No. 488 (NZ) Squadron), Ron Noice (Navigator/Bomb Aimer), Jim Peters (No. 489 (NZ) Squadron); Kelvin Purdie (No. 515 Squadron Navigator); Bryce Rope (Pilot), Charles Sharp (PRU Pilot); Alan Speirs (No. 128 PFF Squadron Pilot); Harvey Sweetman (Test Pilot); Ray Tocker (Ohakea Engineer Warrant Officer); Wally Waterston (MTU) and possibly one or two others.
That is at least 17 of the Mossie veterans are no longer with us. So sad.
I looked across from Airfield Rd mid-morning, and the AVSpecs hangar doors were closed. Never mind I thought, I'll get some practice in on a nice winter's day. When I parked up on Corsair Lane, there was a Tiger Moth turning on Base. As it got closer, I noticed that it had a dark fuselage, and I realised that it didn't look like one I'd seen at Ardmore previously. Unfortunately I didn't think far enough ahead to pop along the road, so it went over my head as it landed on the grass. I kept on eye on it (ZK-AUD) as it taxied, and saw it go towards the Warbirds apron. So I drove around to De Havilland Lane, saw it over the other side, and drove around to Victa Lane to get some photos before it was put away. Then I went back to Kittyhawk Lane to see what the silver twin that I had glimpsed on the way around was!
Gavin C was getting some photos while the starboard engine was running, with the Mossie facing towards the sun (so tail towards the hangar). His are better! But it was great to see, hear, feel (a bit of propwash), and smell the Mossie.