Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 25, 2018 20:57:33 GMT 12
Hi Phil, before WWII your grandfather was a Fitter and Turner as a civilian and in 1938 he joined the Auckland (Territorial) Squadron as a Flight Rigger. So he was working in his civilian job during the week and on weekends he would parade at RNZAF Station Hobsonville where the squadron had Vickers Vincents. His service number was NZ638010.
When the war began in September 1939, along with most men in the squadron, he was mobilised to become a full time RNZAF member, and the squadron changed its name to the Auckland (General Reconnaissance) Squadron.
There was also an Elias Stout Chegwidden, NZ639148, in the same squadron before and during the war. I assume it was Laurence's brother? Elias was an Aircraft Hand. He went on to the New Zealand General Reconnaissance Squadron at Whenuapai in March 1940, but I do not know what became of Laarence at that point.
Thanks very much for your help. I can confirm the spelling is Laurence. I have been told Elias was Laurence's brother and was killed sometime in 1944. I remember seeing a photo of Laurence in a fighter plane with all the support crew sitting on the wings, if I manage to track it down I will send it thru.
Your franfather was a Sergeant in the RNZAF, From the New Zealand Gazette of 1/11/1943 he was promoted to Temp. Pilot Officer as a Pilot. On 6/3/1944 he was promoted to Temp. Flying Officer which tends to confirm he received his "Wings" and that the photo you refer to is him as a Pilot. Presumably he was posted to the Pacific but no confirmation of that appears to be available. He was back in civillan street by 1946 and in 1949 had married and had become a teacher. He seems to drop off the Radar and it is possible he went to Samoa to live. His brother Elias was killed on a training flight in the U.K. in 1944.