Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 18, 2020 23:18:42 GMT 12
In this episode I sat down with Lou Larsen, the adopted son of the late Rukuhia scrap dealer Jim Larsen. The Larsen family owned the aluminium smelting business situated on the edge of former RNZAF Station Rukuhia, now Hamilton Airport, in the Waikato. Jim Larsen bought up over 500 surplus RNZAF aeroplanes – P-40 Warhawks and Kittyhawks, Corsairs, Hudsons, Venturas, Avengers, Catalinas, etc., and they were cut up and smelted to make aluminium ingots.
Lou was a child there when this began and over the twenty year period of the operation he grew up literally amongst the old aeroplanes, and got involved in the smelting process himself.
The following photos were taken by Dave Jenkinson, and were kindly supplied by Warwick Jones of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Hamilton Branch. They depict scenes at the Larsen aircraft graveyard.