August 14, 2009, 10:44 am
September 29, 2021, 7:45 pm
Kiaora, I was born during 1954 in Rotorua and have remained here of late at the lovely lakeside settlement of Koutu. Ive been tracing,interviewing,compiling, researching and at times simply helping a number of WW2 veteran aircrew members of the RNZAF/RAF Fighter and Bomber Commands (mostly European, North African and Mediterranean theatres) for over a couple of decades now . My amateur part time efforts have mostly been centred around the wider Bay of Plenty area which have also led to a smaller number of 2NZEF Army veteran/family interviews, archiving ,obtaining records,medals and photos etc.My personal interest has been with the RAF Bomber Command and Pathfinder aircrew veterans from New Zealand, of which i have enjoyed some priceless moments with living vets and/or family members. We have but a handfull with us now of the original 6000 Kiwis in RAF Bomber Command (11000 aircrew total in Bomber, Fighter and Coastal Commands ) airgunners ,bomb aimers, navigators, pilots, wireless ops. and engineers remaining now, so my work has mostly ceased. 2152 (3290 kiwi aircrew total) of our Bomber boys did not survive, by percentage easily the most dangerous job our Kiwi sons carried out in WW2. 113000 combined Allied airmen flew with the RAF Bomber Command in WW2, 55000 of those perished.Interestingly a total of about 180000 Kiwi boys and 10000 girls came forward over the six year wartime period and "did their bit" mostly going into the NZ forces, but many remained keeping the home fires burning. 3700 Maori participated within the 28th (Maori) Battalion, over the course of WW2 and of cousre other Maori participated with-in ranks of the RNZAF and RNZN. I am a maternal descendant of Maori heritage (Ngati Porou ki Harataunga,ki Mataroa Hauraki) with a grandfather and grand uncle who fought in WW1 being part of the 1st Maori Contingent.. Corporal Maku Hale and his elder brother uncle (Sgt) Richard aka Eric Hale who was KIA on the Ypres saliant on 14th of August 1917 and also grandfather Maku Hale's 2 sons being my mother's brothers.. Frank and Richard Hale.. among other more distant uncles from the Harrison whanau of Waipiro Bay who fought in WW2 as members of the C Company of the 28th (Maori) Battalion of the 2nd NZEF.