New Zealand Bomber Command Association



A Teenager’s Remarkable Return to Base

What were you capable of as a nineteen-year-old? On the night of 26 April 1943, a young Whanganui pilot Peter Buck of 75 (NZ) Sq. was fighting to bring his stricken Short Stirling back from Duisburg, Germany on three engines and lacking rudder control.

Leonard Trent VC

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest Commonwealth military decoration awarded for ‘valour in the face of the enemy.’ Three VCs were awarded to New Zealand airmen, including Leonard Trent of 487 (NZ) Sq. who was shot down over Amsterdam on Ramrod 16, in May 1943. This is his story.

A Kiwi’s Home Run

Some 10,000 airmen survived parachuting from their stricken aircraft, or even a crash only to become prisoners of war (POWs). While many tried to escape, just 33 were able to escape and avoid recapture. Sergeant-Pilot Woodroofe was the only New Zealand airman to successfully make a ‘home run’.

Britain calls for New Zealand Aircrew

As war loomed, RAF planners estimated that for each year of the war they would need around 20,000 pilots and 30,000 other crew. These numbers could not be resourced from Britain alone. So began the Empire Air Training Scheme, training aircrew from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Role of Aircrew

A Bomber Command aircrew was a well-drilled team, each with specific responsibilities but dependent on one another if their aircraft was to have any chance of reaching target, dropping its bombs and returning safely. Squadron Leader Jonathan Pote (Rtd.) outlines the different roles of a bomber’s aircrew.

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