Published by the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand
154 pages, softcover, b/w photos throughout
This is a superb record of life as an aircraft engineer before and during the war. Wally Ingham began his lifelong love affair with aircraft at RNZAF Station Wigram, in the mid-1930's as a schoolboy in a platoon of Air Cadets from Christchurch Technical College. Following these exciting Monday afternoon sessions, he soon found himself employed at the same aerodrome by the Canterbury Aero Club.
Then when war broke out in September 1939 the Aero Club was dissolved and all its equipment and staff became part of the RNZAF. With his former Aero Club colleagues, he went in October 1939 to help form the new No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School at RNZAF Bell Block, New Plymouth.
The book follows Wally's adventurous career from the carefree days of bell Block, to his training at RNZAF Station Rongotai, then his time back at Wigram working on Gordons, Oxfords and Harvards and the likes, back to Rongotai for more training, and then posting to the newly formed RNZAF Station Gisborne.
It was at Gisborne where he joined first No. 8 (GR) Squadron, and then its successor, No. 30 Squadron and Servicing Unit. The book follows his service at home and overseas with No. 30 SU as he moved up the Islands chain, servicing Avengers and Corsairs, etc.
This has to be one of the best accounts of life in the wartime RNZAF from the perspective of ground staff ever written. The story is compelling and full of information that makes the reader wish in some instances that they were there, and in other instances balk at the gravity of the war situation these young men and women found themselves in.
This book is a must read for anyone with an interest in RNZAF history, or even just aviation history. It was produced in limited numbers and will today be a rare book to track down, but very well worth the effort.