Eric Stuart LAW
Serial Number: NZ
RNZAF Trade: Pilot
Date of Enlistment:
Date of Demob:
Rank Achieved: Sergeant
Operational Sorties: Nil?
Date of Birth: Born on the 31st of July 1920
Personal Details: Eric was the son of Albert John Law (a bank clerk with the Bank of NSW in Cambridge) and Ivy Juanita Law. It seems the family moved to Cambridge from Bulls in the Manawatu, and Eric was educated at Cambridge Primary School.
Eric became a bank clerk like his father before him. He was the younger brother of two other Cambridge airmen, Ken Law and Donald Law.
By a strange twist of fate, on the same day that Don Law was killed in a Spitfire crash in England on the 19th of October 1941, Eric himself was also in a plane crash in Rotorua. He was a passenger in a de havilland DH60 Moth, ZK-ADW, that belonged to the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty Aero Club. The aircraft made a forced landing after the engine suddenly cut, and the pilot, H. Boucher, aimed the Moth at a vacant section across the road from the Rotorua Aerodrome on Whakarewarewa Road. However it did not reach the open land and mpacted with a low earth bank on the roadside which wrenched the undercarriage off the aeroplane, and damaged the wings.
The cause of the accident was fuel starvation after the petrol tap had inadvertantly been turned off during the walk around by the pilot, and when the reserve tank had run out of fuel no fuel could reach the engine from the main tank. Whilst Boucher was unharmed, Eric received head injuries and suffered shock. He spent several weeks in Rotorua Hospital recovering.
After brother Ken died at only 41 years old, his widow Gwen married Eric.
Service Details: Eric trained as a pilot at the Flying Training School at Wigram on Harvards, where he gained his wings in 1944. He then proceeded to No. 4 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit, at Ohakea to train as a fighter pilot, flying P-40 Kittyhawks.
Date of Death: 22nd of June 1991, aged 70
Connection with Cambridge: Eric grew up and was educated in Cambridge prewar
Waikato Independent reports that mention Eric Law
Bank clerk called in 4th ballot - 6 Aug 1941
In Christchurch taking third flying course 29 Sept 1944
Note: Thanks to Natalie Bayer for her assistance with information on Eric Law. Also a huge thank you to Pam O'Connor and her husband Neville O'Connor, for kindly supplying the following photos via Pam's mother Gwen Law, widow of Eric.
Above: Eric Law is seen here as a Leading Aircraftman on parade. He is seen fourth back on the right rank as we view the photo.
This appears to be possibly a passing out parade or some similar ceremonial parade, as quite a gathering on the sideline includes Airmen, WAAF's, WAAC's and civilians, who possibly may have been family members and friends watching their boys 'pass out'?
I am certain the location is RNZAF Station Wigram, and the large building is the Institute, which was like a town hall type structure. In the background is base housing and behind that No. 6 Hangar can be made out in the original photo.