Service Number: NZ4314342
RNZAF Trade: Pilot under training, then RNZAF Marine Section
Date of Enlistment: 1943
Rank Achieved:
Date of Demobilisation: 1945
Flying Hours:
Operational Sorties: Nil

Date of Birth: circa 1923
Personal Details:
John was married to Ngaire Tunnicliff, and they had two daughters, Anne (later Mrs Kevin Murfitt) and Clair (later Mrs Phillip Scadden). He was the grandfather of Suzanne, Michelle and Rachael Murfitt, and Matthew Scadden.

He was admitted to Foxton District High School on the 3rd of June 1940, but where he'd gone to school before this is unknown. John also studied for a year at Dental School before joining the RNZAF in 1943.

Following his RNZAF service John began training to become a teacher in 1945, and it seems he taught in Cambridge from sometime in the 1960's till his retirement in 1983.

John and Ngaire were both heavily involved in Cambridge community activities and groups. They were deeply involved with the consumers advice section of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Cambridge, Hamilton and Frankton. On the 23rd of October 1990 the pair were awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal by Minister of Consumer Afairs, Margaret Shields. John served with the CAB from 1983 till 1998.

In November 2003 John and Ngaire also became the first ever joint recipients of the Community Service Award, presented to them by the Cambridge Community Board.

John worked tirelessly co-ordinating the Cambridge Emergency Food Bank that was set up to deal with the families laid off when Cambridge's Weddell Crown meatworks was shut down suddenly, and he worked for many years with the Cambridge Social Services Foodbank. From 1983 till his death John was a member of the Social Services Committee. And he also served on the Community Health Advisory Group in the 1980's.

John was one of Cambridge's first Victim Support volunteers when that organisation was set up, and he and Ngaire became Life Members of that organisation in recognition for their work in that area.

From 2000 till 2003 John was the Cambridge representative of the Community Organisations Grants Scheme Committee which gave monetary grants to non-profit organisations.

John was also a collector of gekko lizards.

Service Details: Following a stint in the Army (probably with the territorials), and then a year at Dental School, John joined the RNZAF in 1943 as an Airman Pilot (Under Training). He was learning to fly the de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moths at No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School, RNZAF Station Taieri, near Dunedin. However it seems he may have been chopped from his flying training for some reason because by 1944 he had remustered to a role in the RNZAF Marine Section.

John trained at RNZAF Station Hobsonville and probably also RNZAF Mechanics Bay with the Marine Section - which had a small flotilla of water craft used to tender and maintain the flying boats on the water. Once trained up he was posted to Florida Island, in the Solomon Islands, to work there with the Marine Section alongside the Consolidated PBY-5a Catalinas.

Date of Death: 20th of November 2003, at Waikato Hospital, suddenly, aged 80
Ashes Scattered: Unknown (following a funeral at St Andrew's Anglican Church, Cambridge, then a private cremation)

Connection with Cambridge: John moved to Cambridge postwar and became a well known member of the community

Thanks To: Errol Martyn, and Chelsea Tairi at the Cambridge Museum, for their assistance in compiling this page. The images come from John's "Cambridge Edition" newspaper obituary which was published on the 3rd of December 2003


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