Kenneth Charles WARD
Known as Ken
Serial Number: NZD2842 (while rating, before being commissioned)
Fleet Air Arm Trade: Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 1941
Date of Birth: 1918,in Auckland
Personal Details: Ken was the son of Mr William J. Ward and Mrs Elfrida Isabelle Ward (nee Geary). He was the brother of fellow Cambridge airman Max Ward. The family moved to Cambridge in 1922 where Max and Ken's father established the well known Cambridge mercery and drapery business "Sayers & Ward", alongside his partner Denton Sayers.
Ken was educated at Cambridge Primary School, and then Hamilton High School. He was very good friends with another Cambridge airman, Ross Sayers, son of William Ward's business partner Denton Sayers.
Ken's nephew Bruce believes that after WWII Ken settled in Malta for some years where he was instrumental in setting up Malta Airways, and later he returned to live in London, where he eventually passed away.
Ken had a daughter Isabelle (now deceased), and a son Kenneth.
Service Details: Ken joined the Royal Navy Fleet Arm Arm in 1941. He was officially farewelled from Cambridge on the 12th of July 1941. This report on his farewell from Cambridge following his training was published in the Waikato Independent on the 14th of July 1941.
AIRMEN AND SAILOR
GATHERING AT TOWN HALL
Five Cambridge airmen and one sailor were honoured at the dance arranged by the Cambrdge Inter-Zone Patriotic Committee, and held in the Town Hall on Saturday evening.
They were Pilot-Officer C.O. Hooker, Leading Aircraftmen R.N.H. Jones, L.G. Kelly * and M.F. Dillon, Mr K.C. Ward who is joining the Fleet Air Arm, and Mr J.C. Wilson, who is entering the Navy.
On behalf of the district the Mayor, Mr Edgar James, extended to the guests his sincere appreciation of what they were about to undertake. "We cannot all go as they are going," he said, "but we must measure up to the standard by sacrifice, and prove ourselves worthy of these men."
Mr R. Newcombe, president of the Returned Soldiers' Association, wished the guests of honour the best of luck and every success.
Wallets were presented by the Mayoress, Mrs Edgar James, and Pilot Officer C.O. Hooker returned thanks on behalf of the guests.
Members of the Returned Soldiers' Association were in attendance and formed a guard of honour during the presentation ceremony.
* This and also the newspaper from the 11th of July 1941 noted the name L.G. Kelly. This was in fact Clarence Lloyd Kelly who was known as Lloyd. The others farewelled were Owen Hooker, Rex Jones, Mick Dillon and John "Dufty" Wilson
The same farewell was reported on in The New Zealand Observer dated the 23rd of July 1941, under the social page Waikato Doings. It read;
DANCE: A dance was staged recently for several lads in training for the Air Force and Fleet Air Arm. It was a truly successful affair, with presentations to each. An energetic committee was responsible for the evening's entertainment, and included Mrs R.J. Neely, Mrs G.C. Vosper, Mrs Edgar James (Mayoress), Mrs W. McLennan, Heather Pierce and Alison Mills, who was over from Hamilton and looked attractive in a frock of black ring velvet.
Ken embarked on the Dominion Monarch liner whe day after his farewell, and sailed to Britain. On arrival he and his fellow Fleet Air Arm trainees went to HMS St Vincent, a land base in Gosport, near Portsmouth in the south of England. This was the main entry point for all Fleet Air Arm aircrew members, and in this place he learned to become a sailor.
The next stage would have been onto Flying Training and as some of Ken's course, (Course No. 31) went to RAF Luton to learn to fly in Miles Magisters this is possibly where he too went to. Those on his course who went to Luton were posted later to RAF Sealand near Chester to complete initial training, as the snow. If Ken was still with this course he would have then gone to Kingston, Ontario in Canada to complete advanced training in Harvards, where he'd have gained his wings and then returned to Britain.
At that stage he'd have decided whether he wanted to fly fighters or torpedo bombers. I have no idea yet which direction he took, and which carriers and squadrons he served with. If anyone here can add more details please let me know.
Details of Death: Ken died in London, but the date is unknown
Connection with Cambridge: Ken grew up in Cambridge, and may even have been born here
Thanks to: Bruce Ward, Ken's nephew, for some of the information on this page.