Charles Ray Jeans
Known as Ray

Serial Number: NZ391051
RNZAF Trade: Aircrafthand General Duties
Date of Enlistment: 23rd of October 1939
Date of Demob:End of 1945
Rank Achieved: Leading Aircraftsman
Flying Hours: Nil
Operational Sorties: Nil

Date of Birth: 6th of January 1921, in Cambridge at Whitiora Maternity Home
Personal Details: Son of Mr and Mrs C.R. Jeans of Richmond St , Cambridge. The Royal New Zealand Air Force came to Wilkinson's Garage at the beginning of 1939 asking for people to join up with a Reserve which would be mobilised in the event of a war, and most mechanics put their names down. When war did start Ray broke his apprenticeship, which he was half way through, and he finished the apprenticeship after the war. Two other Wilkinson's mechanics that joined the RNZAF were Frank Edwards (who was fully qualified, and went into the RNZAF in September 1939), and Arthur Clayton. Both men were killed on active service

Ray was married to Rona, and they had four children; Rod, Trish, Caro and Jenny.

Service Details: Upon joining the RNZAF very early into the war, Ray attended his Ground Training School at RNZAF Ohakea, then went to RNZAF Bell Block at New Plymouth for around 2 ½ years. This was followed by about 3 months at RNZAF Wigram, then another 3 months at Ohakea.

Ray then went to Tonga , with a stop over of about three weeks at Noumea, New Caledonia. He then moved to Guadalcanal , and onto Espiritu Santos for a month or more. Returning to New Zealand Ray spent a further 3 months at Ohakea, and then 6 months at RNZAF Station Ardmore near Auckland . He then went down to No 1 Repair Depot at RNZAF Station Rukuhia, near Hamilton, for 3 months. Ray's last posting during the war was to Bougainville , where he served about 10 months. He was here when the war finished.

During this time he worked in a variety of roles, because his trade was ACH, or Aircraft Hand (General Duties), a jack of all trades that moved about from place to place in ground maintenance roles. Therefore he initially worked in aircraft workshops, then in transport, and then he moved onto work in the armoury trade, and eventually was back working in the transport section.

Date of Death : 12th of December 2008, in Hamilton

Connection with Cambridge:Ray was born here and lived here right up till the outbreak of war, when he volunteered for the RNZAF

Thanks To: The late Ray Jeans for details, more of which will come soon

Waikato Independent reports that mention Ray Jeans
RNZAF (invited to Cambridge farewell) 16 Dec 1939
The First Echelon 11 Jan 1940
On staff at Wilkinson and Co 4 Oct 1940
Welcomed home from the pacific 6/16 June 1944
Returns Home 28 Sept 1945
Welcome Home Dance 5 Oct 1945

More Coming Soon


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