WONZ 182 – Bill Edhouse

Guest: William John “Bill” Edhouse, NZ426311, Air Gunner, Royal New Zealand Air Force
16th of June 1922 – 28th of March 2017

Host: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 23rd of January 2010

Released: 16th of June 2018

Duration: 1 hour 51  minutes 35 seconds

In this episode Dave Homewood interviewed the late Bill Edhouse, who was an RNZAF Air Gunner during WWII.

He served initially as a gunner in Hawker Hinds, on No. 6 (Army Cooperation) Squadron at Milson (Palmerston North), then briefly with No. 21 (Army Cooperation) Squadron at Ohakea, and finally No. 20 (Army Cooperation) Squadron at Onerahi, Whangarei.

He was then posted to No. 30 Squadron at Gisborne fora short time flying in their Vickers Vincents and Harvard, before undergoing some turret training with No. 2 Gunnery School’s Lockheed Hudsons, also at Gisborne.

Next he joined No. 1 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Whenuapai in August 1943 . With that unit in October 1943 he proceeded to the Pacific and flew a tour in Tom Mounsey’s crew on the front line from Henderson Field at Guadalcanal and also the forward strip at Munda.

He returned to New Zealand in February 1944 and was posted to No. 9 Squadron where he crewed up with another crew, led by Bert Caisley.  With them he returned to Henderson Field in June 1944 for his second tour. They soon moved up to Piva in Bougainville and flew operations through till late August 1944.

Following that second tour he returned to New Zealand where he joined No. 8 Squadron flying home duties at Whenuapai, before he then rejoined No. 6 Squadron, who were now flying Consolidated Catalina. His crew was led by S/Ldr Butcher. He returned to the Pacific with No. 6 Squadron in November 1944 and flew patrols in the Catalinas through till May 1945. From June till November 1945 he worked in the Whenuapai Control Tower before being released from the RNZAF.

Bill died in March 2017, aged 94.

Bill Edhouse, right, with Dave Homewood, on the day of the interview

A Hawker Hind in flight (Bill Edhouse’s Collection)

Above: Bill (centre) in the Pacific receiving a ration of grapefruit juice (Bill Edhouse’s Collection)

Men of No.1 (BR) Squadron meeting the Governor General of New Zealand, Marshal of the RAF Sir Cyril Newell, at Munda or Guadalcanal. Bill is centre, behind Sir Cyril. (Bill Edhouse’s Collection)

Bill next to a No. 1 (BR) Squadron Ventura (Bill Edhouse’s Collection)

The music in this episode is ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You’ by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra

Thanks to Steve and Shelley Edhouse for their assistance in making this episode.

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