up with the RNZAF 20th. Nov. 1939.
Discharged 19th. May 1948. Airforce Reserve to
7th. July 1973.
Jim began his
training at Levin during November 1939,
continued at Bell Block, (New Plymouth),
Woodbourne, (Sth. Island).
He won his wings on the
28th. May 1940
Two months' later, he was on the way to the UK,
aboard the SS Akaroa.
joined No.40 Squadron RAF, and made his first
in a Vickers-Armstrong Wellington (MK) C1,
with a daylight pamphlet drop on Paris.
One of Jim's training
aircraft - a Vickers Vincent.
night-flying training from February 1941, Jim's
"tours" continued with night bombing raids
on Boulogne, Hanover, Berlin, Brest Harbour, Cologne,
Bremen and the U-boat manufacturing yards.
These were just some of the targets selected for 40
Squadron in 1941.
His first ex-UK stint tallied up to
Squadron was originally a Royal Flying Corps
squadron, serving on the Western Front 1916-18
Accredited with many successful operations, it
disbanded in 1919 and reformed in 1931.
It continued with various operations and a
variety of aircraft until Feb.1st.1957.
Operating MK B2 Canberras when it
The squadron moved to Malta
(Oct.1941), then on to Egypt, to Calcutta, then back to
July 12th. 1942: After a forced-landing in a Wellington,
behind enemy lines in the
Qattara Depression, (south of El Alamein), Jim became a
member of the
"late-arrivals club" after walking out from the
crash site to safety.
returned to New Zealand in March 1943,
joined 40 Squadron - RNZAF (Dakota),
where he went on to serve as Flight Commander and
Utility Flight, Guadalcanal, which became the
forward area transport flight.
A 40 Squadron transport
in civilian life, Jim retired, after service
with the Ministry of Transport Civil Aviation
Photo Right: Jim, as Deputy
Director. MOT Aviation Division.
Leader Freeman Jesse Steel passed away 12th.July 2004,
and joined up again with some of his crews.
His two surviving brothers, Sinclair and Ron, became
active members of the HB Aviation Heritage Society.