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Thread: D. Hill (NZ 442717)

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    Default D. Hill (NZ 442717)

    I'm seeking information on a D. Hill of the RNZAF with service number 442717. I did look through the NZGazette but no such luck...
    Your input would be appreciated.

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    Default Re: D. Hill (NZ 442717)

    NZ442717 D. Hill enlisted as an Aircraftman 2nd Class on 28 Apr 44 in the 'trade' of Aircraftman AC (AC meaning he was enlisted for aircrew training, though how far he would have got with this is debatable, given how late in the war it was. I don't know his first name. He was not commissioned, hence no mention of him in the Gazette.

    Errol

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    Default Re: D. Hill (NZ 442717)

    Errol,

    Many thanks! I only asked because an acquitance of mine acquired a flying helmet with such a name and it was dated to 1944 with his name on it.
    Do you think he may have seen action during the war or is this unlikely?

    Regards,

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    Default Re: D. Hill (NZ 442717)

    Unlikey to have seen action, given he had enlisted so late in the war.

    Errol

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    Default Re: D. Hill (NZ 442717)

    yeoldbarn,
    Seems that David Hill (that was his name, had no others) completed his training as an Air Navigator at New Plymouth (from January 1945) and Ohakea, and was awarded his badge, and promoted to Temporary Sergeant in late May 1945, and served on 40 (Transport) Squadron for two months from July 1945 till transferred to the Reserve. Unknown if he ever served overseas, although I would have imagined he may have made an unknown number of overseas flight on the squadron's C-47s, such as Norfolk Island, Fiji, and Espiritu Santo. So he would certainly have run up some "flying" action, but as to "operations"? Depends on what you call operations, but his travels with 40 Squadron highly unlikely to have ever taken him too close to active Japanese forces (no fault of his!)
    David D

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    Default Re: D. Hill (NZ 442717)

    David,

    Amazing info! I am amazed by the expertise of the members of this honourable forum day by day!
    I supposed he ditched his pilot training for navigations, in a bid to get much of the 'war action' as possible? Does that sound likely to you, David?

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    Default Re: D. Hill (NZ 442717)

    yeoldbarn,
    Don't think the aircrew training system of WW2 worked quite like that! Remember that New Zealand (along with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom) were all signatories to the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS, original name,although later called the BCATP, for British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, especially in Canada) whereby all volunteers entered the service (generally speaking) as Aircrew, or Ground staff (latter divided into admin, technical, and various other categories). At this stage of the war (from about 1942/43 onwards), you could not specifically be accepted as a prospective pilot as such, although the recruiters would ask your preference of trade, and after general medical examinations (probably carried out in most cases prior to being accepted) and bringing the aircrew volunteers up to a minimum educational standard in sciences, maths, etc, if necessary by additional instruction, as many of these young men had never been to high school because of the Great Depression (like my father, and his older brother). Only after various other psychological and physical examinations and testing would "the powers that be" decide just what flying trade THEY THOUGHT you were best suited to, and then the decision was made. This type of generalisation of aircrew training evolved from the earlier, more specific recruitment in a number of categories, such as Pilot, Observer, Wireless Operator Air Gunner of the early war period. Later on, it was decided to simply accept all aircrew volunteers under the rather generic "PNB" category (for Pilot, Navigator, Bomber), and then wait until the system ground up the raw material, and the subsequent sifting process decided the rest. Hope this gives at least some idea of the mss-production processes of the latter WW2 period, as practiced by the British Commonwealth air forces. Incidentally the term "PNB" was not normally used by the RNZAF, as we adopted the alternative trade of "ACH Aircrew u/t (under training)", etc., but principle was identical.
    David D
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 14th October 2020 at 02:16.

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