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Thread: P/O Robert James Sim (New Zealander)

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    Default P/O Robert James Sim (New Zealander)

    I am doing some reaserch on the pilots who Flew the first Spitfires off the carrier HMS Eagle to Malta in 1942. He survived his tour but was killed later in 1943 off Guernsey.
    I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has background details on this pilot before and after his Malta tour. I would be particularly keen to here from member en830 who I believe has been in contact with relatives of P/O Sim, and the author Mr Errol Martyn who has written extensivly on New Zealand pilots.
    Thank you for any help you can provide

    Regards
    Paul

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    Hi Paul,

    CWGC details - http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1807149

    Name: SIM, ROBERT JAMES
    Initials: R J
    Nationality: New Zealand
    Rank: Flying Officer
    Regiment/Service: Royal New Zealand Air Force
    Unit Text: 616 Sqdn.
    Age: 23
    Date of Death: 15/06/1943
    Service No: 403995
    Additional information: Son of Peter and Lilas Sim; husband of Patricia Sim, of Mairoa, Auckland, New Zealand.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 198.
    Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

    Hope this helps for the start.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Pavel

    Can not help with search but would question the "Mairoa" there is no such place in Auckland NZ. I have lived here 40 years and never heard of it, and its not listed in any of the old publications we have either.

    Just thought it might help if anyone is searching for that name, suburbs starting with "M" are - Manukau, Manurewa, Meadowbank, Mangere if it starts with "M". Cant find any suburb that looks anything like that, perhaps it was a "house name" like "Mariners Rest".

    Regards
    Dyan

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    Dyan,

    Try this address http://www.maplandia.com/new-zealand/waikato/mairoa/

    Brian

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    Brian,
    Dyan is quite correct as Mairoa is actually approx 4hrs travel by road south of Auckland in an area known as the King Country (due to rugged terrain). This is some of the harshest farming country in the North Island of NZ. The closest main town is Te Kuiti and really it should be South Waikato/Taranaki certainly not Auckland. To put it in perspective for you, it would be like saying Ivy Church (Kent/Sussex Border close to Rye) is in London. By the way Mairoa and Ivychurch are the same size, very small, very nice but blink and you will miss them.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram
    Auckland,NZ.

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    The problem alluded to here is that in days of old in New Zealand we had something called "Provincial government" which held sway until 1876. At this time (1876) the existing provincial governments were abolished and the previously rather small central government assumed all major powers. As the "New Zealand Guide" states (I am reading the 1952 edition here!) "The central government .... delegated to various bodies, notably counties and municipalities, many of the functions previously the responsibilities of the provinces".
    The original "Auckland" province, under discussion in this thread, ran from the tip of Northland (northern-most point of mainland NZ) to a line running due East - West across the widest part of the North Island, starting on the east coast just north of the Mahia peninsula, but south of Gisborne. Thus this province was roughly 400 miles from north to south, which is rather a large area to search if you are looking for a tiny country township or settlement. It is for this reason that the original "Provincial" boundaries are not so popular these days for locating small and less significant place names. Very few New Zealanders, for instance, would think of Gisborne as being in the Auckland province, as in most guides it would be considered to be in the (North Island) "Hawkes Bay/East coast" area.
    David D

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    Default You are all correct

    Hi everyone,

    I was not trying to start the NZ Wars again!, but having had the problems of tracking relatives of a downed crew from very obscure information in the UK, my intention was to help them in what could be a fruitless task if they were looking for that particular place in Auckland region rather than the Waikato/King Country. I know from Anniversary Days (something you in UK would not understand but it is a public holiday which celebrates the granting of Provincal Status - bit like your Counties in UK and Territories in Oz) that Auckland Anniversary Day is celebrated in what we would now consider to be Northland/Hawkes Bay/BOP/King Country etc.

    Will go back in my shell - however I do know someone who I hope will be joining up on this board soon who may know something as he has had a great deal of contact with the old Spitfire pilots and their history, I will pass this on to him.

    Dyan

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    Default P/O Robert James SIM

    Thanks everone for your replies. I think the area Mairoa was possibly where his wife Patrcia was from and maybe they lived there. Does anyone have access to marriage records in NZ ?
    The Auckland War Memorial Museum website which someone kindly sent me the details of, has a photograph of him which looks as though it has been reproduced from a newspaper this states "Pilot-Officer R. J. Sim of Whanrararei, missing on operations" so possibly he was resident there before going abroad.
    The same site lists he flew for 4 squadrons. I know he flew with 249 then 185 on Malta and was with 616 when he was killed. Is there a way I can find out which squadron he was with when he presumeably came to the UK after training ?

    Regards
    Paul

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    He married Patricia Tooman in 1941 in New Zealand. If you want more info than that then I am afraid you will have to get a Marriage Certificate.

    Ken

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    Paul,

    From my trilogy 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Vol Three: Biographies & Appendices":

    SIM, Flying Officer Robert James.
    NZ403995; b Gisborne 28 Jun 19; Gisborne HS (1st XI/XV); costing clerk - Cook Hospital Board, Gisborne. RNZAF Levin/GTS as Airman Pilot u/t 26 Oct 40, 3EFTS 23 Nov 40, 1st solo 4 Dec 40, 2FTS 17 Jan 41, Pilots Badge [wef 3.3.41] & Sgt 12 Apr 41, att RAF & emb for UK 29 Apr 41, 3PRC 29 Jun 41, 58OTU (Spitfire) 14 Jul 41, 130 Sqn (Spitfire - 29 ops) 15 Sep 41, emb for Gibraltar 10 Feb 42, emb on fleet carrier HMS Eagle 23 Feb 42, flew a Spitfire off Eagle in Med to Malta & 249 Sqn (Spitfire - 9 ops) 7 Mar 42, 185 Sqn (Spitfire - 41 ops inc 1 ASR) 6 Apr 42, crewed Hudson as 2nd pilot to UK via Gibraltar 23-29 Jul 42, 2PDC 30 Jul 42, 52OTU (Spitfire) as instr 20 Aug 42, Comm 29 Oct 42, 616 Sqn (Spitfire - 18 ops) 2 May 43, kao 15 Jun 43. Runnymede Memorial - Panel 198. Son of Peter Sinclair & Lilas Catherine Sim (née McAra), Gisborne; h of Patricia Sim (née Tooman, later Murray), Mairoa. Note: credited with 3 e/a dest, 1 dam & 2 shared dam. [OHT3 & phot. TWN 18.8.43].

    Errol

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