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Thread: First Mahori in RAF ?

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    Default First Mahori in RAF ?

    Hello,

    Yesterday I saw a little report at our local TV here in Polynesia about the first Mahori who went in RAF, possibily in Bomber Command .
    I just saw few minutes of it, the large subject will be presented at the FIFO in Papeete soon .
    FIFO is the presentation of films made in the Pacific, all the films are of a very good level .
    So, who could say something about this Mahori in RAF ?
    Thank for your help .

    Alain who send you all the sun from Moorea !

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    Hi Alain
    I don't if this is the one you meant but John P P Pohe was shot down on 22/23/9/41 on 51 Sqn in Halifax II,JN901. He was also known by his Maori name Porokoru Patapu. It is early enough for him to have been one of the first Maori in the RAF/VR. The details come from http://www.elsham.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/gt_esc/ which is a site devoted to the Great Escape in which he took part and, after recapture, for which he was one of the 50 who were murdered. If Errol Martyn comes on I am sure he will have the full answer to your query
    P.S The sun is proving elusive!!
    Regards
    Dick

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    Bonjour d'Ecosse oů le temps est trčs froid maintenant!

    Alain, if it is John Pohe then I have a photograph of him on my website :-) He was on the same OTU course as my grandfather in May 1941. Look on this page at the photograph taken at 10 OTU Abingdon http://www.archieraf.co.uk/archie/pilottraining.html Pohe is 2nd from left in the front row.

    Regards
    Linzee

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    Thank Linzee and Dick, it is well my man, I hope to go to the FIFO to see the report on him, it must be a production from New Zealand.
    Wait for Errol if he can tell more .

    Alain.

    PS: 30°c this morning, sun not elusive here !!

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    For what it's worth.

    My father was a Bomber Command P.O.W. During his time as a prisoner he kept a P.O.W. "Wartime Log," one of the entries by an unnamed fellow P.O.W. that I presume is in the Maori tongue is:-

    E hoa ka whawhai

    tonu aham Kia a Koe

    Ake! Ake!

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    Alain,

    I think you mean Maori, not Mahori! Info about the Pohe documentary may be found here:

    http://maoritvguide.co.nz/2008/04/21/nzraf-hero-john-pohe-in-new-documentary/

    And from Vol Two of my 'For Your Tomorrow' trilogy:

    Wed 22/Thu 23 Sep 1943
    BOMBER COMMAND
    Raid on Hannover, Germany (by 711 aircraft - 31 lost)
    51 Squadron, RAF (Snaith, Yorkshire - 4 Group)
    Halifax II JN901 - took off at 1844 and shot down by a night-fighter over Germany, the seven crew being taken prisoner. The captain later participated in the ‘Great Escape’ from Sagan’s Stalag Luft III on the night of 24/25 March 1944, but was recaptured by the Germans in the Görlitz area soon afterwards. In broad daylight on the 31st he was one of six taken from Halbau, some 40km NNE of Görlitz, to a wood close to the autobahn, where they were machine-gunned by the Gestapo. His body was later cremated at Görlitz and the ashes returned to Sagan. Along with those of the other 49 ‘escape’ victims, they were held in a communal vault in a cemetery about 500 yards from the camp. Later the remains were reinterred in a collective grave at Poznan, 40km NE of Sagan.
    Captain: NZ402894 Fg Off Porokoru Patapu POHE, mid, RNZAF - Age 28. 1158hrs. 26th op.
    A footnote entry on page 21 of Volume I of the Official History, New Zealanders in the Royal Air Force, is incorrect in stating that Pohe died on the 25th. The CWGC register gives the date as the 30th, but an inscription on the urn in which the ashes were returned from Görlitz stated the 31st as date of death. Pohe was also known by the first name of John.

    And amendment from Vol Three:

    p143-144; POHE, P P – not shot down over Germany but believed hit by flak over the target area, the port inner engine catching fire. Four of the crew baled out but Pohe then managed to extinguish the fire by putting the Halifax into a dive. With compass and wireless u/s, he headed back to England but had to ditch off the coast of France on becoming lost and low on fuel. The three crew were picked up a few days later by a German boat and made PoW. Date now corrected on CWGC register online.

    And bio from Vol Three:

    POHE, Flying Officer Porokoru Patapu (aka John), mid.
    NZ402894; b Wanganui 10 Dec 14; Te Aute Maori Coll, Pukehou (1st XI); sheep farmer - father's farm nr Taihape. NZ Army/TF (MMR) 2 yrs; RNZAF Levin/ITW as Airman Pilot u/t 1 Sep 40, 3EFTS 29 Sep 40, 2FTS 23 Nov 40, Pilots Badge [wef 18.1.41] & Sgt 1 Mar 41, att RAF & emb for UK 27 Mar 41, 3PRC 19 May 41, 10OTU (Whitley - 1 op) by 31 May 41, 51 Sqn (Whitley - 22 ops) 25 Aug 41, 24OTU (Whitley - 1 op) as instr 28 Apr 42 [att 7FIS (Oxford) 8 Jul-c.7Aug], Comm 1 May 42, 26OTU (Wellington) as instr 13 Aug 42 [att 92GIF (Wellington) for cse 6-16 May 43], crashed after engine caught fire (uninj) 13 Mar 43, 1652HCU 31 Jul 43 [cancelled?], 1663HCU (Halifax) 2 Aug 43 [att 102 Sqn (Halifax - 1 op) c.9 Aug 'for a few days' - op on 9/10 Aug], 51 Sqn (Halifax - 1 op) 21 Sep 43, dam by flak on Hannover op & ditched 22/23 Sep 43, 'rescued' & made PoW c.25 Sep 43, 'Great Escape' participant 24/25 Mar 44, recaptured, murdered by Gestapo 31 Mar 44. Cremated & ashes buried at Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery - Commonwealth Sec.9.A. coll. grave, Poland. Son of Whatarangi Ropoama & Honoria Maraea Pohe, Taihape RMD. [OHT1 (death date incorrect), OHT2, BSD & phot. TWN 8.12.43, 29.12.43 & 31.5.44].

    Max Lambert's 'Night After Night - New Zealanders with Bomber Command' also has a chapter on Pohe. My amendment was the result of research undertaken by Max.

    Errol

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    Thank you Errol for all this and sorry for putting a "H" in the name of Maori ....
    It is a very interesting story, but Pohe was he really the first Maori incorporate in RAF ?
    was there a discrimination against them at the time to go in RNZAF ?
    How many of them reach the Air Force ? Was it very difficult for them ?

    Alain.

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    Alain,

    "It is a very interesting story, but Pohe was he really the first Maori incorporate in RAF ?"
    No (at least one in First World War)

    "was there a discrimination against them at the time to go in RNZAF?"
    Not that I'm aware of but this is not an area that I have researched.

    "How many of them reach the Air Force ? Was it very difficult for them?"
    Because of large amount of intermarriage between Maori and European it would be no easy matter to ascertain such a figure. Second part of your question not researched.

    Errol

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    An interesting thread but I am rather confused.

    Alain asked "as he really the first Maori incorporate in RAF ......was there a discrimination against them at the time to go in RNZAF"

    From all the information provided by Errol, and as stated on the CWGC, he WAS in the RNZAF, NOT the RAF. As we know, many RNZAF, RAAF, RCAF etc served in RAF squadrons, whilst being members of their own respective air forces.

    So, the second part of the question does seem rather confusing. Am I missing something?

    Another Maori did experience racism, but not from the RNZAF or the RAF, but from the colonials in India. Vigors, in "Life's Too Short to Cry", describes how he was approached by Bert Wipiti (who he had known during the fighting over Singapore) in India for assistance for a posting to Europe because he was having a rough time. It seems that his comrades and his superiors had no problems with his ethnicity. But was discriminated when he was off duty and/or on leave, as he wasn't allowed into the many whites-only clubs and establishments frequented by his fellow fliers, just because of the colour of his skin!!

    Compare that with the recollections of someone like S/L Pujji who has often stated that he was made very welcome by the people of Britain during the war.

    A

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    Amrit,

    "From all the information provided by Errol, and as stated on the CWGC, he WAS in the RNZAF, NOT the RAF. As we know, many RNZAF, RAAF, RCAF etc served in RAF squadrons, whilst being members of their own respective air forces."

    I should have said RNZAF and attached to the RAF. (The WWI chap was in the RAF, however).

    Errol

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