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Old Recruits Celebrate NZPAF Enlistment

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release
4 November 2005

Old Recruits Celebrate New Zealand Permanent Air Force Enlistment

The seven surviving members of the original New Zealand Permanent Air Force (NZPAF) will celebrate the 69th Anniversary of their enlistment on 4 November 2005.

The NZPAF became the Royal New Zealand Air Force on 1 April 1937, following the passing of the Air Force Act.

On November 4, 1936 fifty new recruits doubled the strength of the NZPAF.

For one of the surviving members, Wing Commander (retired) John Claydon the memory of reporting for duty hasn’t faded.

“We turned up at the Trentham railway station to report for duty at the Trentham Military Camp for recruit training,” said Wing Commander Claydon

“Trentham's only vehicle was a half ton truck and all our baggage was loaded aboard. Then we formed up and marched into camp along the dusty gravel road. One of the recruits arrived by motor-cycle and he was required to march at the rear, pushing his machine.”

“We were quartered in WW1 huts, 25 to each, with folding, wooden, slatted beds and a WW1 washbasin under the bed for use in the outside open ablutions,” he said.

The planned three-month course was extended to six months while barracks at Wigram were being built.

The survivors are:

36113 Wing Commander J R Claydon. Christchurch. Pilot
36116 Wing Commander K E Fennessy. Hastings. Accountant Officer
36119 Wing Commander J Hardy. Blenheim. Engineer Officer
36123 Squadron Leader J D Hurley Auckland. Engineer Officer
36124 Wing Commander R C Jones Blenheim. Engineer Officer
36128 Warrant Officer J MacIntosh Christchurch. Engineer
36144 Flight Lieutenant K M McGill Christchurch. Equipment Officer


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