Many thanks to Dave for posting a wonderful, albeit short movie clip of Jimmy Ward V.C. talking about his award, on the 75 Squadron, RAF/ RNZAF Association Facebook page. I had no idea that such a clip existed, but I think what is truly touching is that the modesty and perhaps slight awkwardness that has often been written about James and the spotlight he fell under is shown in this short clip, after his heroic actions on the night of the 7th July 1941 after a raid on Münster.
I reproduce text from ‘New Zealanders in the Air War’, by Alan W. Mitchell, that I posted originally about James Ward’s exploits…….
The din died. The sergeant pilot threw off his nervousness, and, in a boyish voice, edged with precision, he said:
“ We’ve got here to-night a number of chaps hiding themselves in a corner who’ve done more than we’ve ever done. They’re the ground-crews who look after our kites. They don’t get anything like this. There are no V.C.’s for them, but if they didn’t do a ﬁrst-class job for us, as they all do, we wouldn’t get back. Those chaps—they keep our kites in ﬁrst-class order.”
Then, as the cheering welled out again, he slipped away to a window. He sat on the ledge, his head bowed, half smiling nervously as the cheers gave way to the singing of “ For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”
A jolly good fellow. It was an understatement. If any of those singing men had been asked at that moment what they thought of Sergeant Pilot James Allen Ward, New Zealand’s ﬁrst V.C. of this war, they would have stared and said with intensity, “ He’s a bloody ﬁne little chap. He’s got all the guts in the world.”
read the full chapter from ‘New Zealanders in the Air War’ here.