Bill Jordan’s visits to 75 (NZ) Squadron – 1942

DSC_0045

– NZBCA archives, Morri Parker collection.

Another fantastic photo from the archives of the NZ Bomber Command Assn., and as a result, several more questions …!!

As a bit of background on Bill Jordan, the following from Wikipedia
Jordan served as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to London from September 1936 to 1951. For much of this time, London was New Zealand’s only diplomatic posting, and Jordan became prominent as New Zealand’s official representative overseas.

Jordan was highly regarded during the War for his loyalty to New Zealand servicemen and women, and his care for soldiers.

Jordan’s reputation among officials and Cabinet colleagues was much less warm. He frequently refused instructions from Wellington on the basis that remote officials at home could not accurately assess New Zealand’s position. Jordan was loathed by his deputies, Major General W. G. Stevens and Dick Campbell. Secretary of External Affairs Alister McIntosh had frequent difficulties with Jordan. Deputy Prime Minister Walter Nash had feuds with Jordan, stemming from Nash’s position representing the Prime Minister at international gatherings that Jordan felt was his own right to represent.

Despite this, Jordan remained a popular figure among the public in New Zealand. In 1949, with the Labour Party defeated from office, the incoming National Government decided to retain Jordan in his post, until 1951. He was knighted in 1952. He was a Christian Socialist and Methodist home missionary. He died in Auckland on 8 April 1959.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Joseph_Jordan

now over to Chris………..

This appears to be a poster or fold-out taken from a book or magazine, from the collection of Maurice Parker, Bomb Aimer for the Whitehead crew (March – September 1943).

Not only is it a nice record of the camaraderie and spirit of the time (Jordan was apparently very popular with the men), but individual faces can be clearly recognised (click the photo to see a larger version).

Two names are hand-written at the top, with arrows pointing to “Maurice C”, and “Rex”.

“Maurice C” is probably Maurice “Nick” Carter, DFC, Wireless Operator with Jack Wright’s crew. Nick is alive and well and featured in a recent news item about the remarking of the MoTaT Lancaster in Auckland:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11270114

Does anyone have any idea who “Rex” could be?

After finishing a tour of 30 op’s with 75 (NZ) Sqdn, Nick Carter went with Jack Wright to 156 (PFF) Sqdn, as did two other crew members, Raymond “Podge” Reynolds, DFC, and Charles “Charlie” Kelly, DFC. They became the famous “Thomas Frederick Duck” crew (https://75nzsquadron.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/new-zealanders-in-the-air-war-john-jack-leonard-wright-the-crew-of-thomas-frederick-duck/).

You can see Charlie Kelly in the photo above (directly above Jordan’s head, three of four back), as well as members of the Raharuhi crew, Marama Parata and Mikaere Manawaiti (far right).

The photo is credited to Sport & General, and is captioned:

“Visit by NZ High Commissioner, W.J. “Bill” Jordan, 7 August 1942. The CO, Wing Commander V. Mitchell DFC, leads the cheers. Behind Mr Jordan is Mildenhall’s Station Commander, Group Captain Wasse.”

However there is a problem with the date in the caption, as the Squadron didn’t move to Mildenhall until the 15th August 1942.

The Operational Record Book (Form 540) for 7 August does record a visit that day, but doesn’t mention Jordan:

“Visit of Air Commodore Isitt, Wing Commander Freeman DSO, DFC and bar, and the New Zealand Minister in Washington, the Hon. Mr Walter Nash. A group photograph of visitors and Squadron aircrew was taken”.
That’s definitely Jordan in the photo, not Nash, and not Isitt (the RNZAF’s head man in the UK at that time) or Freeman, so most likely the date given to the photo is incorrect, and this was a different occasion.

A Mildenhall Squadron Visit is recorded in the ORB on 9 October 1942, more likely the occasion recorded in the photograph above:  “The Right Hon Mr W.J. Jordan High Commissioner for New Zealand visited the Squadron. Photographs of aircrew personnel were taken.”

A visit, more or less around this time, is mentioned by Jack Moller in his memoirs, some time after the disastrous Hamburg raid of 28 July 1942:

“This was a balls up as we expected a saturation raid with about 600 aircraft, but for some reason all Groups except 3 Group were given a BBA (Return to Base) early on in the raid and we went in like sitting ducks. When we found out what had happened the mood on the Sqdn was quite mutinous and Bill Jordan the NZ High Commissioner was sent down from London to pacify the NZ airmen.”

Jordan visited the Squadron on several occasions – several photos survive, but in each case, dates and details are missing.

One of Jordan’s earliest visits was to Feltwell in late 1940, to “con­fer, on be­half of His Majesty, the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Medal upon Cor­po­ral C.B.G.Knight New Zealand Squadron and to meet Wing Com­man­der M.W. Buck­ley, M.B.E., with the Of­fi­cers, N.C.O’s and men of his Squadron”.

Sgt Colin Beres­ford Gra­ham Knight, DFM, a Wireless Operator, was the first mem­ber of the RN­ZAF to be dec­o­rated in the the Sec­ond World War. His DFM was gazetted in January 1940 for an incident that took place in December 1939, when he was with 99 Squadron, so it seems strange that his presentation took place only after he joined 75 (NZ) Squadron, which wasn’t until September 1940.
Was this photo taken during that visit?:

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– NZBCA archives.

Jordan later arranged for a supply of boxing gloves and rugby boots to be sent to the Squadron.

On another occasion, according to Alec Rowe, Rear Gunner with the Parker crew, Jordan came down to sort out a dispute where the NZ’ers were extremely upset over an order to relinquish their RNZAF uniforms for standard RAF issue.

This photo is said to have been taken on that occasion, some time between March and September 1941:

BillJordanVisit

– Photo from Dion Rowe, via Wings Over New Zealand forum.

Two of Jordan’s visits were said to have involved ‘mutinous’ situations, and we would love to know more about them. If anyone has more details, please let us know.

Thanks again to Peter Wheeler and the NZ Bomber Command Assn., for permission to reproduce the photos above.

2 thoughts on “Bill Jordan’s visits to 75 (NZ) Squadron – 1942

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