I am sure you would all like to join me in congratulating Ron Mayhill, President of the New Zealand Bomber Command Association in his recent award of the French Legion of Honour , for is eminent merit in service to France.
As readers will probably all know Ron flew with 75(NZ) Squadron as an Air Bomber with Jake Aitken’s crew between June and August 1944. On his 26th Op Ron was temporary blinded on the run into target, but insisted that his Pilot circle and make a second run to drop their bomb load – for this Ron received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Ron was awarded his medal last Wednesday on the French frigate, the Prairial, which was docked in Auckland, by the French Ambassador to New Zealand, Florence Jeanblanc-Risler.
Also awarded was Basil Williams. Basil, who flew with 51, 431 and 432 Squadrons, RAF Bomber Command, was shot down on the 23rd September 1943 and spent 4 days adrift in the North Sea before being picked up by the German Navy. He was taken to a German prisoner of war camp, from which he was liberated at the end of the war.
The campaign to award the Legion of Honour started last year and is awarded to both military and civilian services to France. Fifteen New Zealanders have been officially decorated since then, including Pippa Doyle and Dambusters pilot Les Munro.