Hoturoa Arnel Dean Meyer, a Pilot with the Squadron passed away on the 6th
of December. ‘Arnie’ formed with his crew on the 11th of December
1943 at No.11 Operational Training Unit, Wescott, before arriving with 75(NZ)
Squadron on the 12th of June 1944 – completing 30 Ops, before and
without a break, continuing to complete a further 25 ops with No.7 Squadron
(Path Finder Force). During 1948 he served in Japan with the British and
Commonwealth Occupation Forces.
Hoturoa was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on the 12th of December 1944.
Arnie was a source of confusion for Chris and I when we began to research the Maori aircrew of the Squadron, some years ago. With such an obvious first name, we initially assumed that Arnie was of Maori stock, however this was quickly corrected by his Daughter Lorraine, who explained the following;
“Hoturoa Arnel Dean Meyer is not Maori. No Maori blood anywhere in his heritage.! His mother’s best friend was Tainui and asked to honour the baby inutero with a royal Maori name. Princess Te Puea was approached and gave permission for Dad to be called Hoturoa, which was a huge honour and one we have passed down to one of our sons. His heritage is Danish (his father’s side) and English/kiwi on his mother’s side).”
In 2015 he was awarded Frances highest honour of the Croix de Guerre for his participation in Operations to support the liberation of France during D-Day.