David, Son of Harry Yates in a very generous and noble act has passed to me the above photograph of Inia ‘Mac’ Makka. Mac was Harry’s Air Bomber throughout their tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF during the second half of 1944.
The photograph of Mac is almost A4 in size (10 x 8 old money) and is original, still being in the card folder that it was first mounted in. On the outside cover of the mount is the name of the photographic studio – “Du Barry Studios” – this is obviously a very good quality, posed studio portrait.
David believes that the photograph was sent to his Father at the time he was researching his book ‘Luck and a Lancaster’, probably by Mac’s wife June. David discovered it in a folder of photographs that had been sent to Airlife Publishing for the book. Unused in the book, it remained in the folder with the other images, until it’s recent discovery by David.
David’s wish is that, if possible, Mac’s portrait should be returned to his descendants. As he says in the letter accompanying the portrait:
“If one of the Maaka family comes forward, having seen your post, or perhaps someone connected to the old 75 grapevine in NZ knows the whereabouts of one of Mac and June’s children, then it would be a service to Mac’s memory to have the portrait placed in their hands.
My Dad would have wanted that too…..”
So, please blog readers – put out this request and lets collectively cross our fingers that a descendant of Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka can be found – as I soon as I hear from them, we can return this wonderful portrait to them.
I’ll finish with Harry’s memory of his dear comrade ‘Mac’ Maaka:
“As he talked, my impressions of him became ever more favourable. No Englishman I’d met was so sincere and guileless about himself. Mac was simply a stranger to the inner tensions and vanities that make liars of the rest of us. He was mightily proud of his people who, I thought, must be formidable opponents in war if they were all like this chap. I began to see in him a military paragon. He had the heart of a lion. I don’t think he was afraid of anything or any man. He had no need to be because he was built like a bunker. I felt that his loyalty would be a rich prize, if one deserved it. He was just the sort of chap one imagines walking steadfastly into the enemy’s fire for the sake of his comrades. Well, the skies over Germany were fiery enough. Mac would be an example to us all.”