My Uncle John grew up working for his Dad clearing the bush clad Bombay Hills of scrub and gorse. This was during the early 1940s so there were always Air Force planes buzzing overhead as they traveled to and from Ardmore on training flights.
With nothing much else going on, Uncle John decided he would rather be an Air Force Pilot than a scrub cutter. So he applied for the New Zealand Air Force and was promptly turned down. Then he applied for the Australian Air Force and was turned down again. But rather than give up he said “Bugger these useless bastards, I’ll try my hand with the Poms”
So he hitched a ride to Auckland , got on a freight ship to Europe and, due to some miscommunication, found himself stranded in northeast Italy. Luckily a couple of nuns from a local convent took him in for a few days, and then with no other options he stuck out a thumb and hitched to England where he applied and eventually got in to the RAF.
Fast forward a few years and Uncle John was an RAF Fighter Pilot for 66 Squ6adron at Linton on Ouse, flying Sabres and Hawker Hunters. He flew jet fighters in combat all over the world.
After retiring from the Air Force he became a captain for Cathy Pacific who were quite keen on hiring ex-fighter pilots to fly their Jumbos into Hong Kong when you still had to dodge buildings to get to the runway.
He truly loved flying, and when he returned to New Zealand in 1982 the first thing he did was build his own plane so he could go to any fishing spot he wanted to without having to dick around on a boat.
This picture of him was taken in the Christmas Islands. He flew there, and caught this shark and GT.
I thought he looked like Roger Moore.
He was a cool guy.