royal air force

Events In History



  • D-Day

    It was one of the largest amphibious landings in history. On 6 June 1944 a huge Allied military machine embarked on the invasion of German-occupied France. Thousands of New Zealand sailors and airmen were on active duty that day.

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  • Page 3 – Supporting acts

    Massive supporting actions, including a complex plan designed to fool the Germans, assisted the landings at Normandy.

  • Page 7 – New Zealanders in the air

    By 1944 more than 6000 New Zealanders were based in the United Kingdom, serving in the RAF.

  • Page 8 – The battle for Europe

    The landings on 6 June 1944 were just the first part in a sustained campaign to break the war in Europe. For months after D-Day, planes flew over European cities, and the

The Battle of Britain

  • The Battle of Britain

    2011 marks the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which was fought between July and October 1940. New Zealanders played a key role in this vital struggle, flying the Hurricanes and Spitfires of Fighter Command, or serving in other roles in the air, at sea and on the ground.

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  • Page 2 – The invasion threat

    The origins of the Battle of Britain lay in the dramatic and unexpected collapse of the Allied front in Western Europe in May-June 1940.

  • Page 3 – Opposing forces

    British preparationsSir Hugh Dowding with Battle of Britain pilotsWhile the military authorities struggled to make good post-Dunkirk deficiencies, the Royal Air Force (RAF) was

  • Page 4 – The battle: July-August

    The battle: first phaseBritish pilots 'scramble', July 1940Luftwaffe (German air force) commanders recognised that their main task was to whittle down the strength of Royal Air

  • Page 5 – The battle: September-October

    Tactical disputesPainting of Keith Park, 1940In early September 1940 Britons steeled themselves for the German invasion that now seemed imminent.

  • Page 6 – New Zealand's contribution

    New Zealanders in the battleAlan Deere's Nine Lives memoirThere were many New Zealanders among ‘the Few’ – Churchill’s grateful description of the airmen who took part in the

  • Page 7 – Aftermath

    The tollNew Zealand pilot's gravestoneBoth sides lost heavily during the Battle of Britain. More than 1700 Luftwaffe (German air force) planes were destroyed.

  • Page 8 – Kiwi stories

    Selected biographies of New Zealanders involved in the Battle of Britain.

  • Page 9 – Roll of honour

    List of New Zealand aircrew who died while serving with RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, July-October 1940. Includes link to full list of those who served.

The War in the air

  • The War in the air

    More than 800 New Zealanders served as air or ground crew in the war between 1914 and 1918, the vast majority of them in Europe. A handful saw action in Gallipoli and the Middle East.

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  • Page 2 – Early military aviation

    Military aviation began with balloons. Powered aircraft were first used for military purposes just before the outbreak of the First World War


  • Deere, Alan Christopher

    Alan Christopher Deere is possibly New Zealand’s most famous fighter pilot of the Second World War. He was also one of the luckiest – surviving several near death experiences to become one of the outstanding pilots of the Battle of Britain.

  • Clouston, Wilfrid Greville

    Wilfrid Greville Clouston was one of the first New Zealand air aces of the Second World War. He survived the Battle of Britain only to spend the majority of the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

  • Herrick, Michael James

    Michael James Herrick was one of five brothers to serve during the Second World War. He flew with distinction during the Battle of Britain and in the Pacific before being killed on air operations over Denmark.