The War in the air

Page 5 – Kiwi stories

Find out more about some of New Zealand's First World War airmen. Each biography links to a page with further information.

Alfred de Bathe Brandon (1883–1974)

Alfred de Bathe Brandon

Wellington lawyer Alfred de Bathe Brandon achieved fame for his attacks on German Zeppelins in the night skies over England. He was involved in the destruction of the first Zeppelin (L-15) brought down in March 1916, and helped destroy another (L-33) in September. Read more...

William Burn (1891–1915)

William Burn

William Burn was the first New Zealand Army man to qualify as a military aviator. Seconded to the Royal Flying Corps, he joined its Flight in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in May 1915. Burn served in the Middle East until his death on 30 July 1915; he was the first New Zealand airman killed in action during the First World War. Read more...

Keith Caldwell (1895–1980)

Keith Caldwell

One of New Zealand’s greatest fighter pilots and leaders, Keith Caldwell was credited with the destruction or capture of 14 enemy machines, including two shared, a score bettered by only one other New Zealander, Ronald Bannerman. Read more...

Clive Collett (1886-1917)

Clive Collett

Perhaps New Zealand's most qualified and experienced pilot of the war, Clive Collett flew a total of about 1200 hours, many of them on experimental work, on at least 46 different types of aircraft. In 1917, he became the first military pilot under British command to test a parachute from a flying plane. Read more...

Euan Dickson (1892-1980)

Euan Dickson

Euan Dickson was one of the most successful bomber pilots of the First World War. He flew a record 175 daylight raids, and, with his observer, destroyed or sent down out of control 14 enemy aircraft. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar, in 1920 he became the first pilot to cross Cook Strait. Read more...

Malcolm McGregor (1896-1936)

Malcolm McGregor

Malcolm McGregor, known as ‘Mad Mac’, achieved fame as a First World War air ace. Credited with six aircraft destroyed and a balloon (shared) as well as four sent down ‘out of control’, he helped establish the civil aviation industry in New Zealand after the war. Read more...

William Rhodes-Moorhouse (1887-1915)

William Rhodes-Moorhouse

William Rhodes-Moorhouse, the first airman to receive the Victoria Cross, served as a mechanic and pilot in the early months of the First World War. Although born and educated in England, he was of Māori descent, his grandmother being Otahui of Ngāti Ruanui. Read more...

How to cite this page

'Kiwi stories', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 16-Aug-2014