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First Name: Douglas aka (Scotty)
Joined: November 26, 2012, 6:46 pm
Last Active: December 1, 2019, 5:11 pm
Connect: Email

About Me:

I served as an Aircraft Engine Fitter on 41 Squadron - Royal New Zealand Air Force from March 1967 to December 1968. 41 Squadron was based at RAF Changi in Singapore and flew B170 Bristol Freighters in and out of Changi to many South East Asian destinations. These included support for New Zealand interests in Vietnam, regular in-country round trips in support of the NZ Army through Vung Tau and the NZ Surgical Team through Qui Nhon. In 1967 41 Squadron's Bristol Freighters flew a regular two weekly flight to Vietnam as well as a monthly flight to Hong Kong that stopped over and provided support and a service for New Zealand forces and interests in Saigon, Qui Nhon and Vung Tau. One of my photographs (attached below) shows Bristol Freighter 5906 being unloaded at Qui Nhon into the fairly laden down NZ Surgical Team's Land Rover, this photo was taken in April 1968. We unloaded these supplies into the land rover and then helped the surgical team transport them to the hospital and to their quarters in the Qui Nhon township. We would take a short cut through a large refugee camp/shanty town made up of cardboard boxes, sheets of tin and anything else left lying around. Members of the surgical team that lived opposite this shanty town advised that they had named the place 'Coronation Street'...see also Dr Joe Dobson's comments (Ref: 'From Christchurch to Qui Nhon - Dr Joe Dobson', URL: Ministry for Culture and Heritage). In July 1968 a weekly 2 day schedule was introduced with flights calling in at Saigon, Vung Tau and Qui Nhon in the one day with overnight stays at Saigon or Vung Tau. (Ref: 41 Squadron Unit Histories 1967-1969 Archives NZ). I flew on this weekly schedule in August and September 1968 and stayed overnight in Vung Tau in accommodation provided by the Australian Forces that were based there. I also recall being a part of 41 Squadron's earlier efforts in the complete V Company RNZIR changeover of NZ Army personnel through Vung Tau in May 1968. This was the arrival of V3 RNZIR on 13 - 15 May 1968. 41 Squadron flew 9 flights into Vung Tau in those three days and positioned technical personnel at Vung Tau for the duration to facilitate rapid turn rounds (Ref: 41 Squadron Unit Histories May 1968 - NZ Archives). In addition to the Air Crew, almost all 'away' flights included supernumerary crew members. These were generally ground crew who were airframe and engine fitters (like me), although other trades were included from time to time. These supernumerary crew members were technical tradespeople and provided essential services for the aircraft on route and assisted with the handling of freight and supplies. Unfortunately, supernumerary crew were rarely recorded in the Squadron's Flight Authorisation Books (AUT Books) or in any of the Air Crew Log Books on the sorties they flew in and around Vietnam. This has made it very difficult and somewhat unfair for many ground crew to receive recognition and acknowledgement for their service in Vietnam, either in terms of medallic recognition or in achieving Veteran status.

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