Topic: RNZAF Rotorua

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Training in Rotorua 1942 to 1945

Excerpt from "Flying the Thermal Skies" by Don Stafford

...."The RNZAF assumed full control of the Rotorua Aerodrome on Fenton Street from 1 August 1942 for the period of the war.

Rotorua was an Initial Training Wing for the RNZAF. The airforce intended that only light aircraft would be based in Rotorua.... there was some excitement when a Hudson bomber and a Harvard both landed at the Aerodrome in September [1942] giving locals the chance of seeing something of the Allies "air might". There was another sensation when and Air Force Moth made a forced landing on Fenton Street... There was the time when a Lockheed Hudson Bomber flew in with it's crew who were said to have been AWOL) to see the sights!...

For the people of Rotorua one of the clearest memories of this period is still the thousands of young Air Force recruits who came here for initial training. A number of well-known hotels were taken over to to accommodate these young men and favourite dance halls such as the 'Ritz' were comandeered as training centres. It seems, in retrospect, that the streets of Rotorua were always alive with airmen either walking about during their periods of rest or marching from one study point to another..."



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