World War II photos offer treasure trove

04:30, Aug 31 2009
RNZAF 6 Squadron
Unidentified RNZAF 6 Squadron crew on PBY-5 Catalina XX-R at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945.
RNZAF 6 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant Arthur Manz and crew with PBY-5 XX-R at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 25 May 1945. Manz is fourth from right.
RNZAF 6 Squadron
RNZAF Flying Officer Dave Regan and crew with PBY-5 XX-T at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands. F/O Regan is second from left.
Members of RNZAF No. 6 Flying Boat Squadron at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1944.
Members of RNZAF No. 6 Squadron Detached Flight at Base Bleacher, Nuku'alofa, Tongatabu, 23 September 1943. Back row L-R Alby Parton, Bryan Whiteman, Colin Butterfield, Arthur Rogers, Keith Morgan, Alan Tudehope, Jack Petrie, Malcolm Aengles, Carl Adams, Bob Buchanan, Frank O'Dowd, Eric Fidler. Front Row L-R Alan Gray, Ian Marriot, Jack Stokes,Bill Croft, Ian Walther (holding flight mascot 'Winston Churchill'), Perrit, John Ison, Bill Pepper, Keith Langford, Sam Morris, Tom Harker, Mark Colman, H. Dunchill.
The mess at RNZAF 6 Squadron Flying Boat base, Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands. Note the board behind the bar: "Best wishes to all members of F/O Carleton's crew & welcome S/Ld Smith and Whillan's crew's".
Members of RNZAF 6 Squadron at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands.
NCO members of 6 Squadron Engineering Section at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 9 August 1945.
RNZAF 6 Squadron
Members of Royal New Zealand Air Force 6 Squadron H.Q. staff at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945. Seated: unknown, Sgt. Gear, Wing Commander John Agar, Flight Lieut. Alastair Scott, Flight Lieut. Penhey.
Members of 6 Squadron Works Maintenance Unit at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 9 August 1945.
Members of 6 Squadron in front of ship store at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, enjoying American beer.
Members of 6 Squadron in front of old missionary store at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands.
Members of RNZAF 6 Squadron at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands
Excursion by 6 Squadron members on re-arming barge, Solomon Islands, 1945.
Members of 6 Squadron in front of old missionary store at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands. Alastair 'Scotty' Scott is standing far right of picture.
Unidentified members of RNZAF 6 Flying Boat Squadron at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945.
Ed Hillary, far left, and Alastair Scott (with beer bottle) in the Solomon Islands with the RNZAF during WWII.
Members of 6 Squadron Beaching Crew with PBY-5 Catalina XX-D at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands.
Members of 6 Squadron Instrument Section at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands.
Eight RNZAF 6 Squadron members. Squadron Post Master Hec Cooper is standing at right.
Members of RNZAF 6 Squadrom in front of PBY-5 Catalina XX-A NZ4001 Bu08280.
Greasy Pole competition at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945.
Unidentified RNZAF Officer.
Unidentified RNZAF Officer at Halavo Bay, 1944-45.
The 'Jolly Roger' built by Cyril Plumtree's crew, on 'The Hard' at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945.
Malaria Control Section. Medical Officer Frank Simms is seated fourth from right.
New Zealand Governor-General Sir Cyril Newall meets members of RNZAF 6 Squadron beside PBY-5 Catalina XX-F NZ 4007 at Halavo Bay, Florida Island, Solomon Islands, 12 June 1945. Don Harris at far left of picture.
RNZAF 6 Squadron Adjutant, Flying Officer Alastair Scott (seated second from right), with other H.Q. staff at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945.
Flight Lieutenant Arthur Manz and crew under the wing of a PBY-5 at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands,1945. Manz is standing third from right.
Guy Rogers (second from right) and his crew on PBY-5 Catalina XX-N 'Naughty Nine' at Halavo Bay, Solomon Islands, 1945.

An Australian researcher is enlisting the public's help to identify photos of Kiwi airmen at work and play during World War II, that were retrieved from a military rubbish tip.

The collection of more than 100 photographs are of the Royal New Zealand Air Force No 6 Flying Boat Squadron in the Solomon Islands.

In one photograph, more than 200 men line the wing of one of the giant Catalina flying boats that were affectionately known as "Dumbos".

The photos were rescued from the rubbish by Flight Lieutenant Alastair "Scotty" Scott, his daughter Jenny said.

"They were all lying out on a rubbish tip. Rather than leave them, he scavenged them."

Ms Scott, now an archivist in Adelaide, has put them on photo-sharing website Flickr.

"Do they sit at the bottom of my cupboard doing nothing or do I get them out there?" Ms Scott said.

"The men in these photos are largely unidentified but there must be many hundreds of their children and grandchildren in New Zealand who would like a wartime photo of their father or grandfather."

Among the pictures is a little-known shot of a young Sir Edmund Hillary, who was then a navigator, helping to launch a small boat named the "Jolly Roger".

"They were trying to keep themselves occupied," Ms Scott said.

Michael Davies served as a flight engineer with RNZAF 6 Squadron  the "flying boat" squadron  and was one of the hundreds of men who posed on the wings of the Catalina.

The photo now hangs above his bed in his Taradale home.

His experience in the Solomon Islands led to a lifelong love of "Dumbos".

He is one of the owners of the only Catalina in New Zealand.

Dr Davies said he had some incredible experiences in the Solomon Islands.

"One of the things that was wonderful was to look out and there was a cloud and the sun was behind it, and the silhouette of the aircraft and two complete rainbows going right round."

Other memories were of the high humidity and the need to wear long sleeves because of the risk of malaria from mosquitoes.

He said the accommodation on the islands "wasn't too bad" and the men were well fed.

"We weren't in the actual line of fire so we didn't have any great traumatic experiences on land."

Instead, as a flight engineer he played a part in air-sea rescues in which more than 80 personnel were saved from various ditched aircraft.

Now a retired doctor, he said the research into the squadron was great.

"I only wish I could put a name to some of these faces in the photos because we're all getting older and not many of us will survive much longer."

See the full set of photos here.

FLYBOYS

The No 6 Flying Boat Squadron formed in February 1942.

* Its Catalina flying boats were known as "90-knot wonders"  they took off, flew and landed, all at 90 knots.

* Its main job was hunting Japanese boats and submarines.

* Despite their nickname of "Dumbos", the flying boats had machineguns and depth charges.

* A new No 6 Squadron formed in 2005 giving helicopter support to the navy.

DO YOU KNOW ANY OF THESE MEN?

If you recognise someone, contact Jenny Scott at zk_jrs@yahoo.com.au

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