Diary of Neil Ralph Blunden RNZAF
|I am privileged to have been given permission by the family of Neil Blunden to publish these entries from his diary which was written as he left his homeland (New Zealand) and sailed to the UK, via Canada, as a young airman about to complete his final training before flying over enemy occupied Europe. Neil Blunden was one of many young men who followed a similar path, his diary affords us a glimpse into what life was like for these young men in 1941 and 1942 who travelled so far to give so much and illuminates how the ordinary became the extraordinary.
I am enormously grateful to the Adrian Wallis and the Blunden family for permitting me to share these diary entries with you via this website. I would respectfully request that the text from these diary entries is not copied or distributed in any form, printed or otherwise without first seeking and receiving written permission from the owner of the material who may be contacted via me firstname.lastname@example.org
Linzee Druce, October 2003
|Neil joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in June 1940 at the age of 24. He commenced training on September 29th at Levin, continuing at Taieri and Woodbourne. He completed his Advanced Flying Training on March 22nd 1941 and was granted a temporary commission to the rank of Pilot Officer in the RNZAF.
This diary, written in two NZ Government Memorandum Books, describes his daily life from the time he embarked on the MV Awatea on April 29th 1941 until his untimely demise during a bombing raid on the German battleship the'Tirpitz' in Norway on the night of 30/31st March 1942. It leads the reader through his ocean voyage across the Pacific, his trans-Canada rail journey, his dangerous voyage across the Atlantic, further training in England, service as a bomber pilot with 10 Squadron based in Leeming, Yorkshire where he took part in many highly courageous raids over Germany in Whitley bomber aircraft, his subsequent conversion to Halifaxes, and his final mission to Norway to destroy the Tirpitz, from which he did not return. It gives the reader a flavour of the incredibly dangerous times our air force personnel endured.
Adrian Wallis 2003
Foreword in first diary;
Foreword in second diary;
Address in England:
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© Linzee Druce 2001-2012