The following is a brief outline of the war experiences of Laurie Hamlet, RNZAF, ground crew, Pacific Theatre.
Copyright: Unless otherwise credited, text and photos in the following pages have been supplied via Don Armitage on behalf of Laurie Hamlet who retains copyright to them.
Laurie was born in 1923, and post war he worked as an avionics engineer at TEAL/Air New Zealand for many years. Into Yachting in a big way, he was on the America’s Cup committee when NZ won the cup, and lost it.
Laurie was in 15 Fighter Squadron and went to Tonga on the President Jackson with John Armitage. When the group moved to Nandi in Fiji, they went in American Flying fortresses with Kittyhawks on their wingtips.
Some of Laurie's recollections of his time in the islands were as follows:
The steel Marston matting got so hot you had to wear boots at all times!
When based at Kukum 2, it was not uncommon for the Kiwis to collect the engines discarded by the Americans after an engine change, and re-use them without any problems!
The Catalina's were usually away all day, and servicing was carried out on them at night when it was cooler.
The Kiwis were paid a lot less than the Americans, and as an NCO, Laurie was paid 14 pounds a fortnight.