As some people may be aware from recent posts, and perhaps some media exposure, NZIPP has been instrumental in photographing our remaining WWII veterans. I am proud to that my involvement has been from the start of this project, having the pleasure seeing a small idea transform into what is now a comprehensive body of work compiled from all around New Zealand.
The project is wrapping up currently, with over 1000 veterans photographed. The final format for display is yet to be fully determined, but will hopefully have a public showing next year. There has been a huge commitment by both veterans, RSA branches, and NZIPP members who have donated countless hours of their time, skill and studio space.
Yet the reward is in meeting our aging veterans, and hearing their stories.
Memorable last week was Mr Jack Marshall. He served with the RNZAF under the RAF Bomber Command over Europe. Flying mainly Stirling bombers, Jack was a tail gunner who survived 46 missions, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. That in itself is incredible. Yet made all the more pertinent by the fact these men strapped themselves into their planes night after night, knowing the average survival rate was a mere three missions. THREE! Jack managed 46. I can’t even begin to wonder what that must be like, knowing you are well over odds, and statistically that each job should in fact be your last.
Goodness. Yet walking down the street, you would be none the wiser. Certainly even after a career in banking, even his own staff were unaware of his service record until the day he retired. Yet now in his 90’s, in a retirement complex, it is an absolute pleasure connecting with Jack and hearing his story. Add to this he has been married to Mollie for 72years – that in itself is a record achievement!
Thank you Jack for sharing your stories, photos and memories. I for one, are the richer for it.