10 June 2010

The last autobiography to be written by an NZ fighter ace?

As we get further into the 21st Century the ranks of surviving wartime veterans are, of course, sadly thinning. Barely a couple of days pass without reading yet another obituary of someone who faced the unimaginable but survived to make the most of a long post-war life. I've unfortunately found it's often the first time I've heard of the person but it's never to late to honour a life well lived.

Of the few New Zealand fighter aces still with us some, like Alan Peart and Jim Sheddan, have written their memoirs but according to Larry Hill, a well-known New Zealand aviation bibliophile and a man in the know in such matters, it is likely that the new book by Wing Commander Owen Hardy DFC* - Through My Eyes: Memories of a life in the Royal Air Force in war and peace - will be the last by a Kiwi ace.

As much as I respect Larry I do hope he is wrong on this occasion and I think he would agree. Having said that, if Through My Eyes does turn out to be the last by a living New Zealand ace, what a way to end this unique genre. Owen Hardy served with 485 Squadron in the UK and was hand-picked by Brian Kingcombe to fly in North Africa. Post-war he remained in the RAF and led a Vampire display team in Germany before becoming a big-wheel in terms of developing the RAF's defence strategy. Several months ago Dave Homewood of the Wings Over New Zealand forum interviewed Mr Hardy, the first to do so, and has commented that the book will be loaded with many previously unseen photos and that, if the interview is anything to go by, the publicity-shy author will have written a brilliant book.

Convinced? Visit the link below and buy 298 pages of what is an historic book whichever way you look at it.

Through My Eyes

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