Fly­ing of­fi­cer was quiet about il­lus­tri­ous hon­our

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JOAN STAN­LEY

Fly­ing Of­fi­cer Her­bert ( Bert) Alexan­der Pond DFM, was born in Mata­mata on April 25, 1922.

He at­tended Mata­mata District High School (now Mata­mata Col­lege) and en­tered the Royal New Zealand Air Force on Novem­ber 9, 1941.

Mr Pond flew un­til Septem­ber 1945 and was dis­charged on Fe­bru­ary 22, 1946 when he was posted to the re­serve.

He served in the 467 Squadron in the United King­dom, fly­ing Lan­cast­ers.

Then the whole crew was trans­ferred to 97 Squadron, which was a pathfinder squadron sta­tioned in Cam­bridge, Eng­land.

He was awarded the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Medal on May 17, 1944.

Mr Pond’s ci­ta­tion said: ‘‘Flight Sergeant Pond has taken part in at­tacks on some of the en­emy’s ma­jor tar­gets. In Au­gust 1943, he was cap­tain of an air­craft de­tailed to at­tack Nurem­berg. Af­ter bomb­ing the tar­get the port in­ner en­gine was hit by fire from a hos­tile fighter, the in­ter-com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem was ren­dered use­less and the air­craft se­verely dam­aged.’’

‘‘On the night of Au­gust 27/28, 1943, dur­ing the above raid on Nurem­berg ( his 13th sor­tie), Fly­ing Of­fi­cer Pond’s air­craft was badly dam­aged by Ger­man night-fight­ers. To avoid them he flew into cloud but struck high ground. The air­craft bounced off a hill top fin­ish­ing up in a Bel­gian corn field. With the as­sis­tance of an es­cape and eva­sion or­gan­i­sa­tion he was back in the United King­dom on Septem­ber 16, 1943. Fol­low­ing his re­turn Fly­ing Of­fi­cer Pond joined 45 Group RAF at Dor­val, Mon­treal and made 23 transAt­lantic de­liv­ery flights.’’ (Ci­ta­tion taken from By Such Deeds by Colin Han­son).

Mr Pond recorded what he did when he re­turned to Bri­tain af­ter his es­cape.

‘‘Posted now to Trans At­lantic Ferry Com­mand based in Mon­treal, Canada, I started work fer­ry­ing Lan­cast­ers, Lib­er­a­tors and Mos­qui­tos to Eng­land, Africa or In­dia where they were held to be dis­trib­uted to RAF squadrons as re­quired. I did this for the next two years fly­ing the At­lantic via New­found­land, Green­land, Ice­land, to Eng­land and the Azores, French Morocco, Cairo and fin­ish­ing in Al­la­habad in In­dia. In Septem­ber 1945 the war fin­ished, my ser­vices fin­ished and I headed home.’’

Mr Pond’s story was reprinted in the Mata­mata Chron­i­cle on July 14 last year en­ti­tled: Dar­ing air­man evades en­emy.

In it he did not men­tion that he was awarded the medal for his part in this in­ci­dent.

Af­ter his re­turn home, Mr Pond farmed at Hin­uera in Pond Rd and is now liv­ing in re­tire­ment at Mt Maun­ganui.

His name is recorded on the list at Mata­mata Col­lege of those who served over­seas in World War II.

Mata­mata’s own: Fly­ing Of­fi­cer Her­bert (Bert) Alexan­der Pond af­ter re­ceiv­ing his Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Medal.

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