Flying officer was quiet about illustrious honour
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.