Charles Herbert CHRISTIANSEN
Known as Charlie

Serial Number: NZ4311287
RNZAF Trade: Flight Mechanic
Date of Enlistment: 1941 - Transfer from Army
Rank Achieved: Leading Aircraftsman
Flying Hours: nil in RNZAF
Operational Sorties: Nil

Date of Birth: Born on the 1st of February 1920, in Palmerston North
Personal Details: Charlie was educated at Okautere and Kaipaki Schools. He left school at the age of 14 and went farming at Monavale, where he worked till the war. After the war he returned to farming and he also worked in engineering and design of farm machinery and other inventions.

Charlie was introduced to the Masonic Lodge in 1942 while in the Army, and has been an active Mason since. He says this helped his RNZAF career considerably, as several NCO's who were also Masons helped him get far in the service. Notice in the accompanying portrait photo of Charlie in his RNZAF uniform, he is wearing a Masonic tie pin, which was not actually allowed to be worn on the uniform. He wore it simply for the photo.

Though Charlie had been a mechanic in the RNZAF, he had an interest in flying and after the war he once attempted to learn to fly at Rukuhia under the instruction of Fenwick and Robertson, but his wife was against this so he gave up.

Charlie remembered Cambridge Aerodrome, at the Cambridge racecourse - not in the centre of the present track but in the middle of the old larger mile track on the land at the corner of Taylor Street and Victoria Road. Charlie says that you could get an aeroplane ride from Cambridge to Hamilton from Taylor's Paddock, and he thinks the pilot that ran this kind of service was Mac MacGregor, but isn't positive. He said the road was so bad that people took the option often, and alternatively went on a steamboat down the river, or on a speedboat run by Souters. Charlie says the aeroplane trip cost four shillings.

He says during show days Stan Blackmore would fly in and out of the racecourse and take rides. He also remembers seeing Scotty Fraser parachuting into Taylor's Paddock.

Service Details: Charlie had joined the Territorials in Cambridge in 1935, as part of the Hauraki Regiment. When War broke out in 1939 he went with the Army to Fiji where he remained for 18 months. He then returned to New Zealand and was based at Waiouru Army Camp for a further 12 months. At this point Charlie transferred to the RNZAF.

In the Air Force, Charlie initially went to Blenheim for three months, then onto Dunedin for six months, followed by six months at Rongotai in Wellington. Then he moved to Nelson for nine months, and this was followed by a further nine months at Ohakea. His last posting was for six months at No 1 Repair Depot in Hamilton.

Died: 29th of August 2015, at Resthaven, Cambridge, aged 95
Buried: The RSA Lawn Cemetery, Hautapu, Cambridge

Connection with Cambridge: Charlie grew up and was educated in the Cambridge district, and worked here before and after the war. He remains a resident today.


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