Max Russell WARD

Serial Number: NZ639165
RNZAF Trade: Wireless Mechanic
Date of Enlistment: December 1939
Rank Achieved: Flight Sergeant

Date of Birth: 24th of September 1913, in Auckland
Personal Details: Max was the son of Mr William J. Ward and Mrs Elfrida Isabelle Ward (nee Geary). He was the brother of fellow Cambridge airman Ken Ward. The family moved to Cambridge in 1922 where Max and Ken's father established the well known Cambridge mercery and drapery business "Sayers & Ward", alongside his partner Denton Sayers.

Max was educated at Cambridge Primary School, and then Hamilton High School. He had begun studying at Auckland University College when he volunteered for RNZAF service.

Max worked all his working life at Charles Palmer & Company (Auckland) as an engineer. After the war Max built a house at Mairangi Bay and he and his wife May raised four children there. In 1990 Max and may emigrated to Sydney, Australia, and lived there till Max's death.

Service Details: Max volunteered very early in the war and a notice appeared in the Waikato Independent on the 2nd of December saying he'd been accepted into the RNZAF. He was farewelled in Cambridge with a party on the 21tst of December 1939. He was posted initilly to RNZAF Station Hobsonville where he became a member of the Auckland (General Reconnaissance) Squadron.

His trade was Wireless Mechanic, and on the 11th of July 1941 he achieved the classification of W/MECH GP1, or Wireless Mechanic Group One, a fully trained tradesman. Max was potsed to RNZAF Station Nelson by December 1941, serving with No. 2 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron which was flying Lockheed Hudsons and Vickers Vincents in the general reconnaissance role.

He was posted to Guadalcanal in the Pacific on the 13th of October 1943, serving initially there with No. 10 Bomber Maintenance Unit (later renamed No. 10 Servicing Unit). This unit maintained the Lockheed Ventura reconnaissance bombers of No. 1 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron. Wireless radios were all important in these aircraft so Max will have been kept busy maintaining and repairing such equipment.

On the 3rd of December 1943 he was posted to RNZAF Headquarters, still at Guadalcanal. Max continued to serve there till the 14th of October 1944. That day he was posted to Base Depot Reception Pool at Espiritu Santo to await a flight home, which he caught the next day headed back to New Zealand.

Date of Death : 24th of July 2007, at Sydney, Australia, aged 93

Connection with Cambridge: Max lived in Cambridge pre-WWII. Though Max moved away from the Cambridge district he still had family here, His grandson lives at Tamahere with his family, one of who's own sons is named Max Ward!

Thanks To: Bruce Ward (Max's son) and Anne Walker (Max's daughter) for filling in some details on this page, and providing the accompanying photos.

Above: Max Ward in his RNZAF uniform in 1943, just before he set off from
New Zealand for his tour of tuty at Guadalcanal (via Bruce Ward)

Above: Max Ward in December 1989 (via Bruce Ward)


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