Episode 154 – Stan Walker

Guest: Stan Walker (F/O Stanley James Walker, RNZAF, NZ4214446, Pilot)

Host: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 17th of June 2017

Released:  28th of July 2017

Duration: 2 hour 15 minutes 42 seconds

Back on the 1st of April 2017, 95 year old Stan Walker was one of the speakers at the Wings Over New Zealand Forum Meet in the New Zealand Warbirds Hangar at Ardmore Airport. His talk was very popular as his memory was extremely sharp and his stories were great. But it was obvious that there was much more he could tell, so Dave Homewood visited him in June to do a more relaxed one to one interview.

Stan was at university training to become a teacher when he was called up for the New Zealand Territorial Army, but days after he entered camp the Japanese started the war in the Pacific, and he found himself suddenly a member of the Regular Army. He did not relish this prospect as he’d been planning to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force, so he went AWOL to get his father to sign the paperwork that would allow him to switch to the RNZAF.

He trained as a pilot in New Zealand and Canada, and was selected for RAF Coastal Command. He was eventually posted to No. 490 (NZ) Squadron based at Jui, Sierra Leone, in West Africa. He converted to the Sunderland as a second pilot, before eventually going solo and becoming a captain.

Stan talks at length about his Air Force days, and the squadron, as well as his life in pre-WWII university and postwar as a teacher.

Quick Links:

•  No. 490 (NZ) Squadron on Wikipedia

•  No. 490 (NZ) Squadron in the Official History – Episodes And Studies Vol. 2

Notes: My sincere thanks to Stan and his son Gary Walker for assisting with this interview. The music in this episode is from the Coastal Command suite by Ralph Vaughan Williams, recorded in 1942

Stan Walker’s Photos
These photos come courtesy of Stan’s album, via his son Gary Walker

Stan Walker today

Stan Walker during WWII

Aerodrome Defence Unit at RNZAF Station Waipapakauri

Stan and friends relaxing outside their huts at RNZAF Station Waipapakauri

RNZAF Station Waipapakauri’s hut accommodation for the ADU members

Stan, left, during his Elementary Flying Training School course at RNZAF Station Ashburton

Stan’s course at RCAF Station Brandon, Manitoba, in Canada
Back Row: Philips, Salmon, McKenzie, ?, MacRae, Lyall, Logan, Norman, Parker, Rush, Jensen, Heath, MacVicar, Lavin, Tinsley (RAF), Stevens (RAF), Yeoman.
Centre Row: Thrall (RAF), Johnson, ?, Waugh (RAF), Davies, Cowell, Marshall-Muir, Latimer, Sturgiss, Hathaway, Hoult, Kether?, Smith (RAF), Harland, Shepherd,  MacLellan
Front Row: Henderson, Garner, Adam, Lyons, Millar, Wood, McMillan, Pope, Gibbs, Padre’, Padre’ (CofE), Baggott, Walker, Morris, Lilly, Ellison, Forsyth

An Airspeed Oxford as flown by Stan in Britain during his refresher training

Stan in the Captain’s seat of an Airspeed Oxford

No. 490 (NZ) Squadron at Jui, Sierra Leone, West Africa

Stan’s Sunderland crew (Stan is not in the photo):
Standing, left to right: F/Sgt Maloney, F/Sgt Edwards, Sgt Kemp, Sgt Sinclair, Sgt Allsopp
Seated, left to right: Sgt Patterson, F/O Delete, F/Lt ‘Pat’ Paterson, F/Sgt Johnny Greer, F/O Woodward

The main hangar and  workshops on the waterfront at RAF Jui

Moored No. 490 (NZ) Squadron Short Sunderland Mk. III’s with the Jui hangar visible in the background

The view from the Sunderland of one of the Jui tender boats

Stan in the foreground with Sunderland “V” at Abidjan, French Ivory Coast during ‘Victory Tour’ that ran from the 17th to 27th of May 1945.

Stan’s Short Sunderland Mk. III “X”

Barrack Block E at RAF Jui

The end of Sunderland “X” as she sinks into the Atlantic Ocean


Stan Walker Video At The Wings Over New Zealand Forum Meet – 1st of April 2017
Kindly filmed by Stuart Russell


1 comment to Episode 154 – Stan Walker

  • Terry Leach

    Hi. Just making contact as I stumbled over these pics while searching for info on RNZAF Waipapakauri. The pic of the 3 gents standing outside a hut shows my father Herbert Douglas “Bert” Leach. He subsequently served in the RNZAF Marine Section in Fiji.

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