Episode 158 – Escape: The Best Sport Ever!

Guest: Arthur Gatland

Host: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 21st of August 2017

Released: 26th of August 2017

Duration: 44 minutes 37 seconds

Arthur Gatland is a pilot. His father Frank Gatland DFM mid was also a pilot. Frank joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1941 and following his flying training he became a Short Stirling captain with No. 214 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command .  Following several operations with the squadron, including a very low level attack he made on Genoa, Italy, in October 1942 that earned him the Distinguished Flying Medal, his luck ran out.

He and his crew were shot down/collided with a fighter over France on the night of 28/29 November 1942. Frank survived the parachute jump and he set off on foot in an attempt to evade capture.  After covering many miles he was eventually taken prisoner and placed into Stalag VIIIB POW camp. He was not there long before he was planning an escape, the first of many to come.  Including the initial evasion, Frank would be officially credited with five escapes by war’s end. He was a genuine thorn in the side to the Germans, continually planning and scheming ways to get away and try to get back to Britain and safety. He loved every minute of it!

In later years Frank wrote his memoirs of his wartime experiences, both as a bomber pilot and as an evader, escaper and a POW. Now, ten years after Frank’s death, his son Arthur has published those memoirs as a book, entitled “Escape – The Best Sport Ever!”

In this episode of the WONZ Show Arthur talks about his father and about the book which is now available. And he also talks about his own flying career. He too served in the Air Force, flying Hawker Harriers and Hunters with the Royal Air Force in the 1970’s. Later returning home he joined Air New Zealand and flew Fokker Friendships, Boeing 737’s, Boeing 767’s, Boeing 777’s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and today he runs the 777 and 787 simulator. Arthur is also a very accomplished glider pilot and is often seen displaying in a glider at airshows around New Zealand.

Quick Links:

•  Arthur Gatland’s Direct Email – gatlandaj@ihug.co.nz

•  Escape: The Best Sport Ever on Facebook

•  Escape: The Best Sport Ever Book Launch Event Page

Above: Arthur Gatland with copies of his father Frank Gatland’s book ‘Escape: The Best Sport Ever”

Above: The cover of the book, with Frank Gatland DFM’s photo

Note: The theme music at the beginning of this episode is from the television series Hogan’s Heroes, and the music at the end is the theme from the feature film The Great Escape

3 comments to Episode 158 – Escape: The Best Sport Ever!

  • Roger Strong

    Looking forward to reading this book! I have researched a Short Stirling crew from 75(NZ)Squardron EH902 that was shot down June 1943. Three New Zealanders in the crew which was all killed. Such a shame that the Stirling has been largely forgotten and that there is not a single one surviving. The Pilot of EH902 was Norman Bradford Bluck who was unlucky enough be torpedored on his way to Britain. So many great stories waiting to be told. I look forward to reading this one.

  • Prue Taylor

    As Horrie Woods daughter I am looking forward to reading the book. Not only their experience planning, during and following the escape but also descriptions that assist us knowing dad’s character. Thanks for connecting with Don. Best wishes. Prue

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