Eastern Courier : December 10th 2010
www.easterncourier.co.nz Friday, December 10, 2010 War book surfaces By MATT BOWEN Historic exchange: Jack Rennie has a final look at Dick Larcombe's World War Two log book before gifting it and other historical items to RAF Flight Lieutenant John Leeder, right, and RNZAF Squadron Leader Bubba Hallinan. Photos: FIONA GOODALL Detailed record: An example of Lieutenant Larcombe's notes. IT'S NOT much to look at. The modest log book is about an inch thick with time-stained pages bound in a black cover. But the historical artefact is about to travel overseas in a diplomatic bag via the High Commission in Wellington to the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, England. It surfaced when 89-year- old Pakuranga resident Rich- ard Larcombe died in Decem- ber last year. The intricately detailed record covers his years as a fighter pilot in the RAF from 1940 to 1948. Most of his time was spent flying bombing missions, sor- ties and reconnaissance over the Middle East and North Africa but he also emerged unscathed from the Battle of Britain. Mr Larcombe had no known family. His possessions went to co- executor of his will and good mate Jack Rennie. An agreement was reached to give the book back to the RAF after discussions with fellow executor Pakuranga lawyer David Stone and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Mr Rennie and his wife Mary handed it to RAF Flight Lieutenant John Leeder at an intimate ceremony on Wednesday morning. RNZAF Squadron Leader Bubba Hal- linan was there too. He says Mr Larcombe meticulously noted his take- off and landing locations on hand-drawn maps as well as bombing hits and misses. For example, on August 11, 1943, he flew an anti-sub sweep'' over a shipping lane in the Arabian Sea. His record of service shows he also flew in South Africa, Rhodesia, Italy and Pakistan. Lieutenant Leeder says the historic objects will go on dis- play at the RAF Museum and the data will be posted online. The records will prove invaluable to the air histori- cal branch in the United Kingdom which deals with building that bigger picture of service during the second world war.'' Mr Larcombe moved to New Zealand in the 1960s where he earned a reputation as the elderly gentleman cruising the streets in his imported red MGB-GT. He was also active in the Probus Club and loved model aeroplanes. So did Mr Rennie. Every year he'd say: Come on Jack we'll have a great day'.'' We'd head off to Ardmore and get in the DC3 plane,'' he says. We'd go on a big survey of the countryside and he'd be thinking of the troubles in the Battle of Britain. Every year we celebrated that.'' Visit www.eastern courier.co.nz to see a slide show of the Hendon museum.
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