Les Munro, back at the controls at 91

Les Munro, the only Dambuster pilot still alive, shows no sign of slowing down now that he has reached his 90s. According to the Christchurch Press, last week he sat at the controls of a Dakota DC3 shortly after a 30 minute flight over Christchurch with a group of other 2nd World War veterans.
The vintage aircraft obviously brought back memories, as he commended the flight because he ‘could listen to the motors’ and get a sense of flying in a machine.
Les has always been an active sort. He went back to farming after the war, as well as being active in local politics.  It’s good to see that he still has plenty of get up and go. Could the next gig for the nonagenerian be a cameo in the remake of THAT FILM, still ‘in development’ elsewhere in The Land of the Great White Cloud?

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A cup of tea with William Hatton’s sister

The interwebnet has become such an integral part of most of our lives that we sometimes forget how much help it gives those of us seeking to make connections. Some two years ago, shortly after I had started writing this blog, I posted an appeal for information about the descendants of William (Bill) Hatton, who had flown on the Dams Raid as the flight engineer in David Maltby’s Lancaster, AJ-J. I thought nothing more of it until one day earlier this year when my phone rang. On the other end of the line was a lady who introduced herself as Rene Hopkins, and who turned out to be Bill’s younger sister.
We spoke for ages, and Rene was able to confirm for me the names of their other sister and brother (both now dead) and lots of other family information. The only photo I have of Bill was, she told me, taken near the family home in Wakefield, by the local newspaper when he came home on leave after the Dams Raid.
We finally met a few weeks ago, and spent a very civilised few hours drinking tea in a hotel. I was able to take a few (very fuzzy) pictures of Rene holding the only photo which exists of all the Maltby crew, taken some 67 years ago in the Algerian heat, when they spent a few days in Blida after a bombing raid on some Italian power stations.