||Last Updated: Dec 22nd, 2014 - 13:50:22
The RNZAF received sixty Hawker Hinds (NZ1501-1560) for use as single-motor trainers under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with a further three (NZ1561-1563) assembled locally from spares and serviceable components of damaged aircraft. In addition to those Brought On Charge (BOC) by the RNZAF, fifteen Hinds were lost at sea while en route to New Zealand due to enemy action. Most were the L.B. (Light Bomber) version converted to the dual-control training role, a small number were purpose-built trainers, identifiable from their RAF serials, and by the higher sides of the rear cockpit.
The Hind was one of several obsolescent types acquired by the RNZAF for training purposes pending the arrival of more modern aircraft. Fifty Hinds were Brought On Charge between August and December 1940, the remainder during the course of 1941. All were uncrated, erected and test-flown by No.1 Assembly Depot (incorrectly given as "Aircraft Depot" in some sources) at Hobsonville, near Auckland, North Island, and the type entered service with No.3 Flying Ttraining School (subsequently designated a Service Flying Training School) at Ohakea, near Palmerston North, also in the North Island towards the end of 1940. No.3 SFTS replaced had its Hinds by Harvards early in 1942 but the school disbanded soon afterward in a reorganisation which saw all flying training carried out at South Island Stations, with operational squadrons and training units in the North Island.
Upon arrival in New Zealand the Hinds, like the Airspeed Oxfords, wore the colours and markings of their former RAF service; some Hinds did not have their RNZAF serials applied immediately but flew at Ohakea for a time wearing their RAF serials, an example being K6622 (later NZ1557). During 1941 there was a program underway to repaint these aircraft in an all-over Aluminium finish, with A-Type roundels in six positions and the corresponding "equal width" fin-flashes. It is worth noting that fin flashes only came into general use within the RNZAF following the arrival of Hudsons and Harvards marked with these during the early months of 1941. The RNZAF's training schools were working under considerable pressure and time passed before some of the Hinds were repainted, while others did not survive long enough to receive the Aluminium paint-job. No.3 SFTS's aircraft did not generally carry any distinguishing markings such as large side-numbers, an exception being NZ1502 which carried a large blue 2 (the colour denoting the school's Advanced Training Squadron). Some sources give this aircraft as having been all-over Yellow but this is incorrect; none of the Hinds at No.3 SFTS wore an all-yellow scheme. At this time the all-over Yellow finish in use by the RNZAF was confined to Tiger Moths and the newly-arrived Harvards (the latter were received in an all-over gloss-yellow finish). I'll repeat: the blue side-number is correct but no Hind at No.3 SFTS wore an all-over Yellow finish.
Following their replacement at No.3 SFTS, the Hinds became available for their original Army Co-operation role, and eighteen of these aircraft were made fully operational, with armament and camouflage, and equipped No.6 (Army Co-operation) Squadron which formed at Milson Aerodrome, Palmerstion Notth on 20 February 1942. This squadron gained experience in working in support of troops in the lower North Island, and as a mobile unit operated at various times from Hood Aerodrome (Masterton), Wanganui, Paraparaumu (north of Wellington) and Ohakea. At Hood Aerodrome the Hinds undertook some drogue-towing for the Kittyhawks of No.14 (F) Sqdn which was based there for several months following its formation in April 1942.
The prospect of attack or outright invasion loomed very large following the outbreak of war in the Pacific, and the rapid advance of Japanese forces through South East Asia. The New Zealand Army raised forces to Divisional strength in each of the three Military Districts, and in May 1942 these were established as 1st Division (Northern Military District), 4th Division (Central Military District) and 5th Division (Southern Military District). That same month 3 NZ Division was established in Fiji, and in June the New Zealand Division then on active service in North Africa was retitled 2 NZ Division.
It was envisaged that four Army Co-operation Squadrons would be formed: No.20 at Whangarei in support of the 1st Division, No.21 at Auckland for the 3rd Division (in the process of returning to New Zealand for intensive training for active service in the Solomons), No.22 at Milson in support of the 4th Division, and No.23 at Christchurch in support of the 5th Division.
In August that year the strength of No.6 (AC) Sqdn was split to permit the formation of No.20 (AC) Sqdn, based at Onerahi, near Whangarei, to support the 1st Division, as intended. But events overtook the original plans and the fourth Army Co-operation Squadron was not formed. No.6 (AC) Sqdn was renumbered No.21 (AC) Sqdn in October and remained at Milson for a time before moving to Ohakea. A third AC Sqdn, No.22, was formed at Ohakea in November 1942 but was equipped with Hinds for one week before it moved to Norwood, on the Canterbury Plains in the South Island, where it flew Vickers Vincents in support of the Army's 5th Division. At least one Hind is known to have been on the strength of the Central Flying School at Tauranga, in the North Island, for a time.
The Hind had effectively left RNZAF service by the middle of 1943, having been replaced in the Army Co-operation rHarvard before ole by the Harvard. By that time the danger of invasion had diminished and New Zealand was experiencing an acute manpower shortage. The decision was taken to disband 3 NZ Division in favour of returning servicemen to the civilian workforce and maintaining the Division in the Middle East. No.22 (AC) Sqdn disbanded in May 1943, followed by No.s 20 (July) and 21 (August).
Four aircraft (NZ1511, '1521, '1522 and '1538) were sent to Australia in April 1942 to provide spares for Hinds still in RAAF service, and 25 were destroyed in accidents while serving with RNZAF units. Some seventeen Hinds were converted to Instructional Airframes at No.2 Technical Training School, Rongotai (today Wellington International Airport), and at least six of them went to Nelson with the TTS when it moved therre in April 1943, one such being NZ1502 (INST.57). One Hind was transferred from Rongotai to No.1 TTS Hobsonvile. The last four Hinds at Rongotai were Reduced To Produce (RTP) and Struck Off Charge (SOC) on 15 December 1943. One of Nelson's Hinds, NZ554 (INST 33) was transferred to the Air Training Corps at Hastings, in the North Island, before being sold at auction in October 1945. Following a period at the RNZAF Museum at Wigram, Christchurch, it is now in storage at Don Subritzky's Classic Aircraft Collection at Dairy Flat, Auckland. NZ1535 is also under restoration to airworthy condition at Dairy Flat, using parts from NZ1517, '1518, and '1544, all of which are at Dairy Flat. NZ1528 is also in storage, at Dairy Flat.
As noted earlier, the Hinds were delivered to New Zealand in standard early-wartime RAF Training finish, ie, a disruptive pattern of Dark Green and Dark Earth upper surfaces to Pattern A or B (dependent on the last didig of the serial), with Trainer Yellow under surfaces and fuselage sides. It is believed that the upper surfaces of the lower mainplanes were painted Dark Earth and Dark Green, rather than the lighter shades of the "counter-shadow" scheme. Roundels were marked in six positions, all of Red/White/Blue A-Type, along with the corresponding "equal width" fin flashes.
When repainted in the all-over Aluminium, A-Type Roundels and corresponding Fin Flashes were applied in Bright Ident colours.
In all instances, Serials were applied in 8" black characters to rear fuselage sides, but were not repeated under the wings.
Camouflage for the aircraft on the Army Co-Operation Squadrons was applied in paints of local manufacture, consisting of a disruptive patter of Foliage Green and Dark Earth uppersufaces, with Duck Egg Blue undersides. The RNZAF disposed of all drawings relating to wartime camouflage and markings almost as soon as the War had been won, however those for "British" aircraft were based on specifications originally drawn up by the RAF. that Unit and individual aircraft letters were almost certainly applied in Duck Egg Blue to the Hinds of No.6 (XX), 20 (ZG) and 21 (UY) Sqdns. It is possible though, that Sky Grey was also used for this purpose in some instances. The number of colours used on an aircraft were often limited by the number of compressors and spray-guns on the Station - and the manpower available.. Examples:
No. 6 (AC) Sqdn: NZ1544 XX.Y (Bomber), NZ1548 XX.A (Trainer).
No. 20 (AC) Sqdn: NZ1543 ZG.B (Bomber).
No. 21 (AC) Sqdn: NZ1524 UY.F (Bomber).
It is unlikely that any Hinds wore the TX letter-group of No.22 (AC) Sqdn.
The document "Schedule of Aeronautical Paints and Dopes" lists camouflage and identification paints used by the RNZAF during the Second World War. The following paints were manufactured in New Zealand (and in some instances also brought in from Auistralia) by B.A.L.M Paints, which was part of the Duponts/ICI/b.a.l.m. "triumverate". The manufacture of aeronautical paints in New Zealand commenced in 1939 at B.A.L.M Paints' factory at Gracefield, near Petone in the Hutt Valley, north of Wellington. Paints of New Zealand manufacture often appeared almost semi-gloss.
Foliage Green Camouflage: 33B/183 S13-983
BS No.226 Mid Brunswick Green (match), FS 3(2)4062 (match).
The same as RAAF Foliage Green. This was a rich "Park Bench Green", often likened to US Medium Green (Shade 42 and ANA 612) though not as "blue". There was some variation from batch to batch, and the colour could appear lighter with weathering.
Some of the batches produced in Australia were so dark as to be treated as a different colour but this did not occur in New Zealand..
Dark Earth Camouflage: 33B/180 S13-982
BS No.436 Dark Camouflage Brown (match), FS 30062 (close).
These are exactly the same specifications as the RAAF's Earth Brown, and listed in BS 987C of 1942. In service the colour could quickly fade to a lighter, greyer version of MAP Dark Earth (BS No.450).
Duck Egg Blue Camouflage: 33B/N.90 BALM Spec. S13-909
BS No.101 Sky Blue (closest), BS No.111 Pale Blue (close), FS 35414 (approx.).
Standard under-surface and unit-letter colour.
This colour was unique to the RNZAF, though the RAAF used a similar pastel green shade which was designated Sky. The N-prefix in the Stores Ref indicated "Not In Vocabulary", and was sometimes given as NIV.
An early variation: BS No.280 Verdigris Green (approx.), FS 34260 (close).
Sky Grey Camouflage: 33B/293 BALM Spec. S13-907
BS No.631 Light Grey (match), FS 35352 (close).
Used widely in the RNZAF as an undersurface colour, and also for unit-letters. Based on BS No.631 and predecessors. Sometimes appeared to have a little more blue but this undoubtedly had more to do with the underlying colour and/or the weathering process than any variation in the shade itself.
Details of RNZAF Identification Colours in wartime use come from ADON.39/45 dated 20 June 1945. All of these colours were to Specification DTD.309, also to BSS-2D-101 and B.A.L.M. Paints manufacturers Specification W-22. These colours had come into general use by- 1941.
Identification Colour Matt Black: 33B/65 B.A.L.M. Spec. S13-007
Identification Colour Matt Red: 33B/166 B.A.L.M. Spec. S13-044
BS No.638 Post Office Red (match), FS 31136 (match).
This was also manufactured in Australia during the war as Matt Ident. Bright Red S13-119, used by the RAAF for Ambulance markings after the removal of Red from their National Insignia.
Identification Colour Matt White: 33B/168 B.A.L.M. Spec. S13-045
Identification Colour Matt Blue: 33B/164 B.A.L.M. Spec. S13-046
BS No.108 Aircraft Blue (match),
The RAF's pre-war Bright Identification Blue and standardised as Colour No.8, in wartime use as Matt Blue (BS 987C), and post-war as BS No.108 Aircraft Blue. Continued in use with RNZAF until replaced by Zenith Blue (FS 15102) in 1970.
The blue pigments used in wartime paints of New Zealand manufacture were particularly unstable, often giving rise to variations between batches. This colour could fade quickly to a Light French Blue with exposure to the elements..
Matt Yellow: 33B/170 B.A.L.M. Spec. S13-914
BS No.356 Golden Yellow, FS 33538.
Though generally consistent in shade, variations ranged from FS 33432 (orange-yellow) to FS 33655 (lemon-yellow) but this may have had more to do with an underlying colour or weathering than an altered shade of paint. This colour was made in Australia as Trainer Yellow S13-056.
Photographs of the Hind in RNZAF service are not all that plentiful; cameras were not encouraged at training units and photographs of No.3 SFTS are particularly scarce, no doubt because of its short life. The AC Sqdns, being mobile units, were not as extensiively as if they had been permananty based on one of the major stations.
PHOTOS TO COME.
© Copyright 2004-2015; VenturaPublications and contributors.
Top of Page