Late Arrival


Determined to do his bit, Jim ‘Winkie’ Kirk left his job as a butcher’s apprentice in his hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand to Volunteer for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.  He didn’t give much thought to what lay in store for him beyond that.

Trained as an air gunner, he crewed up with five other New Zealanders before being posted to 75 (NZ) Squadron based at Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

Jim described himself as the ‘oily rag’ of his seven-man Lancaster crew; a run-of-the-mill flight sergeant who had joined the air force because he wanted nothing more than to travel and see the world, and who didn’t consider himself anything special. He found himself flying into hostile skies where he faced anti-aircraft fir, enemy fighters and his own inner fears.

His long-held determination that he would never jump from his aircraft unravelled one night in July 1944 when his Lancaster fell victim to a marauding night fighter over the night skies of Northern France.  He drifted down into occupied France where he spent time on the run before ending up at a camp of the French Resistance.

From the dangers of bombing raids and the loss of friends and comrades to witnessing close up the brutality of war, Jim ‘Winkie’ Kirk witnessed it all, and this is his story.

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Written by Zane Kirk, this is a large paperback book contains over 250 pages, and numerous black and white photos.

Air Force Museum of New Zealand
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