We have had a few WW1 R.F.C. 'names' passed on to us from around Hawke's Bay.
Perhaps, others can be added from local families. Please
contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Neville Harston R.F.C. pilot 1914-18
Returned from action in France     Click image to enlarge →
Flight M/ Geoffrey Cato R.F.C. 1914-18 Killed in France.
Ivan Kight R.F.C. wounded in France. Returned to New Zealand.
T.W.White R.F.C. Pilot. Returned to NZ.
Became Commanding Officer R.N.Z.A.F. Levin then Rongotai,(previously Chief Pilot for East Coast Airways).
Two other R.F.C. pilots...Captain
Malcolm McGregor MC DFC and Captain Harold F. Beamish.
Edmond Stewart R.F.C. pilot 1914-18
British military aviation began April 1911 with the formation of the Air Battalion, Royal Engineers.
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was formed around that battalion in April 1912.
There was no shortage of volunteers, and they were picked from the best men in the army.
The British Army used its aircrafts for reconnaissance.
Initially, they were unchallenged by rival aircraft, but as intelligence gained from the air
was realised, duels broke out between Allied and German aircrews,
armed with only rifles, pistols and grenades.
visit for more info.
BE2c No. 2679 Hawkes Bay New Zealand

In WW1 and WW2, provincial patriotism abounded.
One project that became "the order of the day" in many NZ cities and towns,
was to fund the purchase & presentation of an aircraft to a NZ squadron on overseas service.
Graham Duley has on this most interesting story of a first world war aircraft,
funded from donations to represent Hawkes Bay.

During World War One aircraft were presented to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC)
from public subscriptions raised throughout Britain and the Commonwealth.
Around the middle of 1915, a campaign across the Hawkes Bay Province raised about £1,500
for the "Overseas Aeroplane Fund".
Subscribers' names and amounts were published in local newspapers.

The Hawkes Bay Tribune of 20 August 1915 reported the
following cable, received from the Army Council in London:

"Army Council desires expression their great gratitude
be transmitted all subscribers ".

A few days later another item concluded with:
"The secretary has sent the following cable to England:-
'Money cabled. Call Aeroplane Hawkes Bay, N.Z. Suggest
Lady Russell, 19 Tedworth Square, Chelsea, christens.
Send photographs."
The resulting "presentation" aircraft was a BE2c No. 2679, called
"Hawkes Bay New Zealand."
Rushton Proctor at Lincoln built it under licence from the Royal Aircraft Factory
and a 90 horsepower RAF 1A engine powered it.

The naming ceremony shown in the photograph - above - was taken at
Farnborough airfield, (England), in mid-September 1915.
Lady Russell is presumed to be the person performing the "christening"
(any confirmation of this would be appreciated).

The aircraft then went to war, issued to No. 6 Squadron RFC in France, 18 October 1915.
It was damaged in combat on 19 December 1915 but the crew were unhurt and may have
damaged an opponent. After repair it was again damaged in a forced landing
on 9 April 1916 & struck off RFC charge.

The name Hawkes Bay was later used on two other WW1 aircraft: -
a Martinsyde G. 102 Elephant (No A6284), that went to France on 30 August until
eventually struck off RFC charge on 18 March 1918;
and an FE2b (No E7037) whose history is largely unknown at this point except that
it was struck off RFC charge on 18 January 1919 (help about these would also be appreciated).

NB: Public fund-raising around NZ to purchase presentation (or subscription) aircraft also happened in WW2.
In all, twenty Spitfires were purchased for 485 (NZ) Squadron serving in the RAF,
and at least two were named "Hawkes Bay".

Two of our members, (Charles Black and Dudley Payne), rounded up this menu from somewhere.
They set themselves quite a task unravelling the owners of the signatures.
This special dinner was part of a 3-day reunion,
12th. to 14th.Feb. 1965
at the Hawkes Bay Club, Marine Parade, Napier.

For many surviving NZ WW1 pilots & ground crews,
it would be the last reunion.

Many of the pilots flew in Mesopatamia with the
Australian Royal Flying Corps. True Anzacs.

Listen to a World War One March