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Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary (seated), WCDR (retired) Bill Cranfield (standing behind Sir Ed) and the P-3 crew. WN-07-0035-08-tn.jpg.

Image right: Sir Edmund Hillary (seated), WCDR (retired) Bill Cranfield (standing behind Sir Ed) and the P-3 crew. WN-07-0035-08-tn.jpg.

Sir Edmund Hillary served with No.5 Squadron from September 1944 until the end of WWII as a Navigator on the Catalina Flying Boats. He was posted to Lauthala Bay in Fiji for the majority of his time serving with No.5 Squadron.

No.5 Squadron had a strong presence at the state funeral for Sir Edmund Hillary. FLTLT Kate Mills and FGOFF Pete Jackson were insignia bearers, and W/O Naihi Norman, and ex- No.5 Squadron Ordnanceman W/O Dave Lark were part of the Bearer party. As a Squadron, we were also officially invited to attend the funeral in respect for his association with No.5 Squadron. It was a great honour and a very moving day for all those involved to represent the time that he had served with No.5 Squadron.

Some members from No.5 Squadron had a very special meeting with Sir Ed in Jan 2007 when he was down at Antarctica for the 50th Anniversary of the RNZAF’s involvement in Antarctica.

Insignia bearers, FLTLT Kate Mills and FGOFF Pete Jackson, at Sir Edmund Hillary’s state funeral, 22 Jan 2008. MC-08-0035-06-tn.jpg.

Image left: Insignia bearers, FLTLT Kate Mills and FGOFF Pete Jackson, at Sir Edmund Hillary’s state funeral, 22 Jan 2008.   MC-08-0035-06-tn.jpg.

Sir Ed signed $5 notes for all the crew and had photos taken with him. Sir Ed also enjoyed re-telling his adventures as a Navigator on the Catalina’s, and some of the experiences he had with No.5 Squadron. Needless-to-say, navigation was much more difficult in his day! This was an occasion not to be forgotten by any of the crew, cherished memories forever of a great man.

Sir Ed was No.5 Squadron’s patron, and we had always felt a strong sense of admiration and respect for him. A painting of him that was donated to No.5 Squadron hangs proudly at our front door.

Sir Ed always had a soft spot for No.5 Squadron; we always had and always will have a soft spot for him. May he rest in peace, and his legacy always be remembered for generations to come.