Husband of Suzanne and the late Ghita and Martha
Acting Pilot Officer 1 April 1939
Pilot Officer 23 October 1939
Flying Officer 23 October 1940
Flight Lieutenant 23 October 1941
Transferred to RNZAF 1 January 1944.
Squadron Leader 1 July 1945
Mentioned in New Years Honours List 1946
Squadron Leader 1 August 1947
Wing Commander 1 January 1954
Returned to NZ March 1947 and joined Reserve 12 June 1947. Was offered a permanent commission with the RAF in September 1947, taking effect from 12 February 1948 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He accepted and returned to the UK on SS 'Waipawa' in January. Went on refresher course on Mosquitos to RAF Hunsdon. After completion promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to command 85 Squadron at West Malling. He held this position until January 1950 when he went to Cherry Point, North Carolina for service with the 2nd Marine Air Division Fighter Group.
In 1951 Gard'ner joined 533 Marine Squadron at El Toro, Southern California as Operations Officer. The squadron was reequipping with Douglas Skynight fighters and working up to go into action in Korea.
He returned to America in 1952 where he married for the second time, his first wife having died the previous year. He then returned to the UK and at the end of the year was posted to RAF, Box, in 10 Group Fighter Control Centre as Ops/Controller, with the rank of Wing Commander. In late 1954 he was appointed Liaison Officer at the Anti-Aircraft Artillery School in NSW.
In 1956 he went to the RAF Flying College at Manby. After completing the course in which he flew Hunters, Meteors and Canberras, Gard'ner was awarded his 'pfc' and moved to RAF, Leeming as Wing Commander, Flying and Wing Commander, Radar-Training at a Night-Fighter Operational Conversion unit.
Gard'ner went overseas at the end of 1958 with a posting to RAF Aden as Wing Commander, Ops.
He returned to England in early 1961 as supernumeracy at the Administration HQ, Air Ministry, as Acting Group Captain, for training and briefing for Air Attache duties after which he was appointed to Embassy Staff in Brussels as British Air Attache Duties. In England in September 1964, he became ill with tuberculosis. He returned to Brussels in February 1965 and on 14 June retired from RAF.
Retired June 1976 to near Tauranga.
Portrait in Wynn, K. (1981). RMS Rangitata was a New Zealand Shipping Company vessel. It was build in 1929, was 16,737 tons, 552 feet long, 70 feet beam and could travel at 15 knots. It had a refrigerating capacity of 446,000 cubic feet. It was normally employed in the United Kingdom-New Zealand trade but when war broke out it was repainted and began a new career. One of its first tasks was to take Anzacs to Suez and from there carried on to England with her holds full of frozen produce. During the war years she covered over a quarter of a million miles. Countries visited included Panama, Jamaica, Australia, Ceylon, Arabia, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Natal, Spain, Madagascar, Mauritius, Pitcairn, Argentine, Uruguay, Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Trinidad, Malta, South Africa, Gambia, Algeria and the United States. Amongst those who travelled on board were the Royal Marines, Polish volunteers (from the Argentine, British evacuee children to New Zealand, United States wounded, German and Italian prisoners of war, Wrens in transit to Rhodesia, 'Desert Rats', West Africans, Canadian war brides, G.I. Joes for D Day, and the First Echelon of New Zealanders from Trentham. The ship had a crew of just over 200 and could accommodate 2600 troops. The Battle of Britain: 10 July - 31 October 1940 AWMM