Aircraftman Lord entered Electrical and Wireless School (E&WS) Wigram in Class W16 on 14 December 1940. "Our class was unique in that we received no basic military training as was the general practice either at Levin or Woodbourne. Because wireless personnel had recently been taken prisoner by a German raider off the troopship Rangitane, if memory serves me right, it was decided that W16 would be given a pressure cooker course at Wigram to replace them. Being in civilian clothes for some time and lacking any military sense of discipline we were the despair of Station Warrant Officer Duncan, known throughout the service as "the Bull" (he had a roar like one)."
Mr Lord embarked on the Ship Awatea, escorted by the cruiser Achilles, which called at Suva and later off Hawaii the Canadian cruiser Prince Rupert took over from Achilles until we embarked at Vancouver, thence overland by CNR Railway to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we were held up by an epidemic of measles for five weeks, thus enabling E & W class W17 to catch up with us.
We embarked at Halifax on the troopship Andes with five other transports and an escort of two British battleships, Repulse and Ramilles, twelve destroyers and a Dutch anti-aircraft cruiser. The battleships kept station throughout in the middle of the convoy, presumably the safest spot for protection from U-boats.
I disembarked in the UK on 20 May 1941 and was posted to Coastal Command Station RAF Limavady in County Down, Northern Ireland on 7 July 1941. This station was where two squadrons - 468 Hudsons and 502 Whitleys- were based.
While in the United Kingdom I was reunited with my brother Charles Norman Lord who passed through the E & W School, in class 9 and who had been stationed at
RAF station Scampton, Lincolnshire for some months. He joined me at Limavady in Northern Ireland having exercised his right as older brother to claim me as was the custom sanctioned by the British forces at that time. We volunteered for further overseas service and travelled to India together, both being posted to 22 Army Air Support Control. The troopship to Bombay was a chartered Dutchliner Johan van Oldenbarnevelt which visited Auckland after the war as a cruise liner. Brother Norman departed after the 1943 Qatar campaign for an observers course in RAF South Africa. He spent the remainder of the war there leaving me the only Colonial in 22 AASC.
"I was admitted to the British Military Hospital in Shillong, Assam, India. The hospital was converted from Loreto convent and the nuns were still resident and visited daily with Holy cards and texts. I was nursed at one stage by the only New Zealand nurse, Sister I Belle) Atkinson of the British nursing Corps (QAIMNS). I have since met her at Burma Star reunions while she was resident in Hamilton, but she now living in Ballajura in Australia.
On being released from hospital I spent the 1943 and 1944 campaigns on the quattar with 22 AASC. Then from July 1944 until September 1944 I was at the Air Crew Recreational Centre, RAF with the honourary rank of Auxiliary Climbing Instructor situated at Camp Sonemarg in the Karakorums Range on the Old Silk Road to Chinese Turkestan. The camp was at an altitude of 9000 feet and lay in a valley adjacent to Thajiwas Glaciers Nos. 1, 3 and 3. Number 1 was crossed roped together and with ice axes, but without an issue of crampons, and in our ordinary army boots, an exercise not to be recommended for the faint hearted. It was a four day tramp from Srinagar, capital of Kashmir, and I walked it after being sent down to recover from a shingles attack.
The camp climbing instructors proper were from the RAF. Wing Commander Smythe who had Mt Everest experience prewar, Group Captain Whittle, a geologist prewar, who had climbed out Mt Cook with the Hermitage Chief Guide, the late Guide Bowie. Also, seconded from the Army, was a Captain Noyce who prewar had taken a bad tumble in the Swiss Alps requiring facial skin graft surgery to repair him.
After recovery I went to Gulmarg, a ski resort outside Srinagar. I arrived back in Wellington, New Zealand on 31 October 1944 and was posted to RNZAF Signals, Waiouru. The troopship from Bombay to Wellington was an American Trooper General Randall. On board were a number of Polish Refugee children picked up at Aden in the Persian Gulf and bound for the rehabilitation training camp at Pahiatua. One of them aged nine at the time later married my wife's sister in Palmerston North. The world is very small.
I reckon I should have stayed at Gulmarg and let the RNZAF lose me, as it would have been more preferable to the posting to Waiouru., where I was so cold I had to marry a Taihape girl to keep me warm.
I then went to Electrical and Wireless School, Wigram for a refresher course, and finally to Air Department Signals, Herd street, Wellington. I was discharged on 6 January 1946."
On his return from the war Mr Lord qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Secretary.
WWII RNZAF. Served with the British 14th Army in Burma. Husband of Lois. AWMM