For amateur historians and trivia collectors everywhere

Location: Masterton, New Zealand

I survived school history despite the best efforts of the education system to bore me to death. Many years later, I discovered Treaties, dates, the movement of nations, are mere context. The fascination is in the details.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Welcome to my first post. What can you expect from this blog? The title is your best clue. You might find a bias towards the Wairarapa region, north-east of Wellington, New Zealand, because that's where I live - but I'll try to keep it interesting.

I went to a book launch last weekend. "Ketchil: A New Zealand pilot's war in Asia and the Pacific" was written by Neil Frances and follows the WWII exploits of a local man, Vic Bargh. The venue couldn't have been better - Hanger 14 at Hood Aerodrome. We were surrounded by the aircraft collection of the Old Stick and Rudder Company, including a Chance Vaught Corsair - the last aircraft type (of 17) flown by Vic.
Neil surprised Vic by presenting him with a 1/48th scale model of his old Brewster Buffalo made, and donated, by Garth Didlick of Oregon. The gift was a well kept secret and arrived from America only 2 days before the launch.
Why Ketchil? That was a name given to Vic by his fellow pilots. It's a corruption of a Malayan word meaning small - he was the smallest man in the squadron.

The book is published by the Wairarapa Archive and you can see more photos of the launch party on my Flickr page.


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