WW2 NZ flying ace dies in England

A New Zealander who caught the flying bug after a joyride in 1928 with pioneering Australian aviator Charles Kingsford Smith then was a World War 2 fighter ace has died in England.

Peter Hall, born in Opotiki on May 16 1922, died on May 22.

Flight Lieutenant Hall was a school teacher before joining the RNZAF in July 1941. After training he was sent to Britain where he joined a Spitfire photographic reconnaissance unit.

In July 1943 he joined 488 (NZ) Squadron, at that time stationed in Scotland and flying night defence patrols in Beaufighters. Mr Hall teamed up with Pilot Officer R D Marriott, an RAF navigator.

The pair chalked up eight confirmed kills including five Junkers 88s, a Messerschmidt 410, and two Dornier 217s.

Both men were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in July 1944, while Flt Lt Hall was awarded a bar to the DFC in August.

After the war he remained in Britain and became an aircraft salesman with de Havilland.

In the early 1950s he accompanied the inaugural flight of the Comet to New Zealand, and later arranged the sale of Hawker Siddeley aircraft to Sir Harry Wigley, founder of Mt Cook Airlines.

In 1972 he established a woodcraft business Peter Hall & Son Limited in the Lakes district of Cumbria.

Mr Hall caught the flying bug as a boy, when his clergyman father shelled out 10 shillings ($1) for him to go on a flight in 1928 with Mr Smith.

His English wife, Mary, died last year. The couple are survived by three children and many grandchildren.


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