The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J W Pye
John Walter Pye was born at Aldbourne, England on 15th November 1917. He was taken to New Zealand at the age of six, returning in early 1939 with his parents for a holiday. They planned to return on 29th September but the war intervened and they were unable to return, spending the war years in Salisbury.
Pye joined the RAF on 11th September 1939 as an Airman u/t Air Gunner. He did his initial training at North Coates, followed by a gunnery course at Jurby, Isle of Man. He qualified on 2nd March 1940 and was posted from HQ North Coates on 27th March to 236 Squadron as an Air Gunner.
In May Pye joined 25 Squadron at North Weald and was promoted to Sergeant on the 27th.
After the arrival of airborne radar, Pye remustered as a Radio Observer and retrained with the squadron. Commissioned in May 1941, Pye was posted to 1453 Flight on 17th July, operating in Turbinlite Havocs from Wittering. He moved to 1451 Flight at Hunsdon on 24th February 1942 and then to 1452 Flight at West Mailing on 3rd May.
In September 1942 Pye finished flying duties and was posted to No. 1 Air Armament School, Manby for a Specialist Armament Officers course. After this he went to Gravesend as Station Armament Officer.
On 31st January 1944 he went as Wing Armament Officer to 146 Wing at Tangmere, then forming with four squadrons of Typhoons. He went to the Continent with the Wing on 19th July.
Pye was posted away in May 1945 for repatriation to New Zealand. He arrived there on 22nd October and went on to the Reserve on 28th January 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.