This large hard back book by Bob Moore contains the definitive biography of Jimmy Ward VC, and is generously supplemented throughout it’s nearly 300 pages by numerous photos, excerpts, diagrams and recollections.
On the night of 7/8th July 1941, Vickers Wellington AA-R was attacked by a night fighter whilst returning from a raid on the German City of Munster. Amidst other damage caused, bullets punctured a fuel line to the starboard engine causing a jet-like fire to emerge from the wing and desperate efforts to put out the flames proved useless.
Despite the situation, Sgt Pilot James Allen Ward, 75(NZ)Squadron, RAF, still thought he ‘had a good chance’. Aided by the Observer-Navigator, Jimmy climbed out through the astrodome and along to seat of the fire. Although he could not extinguish it completely, he succeeded in saving the wing by ripping the dopped linen fabric away from the flames. Given the freezing temperature, the prop-wash, and the aircraft bouncing around at thousands of metres above the Zuider Zee, Jimmy’s actions as he hung with one hand were heroic, and ultimately saved both his crew and the aircraft.
It was therefore announced on the 5th August 1941, that Jimmy was to be personally awarded with the Victoria Cross. But sadly, this was not to be, as shortly after the announcement Jimmy and his crew were shot down over Hamburg. Instead, his parents were presented with his medal by NZ’s Governor General, at Wellington, in October 1942.
This book covers Jimmy’s story. It tells of his family’s immigration from Coventry to New Zealand, corrects myths and previously published errors, and commemorates his bravery in the face of action.