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CPL FENTON TISDALL 27.11.76 - 31.12.05

‘A VALUED AND VISIBLE CONTRIBUTOR’

FLTLT MATT ABBOTT

Acting Corporal F.W. Tisdall of No. 5 Squadron tragically passed away as the result of a motorcycle accident near Cromwell on 31 December 2005. His funeral was held with full military honours in Dunedin on Tuesday 10 January with a large contingent of RNZAF personnel attending.

ACPL Fenton Tisdall joined the RNZAF on 16 January 2001 as an Air Force Cadet with the ambition of completing his training as an Armament Technician. From the very beginning he was noted as being a conscientious and determined airman who gave 100% to the classroom and practical environments. Fenton completed his basic engineering course in September 2002 and then went on to complete his Armament Mechanic Course in January of 2002. It was after this course that he got his first taste of No. 5 Squadron and his armourer brethren through a posting to Base Auckland.

Following his Armament Technician’s Course he was posted back to Auckland in December of 2003, to the Armament Engineering Section. One year later Fenton found himself returning to No.5 Squadron, where he was immediately effective thanks to his previous experience and undeniable enthusiasm for the job. Over this past year Fenton, possessing a natural determination and solid work ethic, has progressed to the rank of Acting Corporal and was due to attend his Corporal Qualification Course the week after returning from Christmas leave. Making the rank of Acting Corporal in just 5 years is testament to Fenton’s hard work and, while not necessarily something he consciously strode for, is the result of his ability and willingness to accept responsibility.

Perhaps most telling of Fenton’s ambitions was his stated main reason for wanting to join the RNZAF, which was: ‘to improve myself and to be part of an elite organisation

  • -

    helping to save lives, directly or indirectly is the most job satisfaction available’.

Clearly Fenton gained work satisfaction through doing the best he could and making a difference. His work at No.5 Squadron was no exception to this, where he did make a visible and valued contribution in his professional and modest way.

His senior NCOs will tell you that far from being a clock-watcher, Fenton was just the opposite. Be it the end of work for the day or just a lunch break Fenton’s dedication was such that his desire to complete the work at hand would often see him working beyond official ‘tools down time’. Invariably his Senior NCOs would have to step in to remind Fenton that it was quite all right to take lunch or go home.

Fenton was very much the quiet achiever - the backbone of any successful organi- sation, who didn’t ask for much but always gave his all. He had a close-knit circle of friends, with whom he could be regularly seen discussing his latest motorcycle adventure during breaks at work. He will be sorely missed amongst the armourer brotherhood, all his No. 5 Squadron mates and friends and colleagues throughout the RNZAF.

No. 5 Squadron wishes to thank all RNZAF and NZDF elements involved in the organisation of A/Cpl Tisdall’s funeral. His family was overwhelmed by the support provided by the RNZAF and was most appreciative of the rapid response to ease their burden while they coped with their loss.

Air Vice-Marshal William Hector Stratton, CB, CBE, DFC*, mid, RNZAF, distinguished war hero and post-war Air Force leader. B. Hastings July 22, 1916; m 1954 Dorothy; 1s, 2d; d Perth, Australia, December 27, 2005.

Air Vice-Marshal ‘Bill’ Stratton was one of New Zealand’s most decorated airmen. His service was unique in that he served as a fighter pilot in no less than three different theatres of the war - France 1939-40, Middle East 1943-44, India/Burma 1944.

He was engaged in active flying duties virtually for the entire period of the war and except for a period in Rhodesia as a flying instructor in the Empire Air Training Scheme, all his flying involved demanding combat roles. His wartime record was, therefore, not just distinguished and successful, but quite exceptional.

Stratton’s career spanned not only three operational theatres but a total of 34 years of service in the Royal Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force and culminated in him holding the appointment of Chief of the Air Staff during 1969-1971. In the post-war period he was successful in a wide range of command and staff appointments - including a term in the Occupation Forces in Japan (1947-48) and as Head of the New Zealand Defence Liaison Staff in Canberra in the 1950s and as CAS, leading the RNZAF.

Born in Hastings on 22 July 1916, Stratton joined the RAF on 12 July 1937 shortly before he turned 21. At the outbreak of war in September 1939 he went to France with No 1 Squadron RAF flying Hurricane fighters. Early in 1940 he shared in the destruction of the first Messerschmitt Me110 to be shot down by the RAF over France when a section of three Hurricanes intercepted nine of the new enemy fighters. His combat report records he “endeavoured to turn on to the enemy nearest me, but immediately went into a spin. A number of Messerschmitts were firing their rear guns. I recovered from my spin and was beginning a steep climb when a 110 dived past in front of me, so I made a steep diving turn on to his tail. He made little effort to shake me off and I expended all my ammunition. When I broke

AFN67 FEBRUARY 06

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