When Bruce Wallace retired from flying in 1971 he could look back on a truly remarkable career in aviation. Born and raised in Invercargill, the southernmost town in New Zealand, he commenced pilot training in the RNZAF in September 1940 in order to join the Commonwealth forces pledged to defend the far-away UK.
After marrying Sylvia, also from Invercargill, who he would not see again for four years, he set sail for England, where he joined RAF Bomber Command, to fly Wellingtons with 150 Squadron and Stirlings with 214 Squadron on two full tours of operations, during which he was twice awarded the DFC.
Appalled at the aircrew losses, particularly amongst Stirling Squadrons, he was inspired to develop better training methods with more precise checklists, which contributed to greater effectiveness and saved lives.
When hostilities were over Bruce joined BOAC (later British Airways long-haul division) and was to be one of the first jet airline pilots in the world, flying the ill-fated de Haviland Comet I, as a route captain, instructor & pilot examiner.
He went on to fly the successful Comet 4 as Training Manager and also flew the last all-British long-haul airliner, the Vickers VC10.
In 1970 he was Captain for a number of sectors of the Royal Flight conveying HM the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Ann on their Tour of Australasia during which he enjoyed the company of the Duke of Edinburgh in the cockpit during the take-off and landing phases of the flight.
Although always a proud New Zealander, Bruce dedicated himself to British aviation and lived in the UK for the rest of his life. He died in 1999 and this memoir, written in 1977, was posthumously prepared for publication by his son Donald.