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The Airmen's Stories - F/O M C Kinder


Maurice Craig Kinder, the son of a surgeon, was born in Parnell, Auckland on 29th May 1913. He made his first flight in 1931, to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

In 1933 he was one of six people selected from three thousand for a scholarship at the Auckland Aero Club for lessons up to ‘A’ licence.

He built and flew a Flying Flea in 1935 but his plan to build the aircraft for sale in New Zealand did not come about.



Kinder applied for a short service commission in the RAF and was provisionally accepted in December 1937. He sailed for the UK in February 1938 in the RMS Remuera.

He began his training at No.1 E&RFTS Hatfield on 4th April and went on to 5 FTS Sealand on 18th June.

With the course completed, Kinder was posted to No. 1 Air Armament School Manby on 13th May 1939 as a staff pilot. He moved to 5 Air Observers School Jurby on 7th September and carried out staff pilot duties until 11th June 1940, when he went to 4 (C) Ferry Pilot Pool.

On 3rd September Kinder was posted to 7 OTU Hawarden and after converting to Spitfires joined 85 Squadron at Church Fenton on 16th September. He moved to 607 Squadron at Tangmere on the 29th and then to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 13th October.

Kinder destroyed two Ju87s on 1st November but was himself shot down by Me109s. Wounded and weak from loss of blood, he managed to crash-land beside the Ramsgate-Canterbury road. Some Australian soldiers came up and, thinking him dead, took his helmet, gloves and buttons as souvenirs. They were somewhat surprised when Kinder came to and swore at them.

Too weak to climb out of the cockpit, he waited until an ambulance came to take him to Chartham Military Hospital. He was transferred to the RAF Uxbridge Hospital. After convalescence at Torquay he rejoined 92 Squadron, then at Manston.

On 5th February 1941 Kinder was posted to 91 Squadron at Hawkinge, in mid-March he went to HQ Fighter Command, on 7th April to 58 OTU Grangemouth as an instructor and on 7th July to CFS Upavon for an instructors course. Kinder went to 61 OTU Heston on 18th September.

On 5th December 1941 he was posted to No. 1 Beam Approach School Watchfield for a course, and on the 22nd he went to Drem to help form 1528 VHF Beam Approach Training Flight.

Eager to return to operations, the CO there later arranged for Kinder to take command, which he officially did on 21st June 1942. He was posted to Hunsdon on 11th November 1942 to form and command 1530 BAT Flight, which was visited by HM the King.

Kinder went to a staff job at HQ ADGB Bentley Priory on 13th November 1943, transferred to the RNZAF on 15th December and was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1944).

He was posted to HQ 83 Group on 21st May 1944, moved to HQ 2nd TAF on 23rd June and went to Brussels on 21st October on 85 Group Air Movements.

After returning to England in early March 1945, Kinder was posted to 59 OTU Acklington as CGI. He returned to New Zealand on 30th June 1946 and went on to the Reserve on 18th October.

He died on 9th January 1988.


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