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Royal New Zealand Air Force



As the peacetime expansion of the RNZAF was planned to be completed in 1941, there were in 1939 many deficiencies of all types of equipment. The immediate expansion at the beginning of the war made it necessary to improvise, and to explore the possibilities of having goods made locally, to fill the gaps. Aircraft for the training scheme were still arriving. The Vildebeestes already in the country, twelve in number, had been new when they were bought and were in good condition. The Baffin aircraft of the Territorial squadrons, however, were secondhand and required much work to keep them serviceable. Other aircraft imported for training were Fairey Gordons and Vickers Vincents. Both these types had seen long service in the Middle East. Some of them, in addition, had been stored for a considerable time and various parts, particularly rubber parts, had deteriorated badly. Spare parts were in short supply and an even greater difficulty was caused by a lack of machine tools. These factors put a heavy strain on the Assembly Depot at Hobsonville and on the maintenance organisation throughout the RNZAF.

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Supplies of uniforms and clothing were also difficult to obtain, largely because of the heavy Army contracts which were being filled.

Large orders for all types of equipment were placed in the United Kingdom through the New Zealand Liaison Officer in London, Wing Commander Wallingford, and efforts were also made to procure goods from Australia. In New Zealand a Defence Purchasing Committee was formed to explore the possibilities of local resources. By the end of the year the immediate deficiencies were remedied, with the exception of some types of equipment which could not be made in New Zealand and which it was impossible to obtain immediately from overseas.