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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:15 pm 
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Kiwi WWII pilot, POW camp survivor and inventor Jack Hardie dies, aged 97

Every year, on January 27, World War II veteran Jack Hardie parachuted out of an aeroplane.

January 27 was the day he was shot down over Holland in 1943, and the jump was to commemorate his surviving the crash and subsequent two years in a Nazi prison camp as well as those who died in the war. He kept up the tradition until he was 89.

"He had to eventually stop because his doctor said he was 89 and needed to start acting like it," his son Noel Hardie said.

John Douglas Hardie, father, inventor, farmer, WWII pilot and prison camp survivor, died on March 11. He was 97.

Born on January 17, 1919, Hardie was raised by his parents on a small farm in Timaru.
John Douglas Hardie (Jack) Hardie in front of an Oxford aeroplane at Wigram, 1942.
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John Douglas Hardie (Jack) Hardie in front of an Oxford aeroplane at Wigram, 1942.

He married Elma Abernethy in 1945 and they had five children – Rae, Duncan, Noel, Claire and Bruce.

They retired to Motueka in 1982. Hardie was widowed in 1996 when Elma died.

Noel Hardie said his father remained active, succumbing to old age only in the last few years.

A raconteur for the ages, Hardie's war stories rival those in our national history books. He wrote his own book, published in 1991: From Timaru to Stalag VIII B: A Kiwi Airman's Wartime Story.

Hardie joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in August 1941 as a pilot, training in New Zealand and the UK.

It was a requirement of all new pilots to co-pilot a mission over enemy territory before taking charge of an aeroplane, Noel Hardie said.

His father was co-piloting a Halifax bomber when it was shot down over Holland in 1943.
Jack Hardie jumped out of a plane every year until he was 89 on the anniversary of being shot down in WWII.
SUPPLIED

Jack Hardie jumped out of a plane every year until he was 89 on the anniversary of being shot down in WWII.

Only three of the seven crew survived, including Hardie.

He was sent to Stalag VIII B, a prison camp predominantly for Allied airmen, where he spent the next two years.

Noel Hardie said his father often spoke of "the boredom, the hunger and the cold".

"He said he was hungry from the day he was shot down to the day they marched out."
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When the Soviet armies resumed their offensive in January 1945, many of the prisoners were marched west in a journey later dubbed "the death march".

"They marched for 60 days, always kept in front of the Russians, with many not surviving the journey – he said at times they could hear the guns not far away."

Eventually liberated by American troops in April, he was sent back to the UK before being shipped to New Zealand in June 1945.

He was invalided for several months with injuries sustained when shot down, many of which had not healed properly while in the prison camp.

Wasting no time getting on with life, he married Elma in November 1945 in Dunedin.

They bought a sheep and cropping farm near Waimate where they lived and raised five children before moving to the West Coast in 1973.

Noel Hardie said his father invented several popular products, including a quick release ear tagger for cattle and the Hardie Strap, a low-pressure method for treating fencing posts.

In 1982 Hardie and his wife retired to Motueka "for the warmth and the lifestyle".


Posted:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christ ... es-aged-97


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