26 September 2012

Veterans and Gifts

As a doctor I am on occasion honoured to share the last years of veteran soldiers, airmen and seamen. 
I have met amazing people in my career, 
Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Rhodesian and South African Border Wars.

I have been privileged to have met Allied Veterans of El Alamein and Tobruk, Cassino and Crete, a  German Infantry survivor of Stalingrad (minus part of one limb) , an engineer that developed the tail  assembly for the Messerschmidt Me 109E, a Mustang P51 squadron leader, a Short Sunderland tail gunner, a forward airfield observer in the Pacific War, a sailor of HMS Leander and Achilles and a Lancaster Bomber pilot and A Skyhawk Squadron leader, many Infantry and Artillerymen that can all parade through my mind.

Generic Lancaster Crew Member (Not John Penman)

Tonight I was invited by the family of the late John Penman, Lancaster Pilot, who I knew for the last 12 years, to pick from his collection of over 1500 military books what I would like. His family had reserved some for their own use, and had given the War Museum at Waiuro, NZ first choice of the collection.
They chose over 400 books to preserve.

The collection spans the whole of military history, starting with the Vikings through to the Modern Soviet Army of the Cold War, Miniature Painting and Modelling and Wargaming.Many are out of print collectors items.My Library is suddenly bursting at the seams.

I will feature some of the books in posts to come.
 Thank you to Jack and Fen for your incredible generosity


  1. What a fine story, and lucky haul no doubt!

    We did once have the good fortune to be able to read through the pilots log of a WWII veteran; one of our patients who had recently passed on. His family knew of our interest in history and aircraft and while sorting his affects had found the log book. It made fascinating reading.

  2. The story does not end there. John was a keen wargamer, and his late wife a keen modeller and painter. Jack and Fen have inherited the most amazing collection of scratch built and painted cavalry (mostly British) of the Napoleonic and post Napeleonic era. Waiuro will be using some of them in a display about cavalry that will open in November, I think.There is also a collection of Crimean War and WW1 literature that will make your mouth water. Jack has agreed to bring some of the books to the Kapiti Wargames Club swap meet, as they have too many to house. If you know of someone who is interested in these periods let me know.