New Zealand war hero and aerial top-dressing pioneer, Guy Robertson, has finally been recognized for his outstanding and long-standing services to aviation. It’s been a long time coming but the Guild of Aviation Pilots and Aviation Engineers have awarded the 96 year old veteran the Jean Batten Memorial Trophy. The award honours his services to both military and agricultural aviation. Mr Robertson’s career involved piloting Kittyhawk and Corsair fighter aircraft over the Pacific in World War II and he helped to kick-start the top-dressing industry by flying Tiger Moth biplanes off makeshift strips perched over steep terrain.
He’s put in the hard yards but wants to make one more long journey…to the UK. “I could have received the award in Auckland, but I considered it a moral obligation to make the effort to attend the banquet event at London’s Guildhall,” he said at his home in Katikati during last-minute preparations for the long flight with his wife, Elaine.
His 96 years included a flight instructor posting in the air force before three tours of duty flying fighter escorts for United States’ bombers over the Pacific. A few thousand final kilometres to pick up his prize doesn’t phase him as he added, mischievously, “we’re going business class and a lot of the time you lie down, because I’ll be 97 next birthday.”