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Air Commodore Thomas Francis Gill, CBE, DSO (31 January 1917 – 1 March 1982), generally known as Frank Gill, was a New Zealand air force pilot and politician. He flew with the Royal Air Force throughout the Second World War and afterwards served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force until 1969. He entered Parliament as a National Party MP in 1969 and served as a cabinet minister from 1975 to 1980, when he resigned to become New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States.


Frank Gill

New Zealand Ambassador to the United States
In office
1981–1982
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir David Beattie
Preceded byMerwyn Norrish
Succeeded bySir Lance Adams-Scheider
27th Minister of Defence
In office
13 December 1978 – 21 August 1980
Prime MinisterRobert Muldoon
Preceded byAllan McCready
Succeeded byDavid Thomson
Minister of Police
In office
13 December 1978 – 21 August 1980
Prime MinisterRobert Muldoon
Preceded byAllan McCready
Succeeded byBen Couch
24th Minister of Health
In office
12 December 1975 – 13 December 1978
Prime MinisterRobert Muldoon
Preceded byTom McGuigan
Succeeded byGeorge Gair
Minister of Immigration
In office
12 December 1975 – 13 December 1978
Prime MinisterRobert Muldoon
Preceded byFraser Colman
Succeeded byJim Bolger
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for East Coast Bays
In office
1972–1980
Succeeded byGary Knapp
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Waitemata
In office
1969–1971
Preceded byNorman King
Succeeded byMichael Bassett
Personal details
Born31 January 1917
Wellington, New Zealand
Died1 March 1982(1982-03-01) (aged 65)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyNational
RelationsMark Mitchell (grandson)
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
New Zealand
Branch/serviceRoyal Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Years of service1937–1969
RankAir Commodore
CommandsOperations Group RNZAF
Deputy Chief of Air Staff
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsCommander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Born in Wellington on 31 January 1917 to Tom and Adelaide Gill (née Latto), Gill was educated at St. Patrick's College, Wellington.[2] Gill was one of eight children.[3]

Air force careerEdit

Gill joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in 1937 and transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1939.[2] He flew Fairey Battle light bombers during the Battle of France, Hawker Hurricane fighters in the Battle of Britain, and later flew on night bombing raids.[4] He was a flying officer with No. 75 Squadron RAF on 23 September 1941 when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[5]

Gill attended RAF Staff College, Bulstrode Park and the Joint Services Staff College at Latimer House, and returned to the RNZAF following the war. He served as New Zealand's armed forces attaché in Washington, D.C. from 1957 to 1959 and senior air staff officer of the Commonwealth air forces in Singapore from 1960 to 1962. Gill was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1961 New Year Honours.[6] He was Deputy Chief of Air Staff with the rank of air commodore from 1965, and served as Air Officer Commanding Operations Group RNZAF at Whenuapai from 1965 to 1969.[2]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1969–1972 36th Waitemata National
1972–1975 37th East Coast Bays National
1975–1978 38th East Coast Bays National
1978–1980 39th East Coast Bays National

Gill represented the Waitemata electorate in the New Zealand Parliament from 1969 to 1972, and then the East Coast Bays electorate from 1972 to 1980, when he resigned to take up the post of New Zealand Ambassador to the United States.[7]

Gill was a cabinet minister, and held the positions of Minister of Health (1975–1978),[8][9] Minister of Immigration (1975–1978),[8][9] Minister of Defence (1978–21 August 1980)[10][11] and Minister of Police (1978–1980)[10][11] in the Third National Government.[12]

On 25 August 1980, Gill was granted the right to retain the title The Honourable on his retirement as a member of the Executive Council of New Zealand.[13]

Ambassador to Washington and deathEdit

Gill was New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States from 1981 until his death.[14] Gill was hospitalised at Georgetown University Hospital on 16 February 1982 and returned to New Zealand on a stretcher[4] shortly before his death in Auckland on 1 March 1982. His ashes were buried in the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association section at North Shore Memorial Park.

Gill's grandson, Mark Mitchell, was elected to parliament in 2011.[15]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ https://teara.govt.nz/en/cartoon/57/lampooning-immigration-policies
  2. ^ a b c "About New Zealand: The Honourable Frank Gill". www.historyforsale.com/. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Adelaide Gill nee Latto". www.niddfamily.blogspot.com/.
  4. ^ a b "Frank Gill, New Zealand ambassador". Lakeland Ledger. 1 March 1982. p. 11. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  5. ^ "No. 35283". The London Gazette. 23 September 1941. p. 5522.
  6. ^ "No. 42233". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 December 1960. p. 8927.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 199.
  8. ^ a b "Ministers Appointed" (12 December 1975) 111 The New Zealand Gazette 2980.
  9. ^ a b "Resignation of Ministers" (13 December 1978) 107 The New Zealand Gazette 3405.
  10. ^ a b "Ministers Appointed" (13 December 1978) 107 The New Zealand Gazette 3405 at 3406.
  11. ^ a b "Resignation of Minister" (22 August 1980) 97 The New Zealand Gazette 2505.
  12. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 95.
  13. ^ "Retention of the Title 'The Honourable'" (4 September 1980) 105 The New Zealand Gazette 2609 at 2616.
  14. ^ The New Zealand Almanac by Max Lambert and Ron Palenski, (1982, Moa Press)
  15. ^ Alexander, Miriyana (27 March 2011). "In the line of duty". The Sunday Star-Times. Retrieved 11 February 2013.

ReferencesEdit

  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Norman King
Member of Parliament for Waitemata
1969–1972
Succeeded by
Michael Bassett
New constituency Member of Parliament for East Coast Bays
1972–1980
Succeeded by
Gary Knapp
Political offices
Preceded by
Tom McGuigan
Minister of Health
1975–1978
Succeeded by
George Gair
Preceded by
Fraser Colman
Minister of Immigration
1975–1978
Succeeded by
Jim Bolger
Preceded by
Allan McCready
Minister of Defence
1978–1980
Succeeded by
David Thomson
Minister of Police
1978–1980
Succeeded by
Ben Couch
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Merwyn Norrish
Ambassador to the United States
1980–1982
Succeeded by
Lance Adams-Schneider