Ace Pilot and Farmer
Former Sergeant-Pilot Geoffrey Bryson Fisken, the British Commonwealth’s No. 1 fighter pilot in the Pacific during WW2, has died at age 96 in Rotorua. He had spent much of his postwar years as a sheep farmer. He was stationed in Singapore, the site of a major British naval base, when the Japanese invaded Malaya on December 8, 1941, the day after their attack on Pearl Harbour, and he went aloft to confront Japanese planes as a member of a vastly outnumbered British air squadron. By mid-January 1942, Fisken, flying American-made Brewster Buffaloes, had shot down six Japanese fighters or bombers, according to the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum. That was one more than the number required to be an “ace.” When he would shoot down a Japanese plane, Fisken recalled in the oral-history interview, he could “usually sleep quite easily.” But one day he thought about the families of the fallen Japanese pilots. As he told it, “This day I thought if I had been shot down, my mother would have been terribly upset … They had mothers, too.” He is survived by five sons, Bob, Michael, Peter, Antony and John; a daughter, Kathryn Noble; 16 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. His wife, Rhoda, died in 1997.
Geoffrey Bryson Fisken: 17 February 1916 – 12 June 2011