MILLER Hayden Hugh James
NZ1996 & 132166 & 43041, Wing Commander, Royal New Zealand Air Force, WW2

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) (Military)
Gazetted New Year Honours 1946
Wing Commander MILLER has been employed as the Chief Instructor at this unit for nearly a year.  During this time the Training Wing has been completely re-organised and has changed its record within 93 Group from being the station which had sustained the greatest number of flying accidents per hour flow, to a station with the fewest number of accidents per hour flown.   For the first three months of the year no less than 6800 hours per accident were flown which was in itself a very notable achievement.  In additio, during one month the unit achieved top place in every subject in the Group Order of Merit.  This outstanding improvement has been largely the result of Wing Commander MILLER's self-sacrificing efforts and devotion to duty.  He has always been available at all hours of the day and night and his efficiency and unstinting application to his work has won the confidence and respect of all personnel on the Wing and on the station

Distinguished Flying Cross
Gazetted 6 June 1941
This officer has completed numerous operational missions.  Throughout these flights he has displayed great determination and a complete disregard of enemy opposition .  He has attacked many objectives in enemy and enemy occupied territory with marked success.  On one occasion he completed an operation over Turin in almost impossible conditions.  His courage and skill have inspired confidence in every crew of which he has acted as captain.

Air Force Cross
Gazetted 8 June 1944
This officer has been employed as Group flying instructor at this unit (HQ 91 Group) since November 1943.  Previously, as a flying instructor and flight commander he did outstanding work in No 22 OTU.  His new duties, which he has performed with conspicuous success, entailed visiting all Operational Training Units, where he examined and tested flying instructors and air crews under training in their various duties, both in the air, by day and night, and on the ground, paying particular attention to detail.  To this work, Squadron Leader MILLER has brought the utmost tact, patience and efficiency.  He has competed a total of 680 hours flying on OTU instructional duties.

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 11 June 1942
For meritorious service with 22OTU RAF.
(As a Flt Lt he had participated in the 1000 bomber raids of 30/31 May and 1/2 June 1942)

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted New Year 1943
For meritorious service with 22OTU, 91 Group RAF.

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 14 June 1944
For meritorious service with Headquarters 91 Group RAF.

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 14 June 1945
For meritorious service with 24 OTU RAF.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) (Military)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Force Cross
1939-45 Star
Air Crew Europe Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Mention in Despatches [4]
New Zealand War Service Medal

Born 31 March 1914 Eureka, Waikato, New Zealand
Died 7 July 2009 Blenheim, New Zealand

New Zealand Herald 1:38 PM Wednesday Jul 8, 2009
Highly decorated World War 2 airman Wing Commander Hugh Miller, survivor of a ditching in the North Sea after a horror bombing operation before winning plaudits for dramatically cutting accident rates at training units, has died in Blenheim.

Mr Miller's death yesterday at the age of 95 was reported in a newspaper death notice today.

Hayden Hugh James Miller ended the war with an OBE, a DFC, an Air Force Cross (AFC) and no fewer than four mentions in dispatches.

Born March 31, 1914, Mr Miller was teaching at a Hamilton school when he decided he wanted to be an airman. He was granted an RAF short-service commission in 1939 and reached England three days before the outbreak of war.

His first posting, to 77 Squadron in Yorkshire at the height of the Battle of Britain in 1940, was a taste of things to come.

He took all day on a slow train to reach the squadron's base at Linton-on-Ouse and arrived to find he was on operations that night.

"They were so short of pilots at that stage," he later remembered.

"We bombed invasion barges at Calais."

Mr Miller did 10 trips as a second pilot, then was given command of his own Whitley, an ungainly, antiquated, twin-engined aircraft that was unheated and carried rudimentary navigation aids.

On Guy Fawkes night 1940 Mr Miller bombed Turin, lumbering over the Alps to Italy. On the return leg the bomber encountered atrocious weather, strong winds pushed the aircraft far to the east and the radio operator could not get bearings or fixes. The bomber and its four-man crew were hopelessly lost.

The airmen guessed they might be over France's Cherbourg Peninsula. Instead they were over the North Sea when daylight broke, flying up England's east coast but out of sight of land and headed for the Arctic.

Mr Miller's desperation decision saved them. "I said, `let's turn northwest and see if we can find something that way'."

At last they were flying toward England but still didn't know it.

Finally, after a numbing 12 hours 50 minutes and out of petrol, Mr Miller made an amazing landing in 3m waves - alongside a navy patrol boat that just happened to be there.

The patrol crew told Mr Miller he had ditched just outside a minefield on England's northeast coast.

Awarded the DFC after his tour finished, Mr Miller spent most of the rest of the war at bomber units, refining training and maintenance manuals and pilot training instructions. He had been told by air force authorities to try to cut the horrendous accident rate that was killing hundreds of young airmen.

His OBE, AFC and mentions in dispatches were awarded for his outstanding work in this field.

The citation for the OBE, awarded in 1946, noted his year-long work at one station had cut the unit's record from one with the highest number of accidents to the one with the fewest.

Mr Miller transferred to the RNZAF in late 1943 and was part of the New Zealand contingent at the Victory Parade in London in June 1946.

He is survived by his wife, son and four daughters.