The Historic Aircraft Trust and NZ Warbirds, with support from MOTAT and Perpetual Guardian, are planning an aerial salute during Les Munro's memorial service this weekend.
"As a mark of our deep respect for Mr Munro, four Harvard aircraft will perform a special flypast known as the 'missing man', weather permitting. This aerial salute given in memory of a fallen pilot is a fitting tribute to a remarkable man who put service before self in both combat and civilian life" MOTAT chief executive Michael Frawley said.
The death of Squadron Leader Les Munro in Tauranga on Tuesday made global headlines as New Zealand said farewell to one of its veteran aviation war heroes. Tributes and condolences for Mr Munro have been pouring in from around the world.
Expressing sadness at the news, Mr Frawley offered condolences to Mr Munro's loved ones.
"New Zealand has lost an officer, a gentleman and a hero but from MOTAT's perspective, we're privileged to be able to tell his story to future generations" he said.
"We are placing a book of remembrance along with a wreath near the Lancaster bomber in our Aviation Display Hall and invite members of the public to visit MOTAT and pay their last respects to Mr Munro by signing it."
Furthermore, visitors will be able to view the precious gallantry medals and original logbooks Mr Munro gifted to MOTAT this weekend, August 8 and 9 from 10am to 5pm.
MOTAT is working with Perpetual Guardian managing director Andrew Barnes who has established the NZ Bomber Command Fund through the Perpetual Guardian Foundation, which he kick-started with an initial $30,000 donation to help preserve the historical legacy of this specialised unit.
"The initial aim is to raise funds for a travelling exhibition highlighting the courage and commitment of Les Munro and the other New Zealand members of Bomber Command. This will in turn be used to fund a dedicated pavilion and archive at MOTAT" said Mr Barnes.
In March this year there was great public interest when Mr Munro offered to sell his WWII medals in London to raise funds for the upkeep of a memorial which honours his fallen comrades. However, British businessman and philanthropist Lord Ashcroft stepped in and the medals were withdrawn from auction and donated to MOTAT.
When he learnt of Mr Munro's passing, Lord Ashcroft said, "It was a great honour and pleasure to meet Mr Munro and to help him achieve his objective in relation to the Bomber Command Memorial in London while enabling his medals to be acquired by MOTAT for the benefit of New Zealand. Les was a true hero in every sense of the word and his legacy and that of Bomber Command will live on. My thoughts are with his family".
As Patron of the New Zealand Bomber Command, Les Munro has been described as "mighty man" and a "very fine person" by friends he leaves behind in the Association.