March Hero honours Coast pilot's sacrifice
  • Friday 06 October 2017
March Hero launch

The second edition of March Hero which tells the life of young Nambour pilot Jim Hocking whose sacrifice saved an English town from potential destruction in World War II is now available.

Updated by author Dot Whittington who originally published the book 10 years ago, March Hero's new edition was officially launched by Mayor Mark Jamieson at Nambour RSL today in front of an audience that included members of the Hocking family.

Pilot Officer Hocking was flying a Stirling Bomber during a training exercise in World War II when the engine of his aircraft caught fire.

The rest of the crew parachuted out, but the 21-year-old pilot refused to leave after he realised the plane was heading straight for the town of March, in the Cambridgeshire area.

Pilot Officer Hocking saved the township but lost his own life when the bomber crashed in a nearby field in July 1944.

In 2015, he received the Star of Courage, the second highest bravery honour in Australia.

Mayor Jamieson said the second edition had been produced and printed with funding from Sunshine Coast Council and would be a welcome addition to our council libraries, adding to the six copies of the first edition that have been well read over the years.

"I’m sure everyone who has read March Hero will agree Dot has done a wonderful job in telling Jim’s story," Mayor Jamieson said.

"My congratulations and thanks go to Dot for all the time and dedication she has put into ensuring our March Hero is always remembered.

"I’ve been fortunate to visit March on two occasions – the latest just a couple of months ago – and I know how close to their hearts the community there hold the memory of pilot officer Jim Hocking and how committed they are that his story will never be forgotten.

"Here on the Sunshine Coast, the Hocking story is now much better known among our residents thanks to the efforts of many people over the years."

Mayor Jamieson visited the Fenland District Council in Cambridgeshire in September to reaffirm the Charter of Mutual Friendship between the Sunshine Coast and Fenland.

- Photo: Alan Hocking with author Dot Whittington and Mayor Mark Jamieson