Soldier, Sailor, Aussie, Spy

Adventurer returning to Kāpiti Coast

By Alan Tristram

A quiet adventurer who’s survived many dangerous scrapes around the globe is returning to Kāpiti soon to finally tell his remarkable life story.

Bill Clague, who now lives at Turangi, is the husband of former head Kāpiti Coast librarian, Leslie Clague, but this isn’t his only claim to fame.

During a tempestuous life of high drama, he’s been held in the UK”s Aldershot military prison, climbed the north face of the Eiger, spied for the Australian Security Services, and almost died in a boating disaster off East Cape.

Bill’ story of an amazing life

His amazing story is told in ‘No Fear of Flying: a Memoir of a Misspent Life,’which will be launched at a Friends of the Libraries event in the Paraparaumu Library at 7.30pm on September 21.

Bill was born in India and educated in the United Kingdom before emigrating to Australia.

After doing a range of jobs from wire welding to bark stripping, he gained a permanent job with Ansett Airlines in Brisbane. He worked for the company in Port Moresby, Lae, Perth, Singapore and Los Angeles.

Recruited by Australian Security Intelligence

For part of this time he was recruited by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization and with an English passport and the cover of airline sales did courier work from the Philippines to China.

As Ansett’s chief in the Americas he enjoyed an endless round of promotional tours, conventions and cocktail parties in virtually every city in the region with an airport.

He came to New Zealand as Regional Director for Continental Airlines and introduced cut price fares. He later worked as chief of air traffic control, as a dairy farmer, CEO of Wairoa Power and sat on many East Coast boards.

In his spare time, Bill enjoyed fishing, butterfly collecting, hunting, tramping, mountain climbing and yachting.

A life threatening solo voyage during which he was in deep trouble off East Cape is the climax of the book.

Bill also experienced many personal doubts and tragedies throughout his life and these are recounted with honesty and sensitivity.

Another impressive feature is the inclusion of actual conversations and clear observations of places, cultures and landscapes.

The launching of ‘No Fear of Flying’ at the Paraparaumu Library on Friday 21 September will start at 7.30 pm; and signed copies of the book will be available at $40 each.