What's New?

Members / Friends What's New with you @@@ ??

Have you changed your email address?

Have you let us know?

 

If not, that is why you are not hearing from us lately - and why other people on the list can't contact you...

Please inform us ASAP. Thanks

Joint 55 / 57 tanker squadrons  re-union at Kings Lynn & Marham, April 2022

A very successful re-union of the tanker personnel from 55 and 57 Squadrons of all ranks and trades was organised by Oliver Bridgeman over the Easter Weekend.  

After a first Friday evening in the bar for the "bloods", the Saturday was given over to a visit to the Heritage Centre at RAF Marham, where amongst the many other attractions there was a presentation of  the excellently researched new book Marham's Tankers by Brian Martin and Stephen Parker  and other souvenirs including bottles of Tanker Gin were on sale...

The little museum is well worth a visit,  is packed with artifacts dating from way back in RAF Marham's  history up to the present and is a credit to the volunteer staff.

In the evening we all repaired to the Dukes Head hotel in KL, where after the first drinks the noise level reached an incredible level.  Ollie was fortunately able to make himself heard and direct us to the correct bar venue and then an excellent menu was served at the many tables.

There are pictures of the event in the Member section (which is in date order - scroll down...)

And - the 55 Squadron Association banner which has recently been restored to us was proudly on display - transported there from the museum by Bob Parlett.

Most of the guests stayed at the hotel overnight and the weather was friendly throughout.

As the noise level and the photos can testify, the event was a huge success - and left everyone wondering when the next one would be...

Thanks a lot for all the effort and enthusiasm Ollie!

 

 

55 Sqn lives on!            55 (Woodford & Bramhall) SQN ATC

Below is a contact from instructor Michael Wild at 55 Sqn ATC unit near Woodford.  He is now on the Friends of 55 Squadron list in the Member section and can be contacted from there. We will include the unit on our mailing list and look forward to further news!      Bill Palmer

 

Hi Bill,

 

I have included an image of our squadron crest and some photos which may be of interest to you for the website. The full name of our squadron is 55 (Woodford & Bramhall) SQN ATC and we are based at our HQ - Leadership House in Bramhall Village just south of Manchester and quite close to what used to be BAE Woodford.

 

If the association is willing, we could set up a guest speaker evening about the "real" 55 Squadron. It would be  fantastic as I am sure the cadets (and staff too) would be very interested to learn about the unit. We also have access to Microsoft Teams so if none of your members prove to be close enough we should be able to host a virtual presentation if needed. 

 

I think young and kicking is an appropriate description of us. With COVID 19 most of our older cadets have gone off to university or lost interest so we have virtually rebuilt the squadron from the ground up with new recruits. 

 

Historically speaking our squadron is nearly as old as the real 55 SQN itself. I am not sure how clued up you are on the History of the Air Cadets but the organisation was formed on the 5th February 1941 from a pre-existing organisation called the Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC). 

The ADCC was formed in 1938 and the first 50 squadrons to form were given Founder status and have the letter "F" after their squadron number. Having traced things back I reckon that the squadron was formed within a couple of weeks of the formation of the ADCC as it can be found in the list of ADCC squadrons in the earliest issues of the ADCC Gazette. We have a photo of 55 SQN ADCC parading in Bramhall and as far as we know the squadron has paraded continuously ever since, even during the recent pandemic we never missed a parade night (albeit virtually).

 

The Air Cadets offer a wide variety of activities for youths aged from 12 to 20 including Flying, Gliding, Shooting, Duke of Edingburgh's Award, Radio, Fieldcraft and many more along with visits to RAF Stations, Air Shows and aviation themed events.

 

 

I have attached photos for interest: SQN Crest, full SQN pre-covid, 55 SQN ADCC on parade, visit and assistance at Avro Air Fair, Leadership House (SQN HQ).

 

Best Regards, 

 

Michael Wild

 

 

Many Falkland 40th Anniversary Items...

Dear 55 Squadron

Falklands 40

In 2022 we mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands Conflict. The Royal British Legion will be commemorating this important milestone with a special event held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Tuesday 14th June. Falklands 40 will recognise the service of the 30,000 sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and merchant mariners who served in the Falklands Conflict, along with the many civilians who supported the war effort and remember the sacrifice of those 255 British personnel who lost their lives.

In the afternoon, the Royal British Legion will hold a special, commemorative event centred around the Armed Forces Memorial. This will feature veteran testimonies from key moments in the conflict as well as the Act of Remembrance.

On the morning of the event there will be an opportunity for unit associations to conduct intimate commemorations at their respective memorials within the Arboretum.

Attendees/Eligibility

The Falklands 40 Commemorative Event is open to veterans of the Falklands Conflict and their spouses/partners, as well as members of civilian organisations that supported the Task Force. We will also be inviting representatives from the bereaved families; for more information, please see below.

Registration

All applicants will need to register to attend through their respective Ex-Service Associations. We respectfully request that participating Associations promote the event details and importantly, validate that all respective applicants did indeed serve during the Conflict.

If you, the addressee, are not the appropriate point of contact (POC) for your association, please send the correct name and contact details to falklands@britishlegion.org.uk so that we can ensure all further communications are sent to the appropriate POC.

Registration Process

The association POC will be contacted in early February with a link to the RBL Accreditation Portal. All relevant names should then be entered onto the portal, in a similar method to that applied for the annual Cenotaph Dispersal. We ask that all names are submitted before the registration window closes in late April.

E-tickets will be issued to individuals closer to the event.

Stories from the Conflict

As part of our commemorative activity, we plan to share content on our channels from April onwards, culminating in coverage of the 40th anniversary event at the National Memorial Arboretum in June. In addition to this, we are looking for people willing to share their stories in a range of broadcast, print and online media outlets. The RBL's Press Office would be grateful if association POCs could help identify association members who would be willing to share their stories from the conflict. A PR outreach document is attached to this email with more details.

Bereaved Families

The names of 255 British personnel who lost their lives in the Falklands Conflict are inscribed on the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. The RBL intent is to appropriately host two representatives of each Bereaved Family to attend the Falklands 40 Commemorative Event. Associations are kindly requested to share the relevant contact details with the RBL as soon as possible via falklands@britishlegion.org.uk so that the relevant arrangements can be made.

Event details (for points of contact to send to their association members)

In 2022 we mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands Conflict. The Royal British Legion will be commemorating this important milestone with a special event held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Tuesday 14th June. Falklands 40 will recognise the service of the 30,000 sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and merchant mariners who served in the Falklands War, along with the many civilians who supported the Task Force and remember the sacrifice of those 255 British personnel who lost their lives.

In the afternoon, there will be a commemorative event centred around the Armed Forces Memorial. This will feature veteran testimony from key points in the conflict as well as the Act of Remembrance.

On the morning of the event there will be an opportunity for unit associations to conduct intimate commemorations at their respective memorials within the Arboretum.

The RBL's Falklands 40 is set to be a very special occasion, commemorating the conflict that ended 40 years ago.

Veterans of the Falklands Conflict, their families and participating civilian organisations are invited to attend the event of the 14th of June at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. All those wishing to attend must register through their appropriate association. Registration will open in early February and if you wish to attend please email your association lead.

Doors will open at the NMA from 0900 with the central Act of Remembrance Service taking place at 1330. Further details will be sent out in early February.

Click here for the FAQs

If you have any questions about the event or the accreditation process, please do not hesitate to email the event team at falklands@britishlegion.org.uk

Best wishes,

The Commemorative Events Team

 

The Royal British Legion is looking for individuals who would be willing to share their stories and experiences of serving in the Falklands during the conflict. These could be used in the media as well as on the RBL’s digital channels, such as our website and social media accounts.

 

As part of our commemorative activity we plan to share content on our channels from April onwards, culminating in coverage of the 40th Anniversary event at the National Memorial Arboretum in June. In addition to this, we are anticipating significant interest from national and regional media and are looking for people willing to share their stories in a range of broadcast, print and online media outlets.

The RBL’s Press Office would be grateful if you could take a moment to respond with answers to the following:

 

• The names and contact details of individuals willing to be contacted about sharing their stories.

 

• A brief summary of their service during the Falklands and any notable memories they are particularly keen to share (a sentence or two will suffice).

 

• Whether they have a link to the Royal British Legion – have they ever been supported by the RBL, are they a RBL member etc

 

• Any other interesting points – do they have a generational link to the military, do they have any interesting memorabilia from the time, are they looking to be reunited with anyone from the conflict as part of the commemorations?

 

We would be grateful to receive all information as soon as possible as the earlier we receive stories the more likely they are to feature. Information should be sent to: Email – The Royal British Legion’s Press Office – PRAdmin@britishlegion.org.uk

Once we have received the information those concerned may be contacted by a member of the Legion’s PR or wider marketing team.

Please don’t be humble, we know many of you and your members will have many poignant and extraordinary stories in which there could be wide public interest, and we are keen to share as many of these as possible. We are very grateful for your help with this matter and look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

Requests for Contact from Operation Corporate Air and Ground Crews

This mail just came from Journalist Kevin Wright, who is hoping to interview Members involved in the Falklands tanker campaign:

 

Dear 55 Squadron Association

I’m an aviation historian/writer and one of the magazines, Aeroplane Monthly, has asked me to write a piece for them on Victor MRR missions during the Falklands War. They are planning a special edition to mark its 40th anniversary.  

 

I would like to locate some former Victor 55 Squadron (and 57!) aircrew/ground crew members who participated in the missions and who might be prepared to talk with me.  I would also like to find out more about the equipment fit used and any relevant pictures would be gold dust!

 

Do you think you could assist me with this? The process would just involve agreeing a suitable time to have a chat by phone or video link with anyone willing to help. Then once I have the piece written up they can check it to correct any mistakes I have made and just ensure they are happy with what I have written.

 

I would be very pleased if you could pass the contact details below to any member of your group that you think might be willing to help.

 

If it would be helpful, I can send you a list of recent publications or a few examples just to give an idea of past work.  I would be working to a deadline at the end of this month. If you have any questions please just let me know.

 

Kind Regards

Kevin

 =============

Kevin Wright PhD, Rahaniska, Kilkee, Co Clare, Ireland, V15 NR27

Tel: (Mob) 00 353 89 4316560

KPWright@gmx.com  

web: https://kpwright.wixsite.com/kevins-aero-images

We have received the following request from display organiser Stephanie Lawton, from the Solway Aviation Museum.

I ask our Operation Corporate crew members to contact her directly, as below. I am sure, that all inputs, including ground operation stories will be welcome.

Thanks for your help,     Bill.

Stephanie Lawton / Interpretation and Display Officer

Solway Aviation Society,

Aviation House,

Carlisle Lake District, Airport,

Crosby-on-Eden,

Cumbria, CA6 4NW.

UK Charity Registration number 1034715

Company Registration number 2731967

 

 Operation Corporate

 

I am putting a display together for next year on the 40th Anniversary of the above Operation, and I am looking for stories from the crews who flew out from the UK in the H.P Victors to Ascension Island, and on the Black Buck Raids.

Also looking for any images of the above.

I would be grateful for any help in my quest.

 

Stephanie Lawton

 

Tel: 01228573823                                    Web: www.solway-aviation-museum.co.uk                    EMail: stephlawton2018@gmail.com     

Planned Reunion 55 & 57 Squadrons...

Our member Oliver Bridgeman, who was a JT on 55 Squadron back in 1982-84, is organising a re-union of 55 and 57 Squadrons in Kings Lynn on 16. April 2022, as it happens, a couple of weeks before the 40 Year anniversary of Operation Black Buck.  The Marham Heritage Centre will be open to all on that day and a dinner is planned for the evening at the Duke's Head. 

The interest is great and we hope to increase it with this announcement.

Oliver will be posting a notice with details in the Member section box and we'll put out a reminder in early Spring.

Great news, I think and I hope the restrictions will allow max attendance.   Thanks Ollie.

Oliver's email is of course available on the Member List on the Member section.

Hinaidi Cemetery Iraq.    Initial success for Steve Johnson

 

Author and Friend of 55 Squadron, Steve (Buster) Johnson, runs the Nr6 Sqn (like 55 Sqn stationed at Hinaidi between the wars) website.   He researched the military graveyard there and discovered, that the site is in urgent need of restoration.

See the Projects section, where Steve writes an update on the situation, having worked hard to convince the powers that be to get the site repaired and has some initial good news.He has also kindly provided us with a list of deceased 55 Squadron members buried at the Hinaidi site, which is posted in the In Memoriam section.

 

There is a link to casualties under Hinaidi in the Links section.

The Perimeter Wall being built in November 2021.  The headstone state shows how necessary Steve's intervention & Perseverance was
The Perimeter Wall being built in November 2021. The headstone state shows how necessary Steve's intervention & Perseverance was

Association Banner "55 Bomber Squadron" now at Marham

The Squadron Association Banner which was found by Adam Hammett has now been delivered to the Heritage Museum at RAF Marham, where it was received by ex CTs Brian Martin and Steve Parker, who were Crew Chiefs on 55 Squadron photographed here with Adam Hammett inside the museum. 
And photographed outside the Heritage Centre with Gp Cpt Alistair Sutherland, Flight Commander on 55 Squadron and later Station Commander at RAF Marham, who joined the Chiefs for a celebratory lunch.

The banner is evidently hand painted, is in superb condition and may be seen at the museum.

 

The Banner as found by Adam Hammett with inscription 55 Bomber Squadron and the King's crown, before delivery at Marham
The Banner as found by Adam Hammett with inscription 55 Bomber Squadron and the King's crown, before delivery at Marham

The Original announcement:

 

We have received the very good news of the discovery of a 55 Squadron Association banner by Adam Hammett, of the RAFA.

It has been agreed, that the banner will be handed to the association to be used at association functions (which we still hope to achieve at some point...) and kept for display at the RAF Marham Museum. Here is Adam's letter:

 

Good afternoon,

 

I have recently uncovered a 55 Squadron Association banner (see attached) within a loft space at a property.  It is hand painted onto a heavy duty lined fabric with wooden poles top and bottom with yellow cord for hanging purposes.  I have not measured it but guess it would be around 1m wide with a 1.5m drop.  It has the kings crown so I guess this means that dates it pre 1952 (long before 1952 with the title "55 Bomber Squadron, ed).  I would like to find out more about this items history and ideally locate a suitable home for it.  Any assistance with groups or individuals that you believe could help me with this I would be most grateful for.

 

Regards,

Adam

Adam Hammett

Estates Project Manager RAFA

 

New Research Centre RAF Cranwell

Friend of 55 Squadron, Ray Holloway, who is a volunteer guide at RAF Cranwell, informs us of the store of historical 55 Squadron items there, some of which were kept in the 55 Squadron crew room during active days. 

There is also a new research centre opening. In order to arrange a visit please contact new Friend of 55 Squadron, Flt Lt Mike Frankel, the OC;  Michael.Frankel213@mod.gov.uk  who can arrange permission to enter the base. 

Below are some of the items presently on display. Here is a great opportunity for Members and Friends of 55 Squadron wishing to research past members of the squadron. Many thanks to Ray and Mike for this information.

New Book about Marham Tankers - Info wanted

Member Brian Martin, former CT on 55 Squadron, who is engaged with the RAF Marham Air Historical Centre (AHC), is collaborating on  a book about the Tankers at RAF Marham.  He is asking for all stories, anecdotes and photos to make this book a success - particularly about the 1990s and the Gulf War.  Please send your yarns and memories to Brian (on our Member list) or to Ken Delve for the AHC; historian@rafht.co.uk 

Faces & Queries section (previously Where are They Now?)  often has something new in it - sometimes people write in with a story, rather than an enquiry, which can still help people to find helpful information.  None of us are getting younger so if you can help with an enquiry or have something to add, please let us know. Thanks.

PS. Have a rummage through your old photos - I just did and was able to solve one query...

 

The Faces and Queries section is becoming more populated - especially from the time that 55 Squadron was in Iraq, between WW1 and WW2 - good news for for Friends of squadron members wanting to exchange information.  Recent additions: Sgt Ted Ettridge, with 55 Sqn in 1937 "Mesopotamia", Flt Sgt (WO) Albert Harrison, who was cooking at Hinaidi in those difficult days.  The Adjutant and pilot (later) Gp Capt J O W Oliver was with 55 Squadron at Hinaidi.  Air Gunner SAC Leslie Rogers was also at Hinaidi with 55 Squadron. His son in law Ben Lovegrove has an excellent website of his pictures. Details in Faces and Queries and contact via the Friends of 55 Squadron list in the Member section. Also there are quite a few people wanting information about 55 Squadron's time in North Africa and Italy - Boston and Baltimore days and the legendary Squadron Commander Cookie Leon.

Well, perhaps not brand new but new to a few of us - Bob Tuxford  wrote a book a couple of years back about his experiences in the Tanker World,  called Contact!  This includes  Bob's take on the Blackbuck Falklands raids involving great numbers of Victor Tankers and one Vulcan bomber.

Copies are available online and through the Publishers, Grub Street.