THE TILLER

January 2008

Newsletter of 115 Squadron Association

Secretary Ian Lucas

House of Lords in May

Everything is in hand for our May visit to the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Mackie.

There will be another edition of The Tiller after this one, which will contain all up-to-date instructions for the event. Have you forgotten to tell the Secretary you would like to attend? Tel 01952 592115.

Dame Vera Lynn at Witchford.

Sweetheart of the Forces icon Dame Vera Lynn visited our Witchford museum in December. President Frank Leatherdale tells me how on December 9, in the company of the president of 75 Squadron Association, Jack Richards, and about 20 local RAFA and villagers who help Barry in the museum, they met up with Dame Vera who had compared a concert at Ely Cathedral on the previous evening involving famous names such as Petula Clarke and June Whitfield.

Dame Vera stayed for about 40 minutes on her way home on Sunday morning. She had a chat to everybody and took a keen interest in our exhibits. "She is so natural and very friendly," says Frank, and "we could not believe she is 91."

A number of photographs were taken and the 'official' pictures will be on sale at the museum, £1.50 for a 6" x 4", or £3 for 9" x 6".

Jack Richards runs a family transport business with some 160 lorries, with his head office and depot at Fakenham, and another near Northwich.

THE MOIR PRANG

Mike Smith dropped me a line with his Christmas card and s.a.e. envelopes. He was involved in the Court of Adjustment following the Moir prang, but the years being as they are he canít find the relevant papers.

"AII I can recall," he writes "is one of three crew visiting me in PMRAF Halton Hospital and showing me a photograph of himself running away from the a/c prior to turning back and helping a fellow crew member out of the top escape hatch. His efforts were in vain, and he suffered serious burns which landed him in the ward above Mike's.

BERNARD KREGOR IN TOUCH

Bernard Kregor turned up at the Armistice day visit to the memorial. He was at Witchford from March 1943 to November 1944 when C Flight became a Flight 195 Squadron, and he moved over to Wratting Common.

He now lives in Wilburton (22 Twenty Pence Road CB6 3RN) and is delighted to find the memorial and museum on his door step. He was an instrument fitter.

President Frank Leatherdale met up with Bernard and writes to tell me he has a photograph of his crew when they finished their first tour, and Bernard is clearly identifiable crouching in the front row. "Not only does he look like he did in 1944," says Frank, "but more obviously he had then just been accepted to remuster as u/t aircrew. Bernard waited at Witchford to continue his work while waiting to be called forward for training as a navigator and so he wore a white flash on his forage cap. "He was never called as the pressure was off aircrew reserves by that time," concludes Frank.

No connection

We've had a letter from Harry Ross, who was a chief technician avionics engineer from 1973 - 1978. His main interest was to know if the secretary is related to Ken Lucas who was an AEO at that time and went on to ATC at Leuchars.

I deny any relationship with Ken, along with his son. for many years a stalwart supporter of our reunions! Address will be forwarded Harry.

GEORGE HOWE IN TOUCH

George Howe dropped us a line from Wylam in Northumberland. He's taken The Tiller since the year dot, And wishes all well.

LAMB 'AS IT EVER WAS'

Peter Small writes from Winchester on his visit to the Museum, which impressed him. He says he stayed at The Lamb 'no better than it ever was'. Barry wasn't at the museum but he rang Peter later in the evening. As a result Peter has been able to send some photographs of his crew (Gordon Stephens RNZAF) and also Bob Hennah's crew.

POST-WAR CONTACT

Peter Clarke was a member of the Squadron from December 1946 to June 1948. His Flight Commander was Flt. Lt. David Sudul. David dies some two years ago and Peter has been contacted by David's daughter, Deborah, asking for any information on her father's RAF career. (*I have sent a list of the normal contacts).

According to Peter David Sudul was at Gravely before moving to Stradishall. He was trained in Canada but we don't know which units he was attached to before 115.

Peter believes Mr Soul left the Squadron some months after him and took up duties at the Air Ministry before leaving the RAF and returning with his family to Canada.

Any info would be welcome.

NEW AUSTRALIAN KNEE JOINT

Frank Rutter has had a new knee fitted. He's getting on well. We have not been advised if Frank made the joint himself. brilliant as he is with wood turning, producing clocks and all manner of items with his innate skills.

CHERYL PROGRESSING WELL

My wife, Cheryl, has made great progress with her ovarian cancer problem. Eight chemo sessions (she calls It paint-stripper). She is now fighting fit, feeling really well, and is keeping fingers crossed for her first check up in February.

Who was the cheeky chappie who wrote and asked if her wig can be kept for Herbert Walker?

ERICKSON CREW

Douglas Cameron has been in touch a again asking if you can cast your minds back to October 1944 when W/O William Erickson's crew went missing in LL880 KO-D a raid to Dortmund. The aircraft was shot down, and only bodies were recovered - Erickson, Sgt George Burgess. Sgt Arthur Tippin and F/Sgt Jack Lee - all buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

He's particularly interested in Sgt James Truby.

For his sons, Douglas is putting together the history of RAF Thornaby. If any of you were ever based there or know of any snippets of information he would be very grateful to hear from you. Write to him at The Armoury, Old Airfield, Thornaby TS 15 0 BA. Tel 01642 769986

CANBERRAS

Did anybody serve on Canberras? Brian Emerson would like to hear from you at 3 Ranby Road, Scunthorpe DN17 2EH Tel is 01724 840264