THE TILLER

November 2011

Newsletter of 115 Squadron Association

Secretary Ian Lucas

ARMISTICE SUNDAY

A beautiful sunny sky greeted a good turn-out at Witchford on Sunday November 13 to commemorate Armistice Day. St. Andrew's church was packed, with many standing. Wreaths were laid in the church and Squadron CO, Sqdn. Ldr. Kevin March, read out names of those young men from Witchford and close-by villages who sacrificed their lives in war, and hung a wreath alongside the Association's on the village's memorial plaque.

Revd. Teresa Dixon took the service at our memorial with wreaths laid on behalf of the Squadron, the Association, The Wise Owells, the local ATC and, as ever, private family tokens.

Joining Sqdn Ldr. March from the Squadron at Cranwell were Sqdn Ldr lan 'Shiney' Simmons, FIt. Lt. Neil Owczarkowski (known as 'Ski'), and FIt. Lt. Peter Batson. The ATC was represented by Cl Stephen Coulson and Cadets Daniel Coulson, Alex Holland and Ben Wilson.

Traditional appetite-satisfying display of refreshments followed at the village hall in Bedwell Lane, supervised by Sylvia Bromley-Allen who seems to have been feeding us for years. Our grateful thanks to everyone associated with November 13.

RENEWING CONTACT

President Frank Leatherdale recently met up with Mervin Ingmire (Tiller Sept 11) who did a full op tour on Wimpeys from August 1941 until April 24 1942. In 1943 he went out with a flight of five Whitelys to the western Mediterranean for proposed electronic surveillance in the Italian campaign, but the flight was never used operationally.

Coming back to the UK at the end of 1943 he went on conversion to four-engined bombers, culminating in his joining 83 (PFF) Squadron. His final op ended in disaster, crash landing on FIDO at Netheringham as they ran out of fuel. He was the only survivor of the 8-man crew.Although not having any 'strong' ties with 115, he attended the Squadron's disbandment at Witchford, and wishes us all well.

BATTLE OF BRITAIN SUNDAY

Jim and Hilda McGillivray attended the service of thanksgiving and rededication at Westminster on Battle of Britain Sunday, September 18.

Catching up on some background I don't think I need remind you that 2011 marks the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the first decisive battle in history fought entirely in the air. Battle of Britain Sunday commemorates the dramatic turning point in both the Battle itself, and the history of the Second World War.

Jim and Hilda's train was late coming up from South Ockendon so Jim grabbed a taxi to get them across London. Arriving at the Abbey the taxi driver refused to charge the fare (22) as, in his words: '''It's an acknowledgement of what you did for us." Lump in throat time.

Hilda uses a wheelchair now as it enhances her ability to get about, but she was particularly. Delighted to be wheeled to her reserved "seat" by a Wing Commander! The McG's took a taxi back to the station - and another taxi driver did the same thing - refused to charge the fare. There are still some lovely people about!

ANY MEMORIES

Two more requests for information on wartime RTBs. Tony Allan is trying to find out as much as he can about his father, John Hickman, who served with the Squadron early in the war on Wimpeys. According to RoH he was a sergeant and second pilot to P/O Ron Runagall DFC in Wellington Mk III X3419 KO-T which disappeared without trace March 8/9 1942. They took off at 19.10 for Essen but disappeared without trace. Also KIA were -
P/O Russell Lloyd George Hosea (Obs) DFC, RCAF, Sgt. Sydney Stevenson WOP/AG, F/Sgt John Chamberlain (eng), and P/O Joseph Moore DFM (RG). Tony may be contacted on 01763 243362. Two DFCs and a DFM in the same crew may reveal some interesting information in the ORBs

Our second request comes from Canada where Travis Thompson in Saskatchewan is looking for any information on his uncle P/O Clifford Thompson who was shot down in July 30 1944 during a raid on Amay-sur-Seulles. Lancaster Mk III PB130 KO-A
The entire crew perished. Four other Canadians in the crew were -
P/O Jack Lonie Nav, P/O George Imrie BA, P/O William Conly MUG, and 19-year-old P/O Robert Carey RG. The other crew members were Sgt. Edward Money FE, and P/O Eric Fisher RG. All lie in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, Department Calvados in France.

I have sent copies of the entry in the ROH, and sent him other useful addresses which may help in research, and of course explained that RAF Marham keeps the ORBs, from whence he may learn more. He may be contacted at Box 201, Lake Lendre, Saskatchewan, SOK 2JQ.