June 2011

Newsletter of 115 Squadron Association

Secretary Ian Lucas

Number thirteen maybe unlucky for some, but not for our 'Lucky Jim’. McGilIivray filmed at RAF Northolt tucking in to delicious sandwiches and cakes prepared by competitors in the BBC series Master Chef on April 13.
As part of the famous on-going program Jim and several other RAF WWII veterans were entertained in grand fashion with an RAF band playing for dancers going through various wartime-related routines and associated songs of the same era . . . . with superb nosh and pastries as a bonus!

I spotted a table of vets enjoying themselves as they were served a variety of delicacies prepared in the kitchen. Suddenly I heard an all-too- familiar voice: "Very nice", followed by "I mean the waitress." Yes it was Jim.

Many of his colleagues on the show were part of the group who have been closely involved with a variety of fund-raising exercises to support the cost of establishing the Bomber Command Memorial which should be completed by May 2012.

Air Commodore Malcolm White, in his most recent review underlined the good news from the February meeting of the Bomber Command Memorial Board which saw the whole project move forward in proceeding to contract for the construction of the Memorial. As he said "a momentous step" and the Board is now re-engaging in discussions with Westminster City Council and the Royal Parks on final details.

The Chief of the Air Staff has viewed the third of the larger-than-life figures of the second WW airmen which will form the centrepiece of the memorial - each is 3m tall and wilt be cast in bronze. One of the features Halifax (LW 682 of 426 Squadron, shot down over Belgium on May 12, 1944. Sadly all crew were RTB).


Harry Rossiter dropped me a line in April prior to a visit to the RAF Museum at Hendon. He admits his granddaughter was there to look after him 'as I am approaching 89 and need looking after. 'Granddaughter is a modest 30 and for her birthday present(the date is in August, the same day as Harry’s) Harry has booked a helicopter flight, a first time for him by-the-way!

He also tells me he will be attending the annual aircrew memorial service on Plymouth Hoe and laying a wreath in memory of his 115 friends who have RTB.

And talking of the very-fast fly-past of 'anno domini' our great friend Jack brown is coming up to 95, and he too has a granddaughter keeping a close eye on him at Padstow. He's well, and thoroughly enjoyed the warmer Easter weather.

A letter from Mac Maclean in South Africa described how his crew attended four briefings before flying their first op. B/A 'Soup' Campbell was ill and not able to fly on the very first trip. He was replaced by a West Indian, Mac thinks he was known as 'Swanny' (anybody remember him?)


Pen & Sword Books has rolled out another book you might like. "Missing Believed Killed" is a classic study of 'mystery' surrounding the deaths of Amelia Earhart, Amy Johnson, Glen Miller and the Duke of Kent. Roy Nesbit has reinvestigated their stories. He has a long-established reputation as an aviation historian, and I think you might like this one. Call them on 01226 734222 for more information.


In the March 'Tiller' I wrote about Simon Courtauld's search for information concerning his uncle Flt. Sgt. Neil Caldwell Cook, shot down and RTB in 1940. Simon had sent me a photograph of his uncle who was with the squadron in 1940.
I referred to the group photograph taken in July of that year, and sure enough from the portrait I thought I could see Neil Cook and when I sent the picture on to Simon he was delighted to see his uncle in the 300-strong 'team' picture.

A proud moment for yours truly and 'The Tiller'!