Ron’s flight down memory lane

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A WORLD War Two veteran received a special birthday gift from his daughter which brought the memories of his time in the RAF flooding back.

Ron Bruton, 89, who was a member of the 102 Squadron which once operated from RAF Pocklington, stepped aboard a Halifax bomber at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, an aircraft he used to work on as a bomb aimer.

His daughter Sylvia Odell suggested the idea to him several times and eventually Ron agreed to go along.

The family travelled 180 miles from their home city of Gloucester to visit the museum.

Sylvia said: “As he’s been getting older he’s been talking more about his experiences on Halifaxes and in Pocklington. It was his 89th birthday on Friday and we had offered him the opportunity several times and this time he said yes.

“He thoroughly enjoyed it.” While they were in the area, Ron and his family visited Pocklington which was the first time he had been to the town since the war.

The family decided to have lunch at The Feathers Hotel on Market Place which Ron remembers visiting when he was with the 102 Squadron from February to November 1944.

They also visited the airfield where they saw the memorial dedicated to fallen comrades based at Pocklington.

Sylvia said: “It was the first time he was back.

“Pocklington itself, the street pattern, is still the same but the shops are different - but he did recognise The Feathers.

“It looked pretty much the same. The colours are different they have put a big conservatory room in there which wasn’t there. He remembers an opening with the fire on one side and a bar on the other side.

“We went to the airfield and the runways are still there but the hangers were where the industrial estate is now. He stared a long while at the memorial to those who lost there lives. You could see he was dwelling on what he remembered.”

The trip brought back some vivid memories for Ron including one time when his crew lost part of a wing flying over Wales. The group had to decide whether to parachute out of the aircraft or try to land it, which they did manage to do in Gloucestershire.

Ron flew 44 operations with the crew during the eight months he was with them and received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) as a result.

Before working at RAF Pocklington, Ron was a pilot officer and after his eight months at the base he later became a flight lieutenant.

He did his training in Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which the Yorkshire Air Museum have a commemorative plaque for in their Memorial Garden.

The 102 squadron were originally formed in 1919 but disbanded in 1919.

They re-formed in 1936 as a heavy bomber squadron and in 1942, they relocated from Topcliffe to Pocklington.

The squadron flew Halifaxes from 1941 but, for several years before then, they had flown Whitleys.