102 Squadron return

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SURVIVING airmen from World War II who flew out of Pocklington once again dropped in for their annual reunion at the weekend.

The dwindling number of flight crew members of 102 Squadron were joined by their families and local councillors as they attended a reunion dinner at the Wolds Gliding Club on Saturday evening, the scene where they had begun many over their bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1940s.

They met at the Arts Centre before heading to the airfield on Saturday evening. Speakers at the dinner included Major Jason Furlong, an active member of the Canadian Air Force.

A church service was held at Barmby Moor on Sunday morning followed by a dedication service at the airfield to pay tributes to those airmen who lost their lives during the war.

Mayor of Pocklington, Councillor Graham Perry joined the veterans over the weekend. He said: “It was very enjoyable and a delight to speak to some of the original members all of whom have a story or three to tell! It is just incredible what they did - to think that 55,000 aircrew died during the war with an average age of just 22.

“The number of those coming to Pocklington each year is obviously dwindling now but as long as they want to return we will host them and support them.”

The 102 Squadron occupied Pocklington airfield from 1942. They lost 206 despatched aircraft from this station, including 27 Wellington Bombers and 179 Halifax Bombers. Meanwhile, a permanent memorial to those who served in Bomber Command is to be built in London. The foundation stone for the £6million memorial was recently laid in Green Park.

Councillor Perry said the move has pleased the surviving members of 102 Squadron.

He said: “They are delighted that they are finally getting recognised. They were not issued with a campaign medal for the massive effort they put in during the war. There’s a relief that they are coming out of the shadow to stand alongside Fighter Command and Coastal Command.”