Your article: Surviving members of squadron return to Pocklington

101-year-old Charles Crowther lays a wreath at the squadron memorial
101-year-old Charles Crowther lays a wreath at the squadron memorial

World War Two veterans who flew out of Pocklington gathered once more in the town for their annual reunion.

Six surviving airmen of 102 Squadron were joined by family and friends for the event.

The weekend started with the annual meeting at the Pocklington Arts Centre hosted by Pocklington town councillor Graham Perry and his wife June who provided tea and cakes.

The meeting re-elected Tom Sayer DFM as the chairman, together with the other officers, and following the financial report those present decided to meet again in Pocklington for Remembrance Day in November.

The reunion dinner, attended by 44 people, was held at Wolds Gliding Club, the scene where the flight crew members of 102 Squadron had begun many of their bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1940s.

The guest speaker for the evening was Jim Ainscough, who together with his wife Margaret, were the authors of the book ‘Pocklington at War’. Jim’s talk gave the assembled guests another view of the squadron in describing the immediate pre-war history of the town and the effect of a major RAF squadron in immediate proximity to the built up area.

Bernard Kennedy from The William Wilberforce Home in Pocklington made a generous offer to accommodate any veterans for the weekend of the reunion.

Amongst the other veterans attending was Charles Crowther, 101-years-old from Scotland, who flew flying boats during the war. He lost his brother William in 1942 whilst serving on the squadron.

The dinner was well supported by Pocklington Town Council and the guests were pleased to see the Mayor, Coun Paul West, and the Deputy Mayor, Coun Martin Radcliffe, with the Mayor’s consort and the deputy mayoress. Also on the guest list was the Reverend Canon Valerie Hewitson, a long-standing friend of the association.

The loyal toast was proposed by Tom Sayer, the association chairman, Coun West proposed the toast to the 102 Squadron, and the toast to absent friends was proposed by Harry Hughes.

The next day members, family and friends assembled at St Catherine’s Church in Barmby Moor for a service with the Rev Hewitson. The Squadron Memorial book was set out in front of the altar and the page was turned by Charles Crowther and Tom Sayer. Paul Dyson played the last post for the minute’s silence.

The gathering then journeyed to the airfield to lay the wreaths at the squadron memorial, which commemorates those lost in 405 and 102 squadrons that flew from Pocklington.

The short service was conducted by Rev Hewitson with the last post being played again by Paul Dyson, who also played it in the church.

Charles Crowther laid the squadron wreath as this was his first visit to the memorial.

Wreaths were laid by Coun West on behalf of Pocklington Town Council, Coun Graham Perry and Colin Stevens on behalf of the Wolds Gliding Club.

The Wolds Gliding Club enabled the gathering to have tea and coffee served in the clubhouse by Judith Stevens. The discussions on the squadron and its members went on into the afternoon and the members broke up to meet again next year.

More pictures in this week’s (31 July) paper.