Daily Archives: November 12, 2011

75(NZ) Winter Reunion

Ah, suddenly I remember what it feels like to be your first day at a new school. The irony also strikes me that despite numerous emails and the efforts involved in arranging a plaque for Bob, I don’t even know what Kevin looks like. Bev and I get down to the bar early and have a quick glass of Dutch courage. The room begins to fill slowly with people – they are clearly reunion attendees – I can hear antipodean accents. I go into that classic turmoil…..should I get up and introduce myself? Should I sit and wait to be introduced ? Why will someone introduce me? – nobody knows who I am…..What if I walk up to someone and discover they are not here for the reunion? Mercifully Sandra saves me further wondering as she promptly gets up and starts talking to a chap with glasses and a moustache – its Kevin.

It’s a wonderful evening – the food is fantastic and the company even better – we all sat on what feels like the Headmasters table – Kevin and his wife Dawn and John De Hoop (WOP 1944-45) and his lovely wife Helen. Needless to say nobody there knew Bob – I mention his name to John ( a contemporary) and he pulls that sort of face that says; ‘Oh….Bob Sommerville…… yesssssss … ..possibly…..name is familiar…..’  – I say the same when I have no idea but don’t want to offend the person asking – so I don’t blame John for being polite, its probably not the first time he has been asked such a question I am sure…….


It was with strange feelings that Bev and I set off down to Mepal in Cambridgeshire for the Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association winter reunion. Initially I felt very excited, sure that I would meet someone that had know or knew of Bob. We arrived in Mepal at about noon and stopped at The 3 Pickerals pub (mentioned in Harry Yates ‘Luck and a Lancaster) – I expected to be transported into a mini time warp that would take me back to the war – nothing, not even a single picture to act as a reminder of the ‘regulars’ from the 40’s. Sat in the pub, I am on tenterhooks – a few old chaps sit across from us and I am convinced they must be here for the reunion……

Leaving the bar for a cigarette I found myself staring into the sky – this was the sky Dad flew in all those years ago with so many other brave boys – I didn’t feel sad, but I felt something for sure……..