Daily Archives: July 13, 2013

A mystery solved……

JNV squadron photo

Pilot Doug Clement sat astride the nose of PB820 in the March 1945 Squadron group photograph.

Many thanks to Peter for contacting me on behalf of his father, who worked alongside Doug Clement, Pilot of JN-V, in New Plymouth as an NPDC Bus driver for many years before he retired.

It would appear that Doug is the airman sat astride the nose of the Lancaster that appears in the March 1945 Squadron photograph. Even better perhaps, Peter has also been able to confirm that the aircraft in this photograph and thus the ‘Flight’ group photographs is in fact PB820 JN-V, the aircraft that Doug and his crew flew in.

The identity of this aircraft has been a taking point for some while – so perhaps we now have an answer to our question…….

RAF Commemoration in the National Basilica, Brussels, 28th September 2013

Poster - Commemoration in the National Basilica (comp)

Thanks to Kevin for passing this information on from Gp Capt (Retd) Dick Whittingham, Chairman RAFA Belgian Branch. The background to this event is as follows;

The Belgian Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association is pleased to announce that a commemorative event will be held in the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart Koekelberg in Brussels on Saturday 28 Sep 13.  The event will be led by our Branch Honorary Co-President Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper and is designed to commemorate and strengthen the links between the RAF and Belgium which result from joint effort in World War 2.  Since 75 Sqn was one of those which sadly lost aircraft over Belgium during WW2, you may wish to circulate this mail to your members and invite them to contact us should they wish to contribute to, or participate in, the commemoration.    
 
In 1988 the RAFA Belgian Branch raised over 1.5 Million Belgian Francs from industry as well as from RAF and Belgian Air Force Squadrons, societies and individuals, to create, in an Air Force Chapel in the National Basilica, a stained-glass window memorial to those Belgians who in World War II lost their lives in the cause of freedom and liberty whilst serving in the Royal Air Force, and in the Escape Lines and as Secret Agents in Belgium.  The stained-glass windows were dedicated in September 1988 in a ceremony led by King Baudouin personally and including the British Ambassador to Belgium, the RAF Chief of the Air Staff and the Belgian Air Force Chief of Staff.   The Air Force Chapel now includes a permanently displayed illuminated Roll of Honour listing the names of those Belgians who died in the RAF in the War.
 
The event in September this year will mark the 25th Anniversary of the dedication of the windows and will especially remember with grateful thanks all those Belgians who served with the RAF, as well as those of the Escape Lines who helped so many Allied airmen, and the Secret Agents whose activities were key to the success of the war effort.  We will also seek to remember and strengthen the links between RAF Squadrons and Belgium:  not only the many Squadrons in which Belgians served, but also those Squadrons who lost aircraft and crews in Belgium and who have therefore established permanent links with many towns and villages throughout the Country.  The format will be a simple RAF Ecumenical Service in the area of the Air Force Chapel, with the dedication and blessing of a new plaque in the Chapel followed by the traditional Acts of Remembrance.  The Service will be followed by a lunch in the Basilica.
 
We are particularly keen to give an opportunity for not only the remaining veterans themselves to attend, but also to make the event know to the families of those who died in the war and subsequently, both in service with the RAF and in support of the war effort in Belgium.  If you are in a position to pass on the event information to those in these categories, then that would be most helpful.

Please also check for updates on the Belgian Branch website; http://rafabelgianbranch.yolasite.com

Adding to the picture – Group photographs

b flight march 45 without numbers

‘B’ Flight group photograph taken around March 1945, in front of PB820, JN-V

I have decided to add another section to the blog. This new section will begin (hopefully) to fill with examples of large group photographs from the Squadron and I would like to try and use it to obviously identify as many individuals in the photographs as possible.

The first photograph in this new section is the ‘B’ Flight group photograph taken in front of PB820 JN-V, Douglas Clement’s regular aircraft.

If you go to the link below to this photograph, you will see I have tried to add a reference number to each airman in the photograph – in places this is a little difficult, so I have applied a basic rule that the number is placed on the airman’s chest, unless space does not allow this – in the case of this image, the back row is very tight, so in these individuals cases,  some of the numbers are placed above their heads.

Once you are looking at the photograph, if you click on it, it will enlarge and another click should enlarge it again certainly enough to allow identification of individuals.

If you know the identity of any of the aircrew, please contact me with the number and the name of the individual.

You can view the numbered image here

It would be great to add the equivalent group photographs for ‘A’ and ‘C’ Flights, so if you have, or know someone who has a copy of these photographs, I would love to add them to the collection.