Daily Archives: November 13, 2013

Lest we forget……

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It now seems a tradition that whatever the weather throws at us on the Saturday, Sunday morning is always bright and crisp for the Remembrance Service at Mepal.

As always, the gathering of friends and family is a bitter sweet experience – its wonderful to catch up with friends over the weekend, but the Sunday service is what we actually gather for and it’s always and perhaps rightly, and emotional and reflective time.

Before the Remembrance service, the ashes of Mike and Pam Molony were committed to the Garden. Mike flew with the crew of Victor John Andrew between their first op on the 27/28 of June 1944 to Biennais and the 26/27 August op to Kiel – where he was seriously injured by flak that hit the fuselage and mid upper turret. The Kiel op was Mike’s 20th with the Andrew crew – he never flew with them again, however, the crew continued without Mike and final achieved a total of 38 ops.

I will post a further appreciation of Mike’s life later this week.

It was also lovely to see the Association President Jack Richards at the service – something I know he was determined not to miss. His presence was appreciated by all who attended.

The Garden of Mepal ‘Forever Fallen’

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Bottom image: The Langley Sisters, L to R, Edie, Gita and Amy.

The clear highlight of Saturday evening was the first public performance of ‘The Garden of Mepal – ‘Forever Fallen” by the Langley Sisters.

I have already made posts on the song, but it was particularly special to be lucky enough to be present to hear it sung live and I am sure everybody present would join with me in thanking The Langley Sisters for making the journey to the reunion to perform the song.

The inspiration for the song was Mark’s Grandfather and his loss on the morning of the 21st November 1944 whilst on an Op to Homberg. Written by Mark and Gita, 20% of the sales of the song will be donated to the Mepal Memorial Garden for 75(NZ) Squadron and the British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Personally I think the song is beautiful, but to be honest I am not bothered if you like it or not – you should still buy it because it contributes monies to 2 important funds.

To buy the record (both vocal and instrumental versions), go to the iTunes store (other digital music outlets also exist). Mark has also asked that if you do buy it, to also rate it and leave feedback. If you know someone who would like it, but might not be able to access or use the necessary technology to download it themselves, then buy a copy for them as well!

Below is the accompanying video for the song

And here is another song The Langley Sisters performed on Saturday night.

The Stirling Project

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The Stirling Project facilities.
A complete seat frame and sub frame assembly of a pilots seat. Pilots seat frame assembly.
John showing us an observation window component from the cockpit and Pino with our own John McFarland.

Saturday morning of the reunion weekend and a trip to the Stirling Project was arranged. Arriving at the Project’s current base, the enormity of the project was laid bare to us all. The task in hand is exciting, terrifying and incredible, all at the same time – put simply, to build, almost from scratch the front portion of a Stirling bomber. To put this in context, there are no remaining examples either complete or in part and there also are no complete plans/ drawings of a Stirling. The dedication of the team is palpable as you stand in their facility – the space is full of mangled and corroded pieces of metal and sat within this are small islands of carefully re-crafted and reassembled new aircraft parts. Listening to Pino and John talk, it’s clear they understand the task they have set themselves – but its also incredible to hear of the support they have already received – only last week they returned from the Stichting Aircraft Recovery Group at Fort Veldhuis in Holland with loaned and donated parts to aid in the fabrication process.

From a design and manufacturing point of view I can appreciate the task they have set themselves and it was actually wonderful to listen to the team talk about the project and see how proud they were with their achievements to date. A project like this clearly needs support so I really would recommend that;

  1. You visit their website here.
  2. You seriously think about making a donation to the project
  3. You get in contact with them if you can either provide time, expertise or fabrication facilities.

Personally, I intend to keep a watch on progress and I have already discussed with Pino as to how I might be able to help them, even if only in a small way in the future.

Good luck boys!