Last updated: 02 February 2017, 11:03
255 Squadron Association
Forthcoming events, news and history
Please pre-notify attendance using the mail link at the foot of the Sitemap page, so that you can be sent full joining instructions.
Summer 2017 : 75 years on from the Squadron's presence in the West Midlands, it is proposed to organise a gathering at RAF Cosford. Additionally, new information has come to light regarding the loss of MM838 in August 1944. The discovery has now been verified by Air Historical Branch, raising the prospect of an expedition to the crash site in Serbia. Please contact Association HQ if you would like to take part.
Spring 2018 : 100 years on from the Squadron's original formation, it is proposed to organise a gathering at the site of RAF Pembroke (later re-named RAF Carew Cheriton).
Christmas 2016 / New Year 2017 : Once again, the Association became involved in airspace security. A number of local building sites shut down for a ten-day break, without making adequate arrangements for powering the air navigation warning lights on their tower cranes. Lights were failing as the battery back-ups ran flat. The local MP has now become involved, with a view to some serious chasing-up of this Health & Safety issue.
January 2017 : New book published.
Nominally about No.205 Bomber Group, RAF, Gardening by Moonlight
tells the story of the RAF’s mining of the River Danube. Chapter 12 deals specifically with support sorties by 255 and includes photographs of the Beaufighter aircrew involved in these missions. Kaššák
, P. and Gunby, D. (2017). Gardening by Moonlight
, Bratislava : Degart. ISBN 978-80-971891-3-6. Available in the UK via the Print-on-Demand service of Lulu.com
. Language - English.
Online news stories from earlier years:
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Earlier documentation of the Squadron’s history
During 2016, two slightly differing versions were found of the late Peter Croft’s 1992 write-up of squadron history. These have now been merged as well as corrected for mis-spellings of names and so on. A downloadable copy of the corrected version in current form is available here
. A printed copy of the uncorrected version is held at the RAF Museum Library, Hendon. Access for on-site reading of the original document is by appointment only. It cannot be borrowed.
Keeping the memory alive....
255 Squadron Association is an unincorporated group – a club, if you prefer that term – dedicated to recording the history of the Squadron and keeping alive the memory of those who fought with the unit during two World Wars.
Although the website is relatively new, the Association is not. Soon after the Second World War, meetings of former comrades-in-arms took place in smoke-filled rooms over pubs after work. Souvenirs such as squadron neckties were produced and reportedly sold to members to raise the modest funds needed to pay for such gatherings. Whether or not the castings of the Squadron Crest should be numbered amongst these fund-raising items is unclear, but at least one such casting (by "Rogarn") survives. Depicted here, it is about 10¾" (273mm) tall and weighs in at a hefty 697gm. If anyone has any other souvenirs surviving from this era, please let the webmaster know by e-mail, with a view to including a description and photograph here. There’s a mail link at the bottom of the Site Map page.
When the children of Squadron members reached an age such that they might attend these meetings, a number did – although reportedly there was some dissent voiced as to whether that was appropriate. Next-generation attendees are believed to have included, at various times and in alphabetical order of surname Chris Drake (son of "Quack" Drake), Geoffrey Kelly (son of Piers Kelly), Peter Lammer (son of Freddie Lammer), Andy Lawler (son of the squadron electrician) and Howard Ward (son of Jimmy Ward).
Crest - Casting by Rogarn, circa 1950
In time, the running of the Association passed into the hands of Sir Frederick Maurice Drake, DFC, (1923–2014) who relocated the occasional meetings from London to his magnificent home near Harpenden in Hertfordshire. Quack’s commitment to the squadron was strong; when knighted and given his own coat of arms, he arranged with the Heralds to include two hints at a connection with No.255 Squadron. Prominent below the Shield is a replica of Quack’s DFC, earned whilst with the Squadron, and his choice of motto, Levavi Oculos Ad Auroram combines the motto of his old school (St. George’s, Harpenden, where he was Head Boy) with that of No.255 Squadron. The photographs below show the western elevation of Lincoln’s Inn Chapel and Sir Maurice’s Coat of Arms, painted on the east wall of the Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn. Both images were taken on the occasion of the Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance that took place there on 25 June 2014. The formal representative of the Royal Air Force was Air Marshal Christopher Nickols CB CBE MA FRAeS.
Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, London
Coat-of-Arms of Sir Frederick Maurice Drake, DFC
Shortly after Sir Maurice’s funeral (at St.Nicholas’ Church, Harpenden, 23 April 2014) a decision was taken by some of the "next generation" to expand an existing, very basic web page on the Wikipedia site. By the time of the Memorial Service, only WWI matters had been detailed, but the project appeared at that stage to be going well. Unfortunately, just at the point where the squadron’s great WWII successes in North Africa were being added, a group of people having no known connection with the squadron deleted over 80% of the page content – in the process breaking up the continuity of the historical account assembled through weeks of painstaking research at The National Archives. And what a date they picked to commit such vandalism. The attack commenced on 11th November, Armistice Day!
Rather than engage in a potentially never-ending editing war on a 'wiki' site, a decision was taken to create this separate website under the Association’s sole control.
New participants required!
If you have any connection with 255, however many generations removed, please do get in touch
. There’s no membership fee at present. The "keen types" pay out of their own pockets, much as happened in the days of Mess whip-rounds to (somehow) keep Bruce and his successors fed or acquire additional silver Jerries for the chain.
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