Last updated: 01 July 2018, 11:57
255 Squadron Association
Forthcoming events, news, mailing list &c.



Forthcoming events:

11 August 2018 : 100 years on from the Squadron’s original formation during WWI, there is to be a gathering at the site of RAF Pembroke (since re-named RAF Carew Cheriton) in West Wales. The date of Saturday 11 August 2018 has been chosen to coincide with the site’s "Wings over Carew" event.

Activities will include:
RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team "dropping in" on a target within the event perimeter,
Spitfire fly-past (unfortunately not enough remains of the runway for the aircraft to land),
March-past by military bands, salute to be taken by an Air Commodore,
(255 Association visitors will have reserved spaces in the Grandstand for the above events),
157 (Welsh) Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, display of modern military vehicles,
All-services careers advice,
Owners’ display of restored WW2 era vehicles,
Display of radio-controlled military models,
Raffle,
RAF Anson WW2 vintage aircraft under restoration in the hanger,
The site’s museum, displaying things you won’t find at Hendon, Cosford or Duxford!
Tour of the Watch Office (Control Tower), now fully restored to 1940s condition,
The air raid shelter experience – "TAKE COVER!",
Short Wave and VHF radio – a live, hands-on demonstration,
Commemorative silence and poetry recital at the War Memorial, wreath-laying etc.
Children’s amusements (Bouncy Castle subject to wind speed), period costumes etc.

At the close of proceedings, a car convoy will set out for Martletwy to lay a Squadron wreath on the grave of Rhys Soar, 255’s CO in 1918.
Facilities on-site will include:
Off-road parking from 10:00am,
Café with professional event caterers in attendance,
Ice Cream van,
Proper toilets including a disabled facility - not just Portaloos,
Access and restrictions:
The site is adjacent to the A477 St.Clears to Pembroke Dock road. From London/Cardiff/Swansea take the M4 to Junction 49, then A48 to Carmarthen, A40 to St.Clears, A477 (signposted Pembroke Dock) as far as the Carew Cross roundabout. There, turn left (first exit, heading south), taking the unclassified road signposted Carew Cheriton. Immediately after leaving the roundabout, turn left again onto the private track leading to the site.

Admission: Adults £5 each. Children under 16 free if accompanied by an adult. Well-behaved dogs admitted but they must be kept on a lead. Please bring, carry and if necessary use your own poo-scoop.
Safety:
No children or dogs to be left in parked cars (heatstroke risk),
No smoking indoors (legal restriction) or near outdoor exhibits (fire risk),
No flying of private drones or model aircraft without prior arrangement.
Weather note:
The parachute jump, the fly-past and the Bouncy Castle are all weather-dependent. The radio demonstration may need to close temporarily in the event of a thunderstorm. Plenty else to do indoors if wet or windy, so don't be put off by a gloomy forecast.
--

Late Autumn 2018 : Possible expedition to Western Sicily, 75 years on from the Squadron’s presence at Bo Rizzo. If interested, please submit your ideas regarding dates. The Squadron’s aircraft left Bo Rizzo for Mainland Italy on 13 November 1943, so any visit is likely to conclude by mid-November at the latest. Do people wish to spend Remembrance Sunday (in 2018 it is also Armistice Day) in Sicily? Feedback invited; detaailed planning will not commence until after the 100th Birthday celebrations have concluded.



News:


12.January.2018 : The new year opened with the most wonderful news. After years – literally – of investigation and quiet negotiation, the Chain of Jerries has, within the past week, been recovered.

21.February.2018 : A modest gathering took place in the Cotswolds to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Kevin O'Sullivan DFC whilst he was stationed at RAF Little Rissington. At 10:00am Mass was celebrated at the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Kenelm, Stow-on-the-Wold, dedicated by Father McCarthy to the repose of Kevin's soul.

The original intention was to have lunch in Stow and then proceed to Kevin's grave in the CWGC portion of the cemetery at Little Rissington. However, the weather showed signs of deteriorating and so, with all those expected already present, two cars proceeded to Little Rissington to do the honours there.

Photo

Church of Our Lady and St Kenelm, Stow
  Photo

Kevin’s grave, the recently recovered
Chain of Jerries held by Peter Lammer
  Photo

St.Peter’s Church, Little Rissington

Use the magnifier controls of your browser to enlarge these images

All but one of our number then returned to The Sheep on Sheep Street in Stow for lunch, where the Chain of Jerries was produced for inspection and discussion. By mid-afternoon the sky had darkened, an easterly wind had picked up and a few sleet flurries were blowing about – apparently justifying the change to the timetable. Thanks due to Steve Kingsford of the Chipping Norton branch of RBL for representing the Legion and for adding their tribute to the grave. For our part, we were honoured to represent absent family members Gillian (residing in Australia) and Josephine (residing in New Zealand).

21-26.April.2018 : Our most ambitious gathering yet, a six-day expedition to Serbia, proved to be a resounding success thanks in large measure to the exceptional planning and organisation carried out by Tony Summers. The preliminary edition of a fully illustrated report now appears on this website, linked from the Site Map page. Suffice it to say here that eleven of us were very cordially received in both Ram and Kovin. What we discovered was that some confusion exists in local folk memory – was only one aircraft shot down, or two at the same location on slightly different dates? If there was a second Allied aircraft lost, reported by one local as a Liberator, it is yet to be identified. This confusion, along with apparent discrepancies in the casualty records of the 255 crew members, leaves scope for further enquiries.



Online news stories from earlier years:

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2015
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2016
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2017



Squadron neck ties are back!

After an absence of about 45 years, 255 Squadron gentlemen’s neck ties are back in stock. Price is £13 each plus £1.50 P&P. Sales are limited to surviving Squadron members (all ranks) and their relatives. Despatch is being handled by Shaun Stewart, but please apply in the first instance to the Association using the mail link at the foot of the Sitemap page.



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), Shaun Stewart (son of "Stew" Stewart) and Howard Ward (son of Jimmy Ward).
  Crest, by Rogarn

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.

Chapel of Lincoln’s Inn   Coat-of-Arms of the late Sir Maurice Drake, DFC

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.



Membership Database and Mailing List:

Names and contact details were routinely added to our old mailing list in consequence of past communication regarding the Squadron and its history. But in some cases we simply do not know where data came from; no record survives.

Due to the legal changes associated with GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulations), the mailing list was revised in May 2018. Henceforth we can only send unsolicited mail to postal and e-mail addresses that we can prove have been obtained on the basis of "opt-in" involving informed consent. Be warned! If you didn’t reply to the circular sent out on 11.May.2018, asking to be kept on the list, you will not receive any further announcements sent out by the Association – unless you re-register.

The new law not only means that we were obliged to revise our mailing list, it also requires us to state what Personal Data we hold about you, how we gathered it, how you can review/correct it, how in future we intend to store it, how we intend to use it and how you can opt out of bulk mail communications from us should you decide to do so.

It is our intention to continue to use Heart Internet both as the Website Host and for sending bulk mail relating to the Squadron Association. This bulk mail, probably about 6 items per year, will in the main comprise notification of significant upcoming events such as gatherings and expeditions. The address list will also serve as one part of our two-part membership record.

E-mail exchanges with individual members or small groups of members (such as participants in a particular event or expedition) are at present held entirely separately, on Yahoo’s servers. It is our intention to continue this arrangement for the time being, whilst keeping under review the privacy implications of using a facility not wholly within UK jurisdiction.

The information held on our membership database (separate from the mailing list) will in future comprise:
• Your personal or business name as applicable,
• Your e-mail address,
• Your reserve line of communication (EG phone, street address),
• Your connection with the Squadron if any, (EG "Son of 136496 George W. ELEY, Navigator"),
• EITHER A copy of your explicit consent to be on the mailing list,
╎ OR a copy of your request to be removed from the mailing list,
╎ OR a note of an automatic lapse (EG upon notification of death).
╎ ... along with a trail of past changes to the consent, if any.
This we consider to be the absolute minimum information needed for the Association to function. None of this data is "Sensitive Personal Data" within the meaning of GDPR, but to be on the safe side we will not be recording Titles that betray particular religious affiliations such as Reverend, Father, Rabbi, Imam or similar.

Requests for review/change will be handled by e-mail using the address office@255.org.uk.

The data will only be read by those for the time being running the Association, plus (where necessary for operational purposes) the technical staff of our service provider. As has been the case for many years, neither the mailing list nor the underlying database storing the details listed above will be on public display.

Given the nature of the Association as a Historical Record Society, we will not be deleting accurate records of past members from the Database, only from the Mailing List. Editing historical truth isn’t our thing.

Any members who didn’t reply to our circular of 11th May by the 25th have been flagged "Lapsed on introduction of GDPR" on the database and removed from the mailing list. You can, of course, re-apply. The inconvenience is regretted, but this is a paper exercise that by law we simply had to do.

Those who elect to remain on, join or re-join the list are advised to "whitelist" the Domain "@255.org.uk" with your ISP, as a way of lessening the chance of misrouting of mail to your spam filter. For a tutorial on how to whitelist a mail source, see Onlinegroups.net.



Opt-in and Unsubscribe links

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Searching for another Squadron too?

Many researchers need to consult the records of more than one Squadron/Wing/Group/OTU or whatever. A list of other Associations can be found by entering the exact phrase "ROYAL AIR FORCES REGISTER OF ASSOCIATIONS" into any reputable Search Engine.







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