Last updated: 12 January 2018, 18:44
255 Squadron Association
Forthcoming events, news, mailing list &c.
21 February 2018 : 50th anniversary of the death of Kevin O'Sullivan whilst he was stationed at RAF Little Rissington. A gathering is being arranged, to take place either at Stow-on-the Wold or at Little Rissington itself. Details to follow once a reconnaissance has taken place.
21 to 26 April 2018 : Expedition to Serbia, to the crash site of MM838. Dates, flights and hotels for the Main Party now confirmed as follows: Depart LHR London Heathrow on Air Serbia flight JU381, 13:30 / 21.April.2018. Return BEG to LHR departing BEG 10:25 local time 26.April.2018. Both flights are direct, no changes. See the Air Serbia website for details of baggage allowances. Hotel in Belgrade: Hotel Moscow, which during WW2 was the Gestapo HQ. Hotel in Kovin: Villa Milano. Hotel rooms in the Kovin area are in short supply and latecomers may need to look across the river in Smederevo. Special restriction: The passport used to enter Serbia must not contain any stamps indicating previous travel to Kosovo. If you have Kosovan stamps in your passport, you must get a new passport before travelling. This also applies to those arriving by other means of transport. Enquiries to Tony Summers, please, using the dedicated e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. Several ladies will be in the party, currently expected to number about a dozen in all. This is not a boys-only event!
May 2018 : 100 years on from the Squadron's original formation during WWI, it is proposed to organise a gathering at the site of RAF Pembroke (later re-named RAF Carew Cheriton). See www.carewcheritoncontroltower.co.uk for information about the venue. Details to follow once a reconnaissance has taken place.
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?
12.January.2018 : The new year opens with the most wonderful news. After years – literally – of quiet negotiation, the Chain of Jerries has, within the past week, been recovered. More to follow as details emerge.
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.
Due to Google Chrome now requiring that all websites inviting text input must have https certification, the system for self-service subscribe / unsubscribe has had to be withdrawn. It simply isn't economic to create, register and maintain SSL security just for this one facility. For the time being, please e-mail our "office at 255 dot org dot uk" address and request a manual amendment to the list. Alternatively use the mail link at the foot of our Sitemap page. This should continue to work with most browsers. If you get a pop-up asking you to configure Outlook please ignore it, cancel and open your Mail Client as you would when preparing to send a normal e-mail.
Google say that they intend in time to force all webmasters to implement https by labelling all http websites as insecure and downgrading them in the Google Search Engine results, even if the site has no input fields. This leaves your scribe feeling like a very small nut about to be unnecessarily clobbered by a very large hammer. Anyone who knows of a work-around, please advise.
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