Last updated: 15 February 2019, 13:53
255 Squadron Association
Forthcoming events, news, mailing list &c.



Forthcoming events:

Spring 2019 : Due to severe weather having disrupted transport and other services throughout Italy, the proposal to visit Sicily in early November 2018 was abandoned. Tentative plans include the possibility of reviving this trip in 2019. Please notify provisional interest using the updated mail link at the foot of the Sitemap page.

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Various dates throughout 2019 : LST 325, the Landing Ship (Tanks) that conveyed the Squadron’s ground crew, vehicles and so on from North Africa to Sicily in 1943, will spend much of the year at her home port of Evansville, IN 47713, USA. The proposal to bring her to Europe for the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings has been abandoned. She will, nevertheless, be making her customary summer cruise on the inland waterways of the USA – probably between 17 August and 18 September 2019. Please see the website http://www.lstmemorial.org for details and bear in mind the possibility of tagging a visit to Evansville onto any visit to North America especially if that includes passing through the international airports at Chicago or Atlanta. Evansville is on the Ohio River, pretty much due south of Chicago and about a 6½ hour drive from O'Hare Airport (IATA Code: ORD).

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Late August/Early September 2019 : Further visit to Serbia, in connection with the losses of MM838 and EW160. Local events are being planned spanning 28 August to 01 September but some participants may wish to tarry longer. Same general arrangements as last year; book your own travel insurance (required) and transport to/from Belgrade. Hotels and minibus hire being arranged by Tony Summers, costs to be settled up once totals are known.

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Remembrance Sunday 2020 : The concluding event of our WW2 75th Anniversary calendar; parade at the Malta Memorial, Valletta. The Malta Memorial commemorates a greater number of Squadron casualties than any other single CWGC memorial site – seventeen names in all, sixteen officially flying with the Squadron plus one passenger, all of whom have no known grave.



News:

Xmas 2018 - New Year 2019 : Sadly, the Squadron Wreath was stolen from the Animals in War memorial in Park Lane sometime between Christmas and the New Year, along with a photograph of Bruce. A number of other war memorials in London were defaced during the same period. Enquiries are in progress.

Website maintenance : To allow for hardware renewal by our website host, the site will again be offline for a short period commencing 21:00 Wednesday 20 February 2019.



Online news stories from earlier years:

After viewing the archive, please use the ‘Back’ button of your browser to return to this page.

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2015
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2016
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2017
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2018



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. Nor will we be deleting past contributions to website content, unless evidenced as being incorrect.

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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OPT-IN
Not all Mail Clients still fully support the rather old-fashioned <mailto> HTML construct, forcing us to change our opt-in arrangements. To opt-in, please send an e-mail to <opt-in@255.org.uk>, inserting the single word "Subscribe" in the subject line and a short description of your connection with the Squadron as the text. Please include a reserve line of communication such as a phone number that accepts SMS Text (preferred), or a mailing/street address. This e-mail MUST be sent from the same address as you are seeking to have added to the mailing list.
  
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UNSUBSCRIBE
Not all Mail Clients still fully support the rather old-fashioned <mailto> HTML construct, forcing us to change our unsubscribe arrangements. To unsubscribe, please send an e-mail to <unsubscribe@255.org.uk>, inserting the single word "Unsubscribe" in the subject line and as the first or only word of the text. This e-mail MUST be sent from the same address as you are seeking to have removed from the mailing list.



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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