Last updated: 31 January 2017, 15:52
255 Squadron Association
News Archive 2016



01.Jan.2016 : It is pleasing to be able to report that the sum of £100 was raised for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal during 2015. Don’t forget that Types C and K wreaths can be ordered with the Squadron’s distinctive crest as the centrepiece. Smaller tokens of remembrance, better suited for placing adjacent to individual CWGC headstones in military cemeteries, can be ordered here.

Meeting at Northampton 2.Feb.2016 02.Feb.2016 : On the 75th anniversary of the Squadron’s first fatal incident, five sons of 255 Squadron WWII personnel and one representative of the Northampton Branch of the Royal British Legion gathered at Kingsthorpe Cemetery in splendid winter sunshine to remember Alan Ralph JACOBS. Ranks represented by descendants ranged from Wing Commander to 'Erk'. Poppy Crosses and flowers were laid on Alan’s grave, after which the Squadron Association members retired to The Fox and Hounds on Harborough Road for a pub lunch. There, some 70+ year old scrapbooks were produced and discussed. These gave rise to some updates of pages on this website, having yielded fresh historical information. Those who attended seemed unanimous in their opinion that the gathering marked a worthwhile revival of Squadron Association meetings. Members able to stay longer visited Alan Jacobs’ childhood home and also the town war memorial in Abington Square, upon which Alan’s name is engraved.
Northampton, 02 February 2016

Left to Right:  Dave Shrimpton, Shaun
Stewart, Jeremy Hayley-Bell, Chris Eley,
Andrew Hayley-Bell

Photo credit: Kevin Lamberth (RBL)

Period ending 16.March.2016 : During the past winter, the panther slept fitfully. Something in our airspace was amiss. At the beginning of December 2015, three tower cranes were erected on a building site in central Harrow, none showing proper air navigation hazard lights despite being within 6km of the boundary of RAF Northolt and in an area frequented by low-flying Police and Air Ambulance helicopters. Association HQ raised the alarm within 30 minutes of dusk on the first evening, but it took until 16 March 2016 for all three cranes to be properly marked. Not exactly speedy action by the CAA and the myriad of other official bodies that became involved. Such rules as apply to these matters exist for a reason - safety. If you see a breach, speak up and make sure you get an official reference number for your alert.

16.August.2016 : On the 75th Anniversary of the crash of L1223 (a Blenheim) at Coltishall, a Poppy Cross was laid on the grave of Donald Crosby FOWLER in Gillingham, Kent.

22.August.2016 : On the 75th Anniversary of the crash of R2403 (a Beaufighter) at Coltishall, a Poppy Cross was laid on the grave of John Stuart BARTLETT, DFC, at Brookwood Military Cemetery.


Crash site, N3378, 75 years on.
29.August.2016 : In perfect weather conditions, a trek was made by members of 255 Squadron Association and the group behind the Peak District Air Accident Research website. At the pace of the oldest participant, this was a five hour round trip from the top of Snake Pass to the crash site of N3378 (a Defiant). That incident killed Pilot Officer Craig and AC1 Hempstead. The remaining wreckage was successfully located at Near Bleaklow Stones and a poppy wreath was laid. Outstanding visibility meant that it was possible to see the Lincolnshire Wolds some 50 miles to the east – beyond RAF Hibaldstow, the intended destination of the aircraft. Very different from the cloud cover on the same day 75 years previously; poor visibility was a contributory cause of the loss.
Bleaklow, 29 August 2016


Sunday 16.Oct.2016 : Nine of our number met for lunch at the Smallsticks Café, Happisburgh Cart Gap, Norfolk, on the 75th anniversary of the crash that killed Sergeants Walter Barker and Tom Varley. By chance, two other patrons of the café were local metal detectorists who had found three items of possible interest, one a large calibre spent cartridge from a machine gun and two unidentified objects, one possibly part of a Beaufighter’s cannon. These were handed over to 255 Squadron Association’s representative for onward transmission to the Imperial War Museum for formal identification. Other attendees were all relatives of Walter Barker; nobody was present from the Varley family but a possible new lead for contact was obtained. During a convenient break in the showers, timed close to low water, the family cast one wreath into the North Sea and left another below the high water mark, intended to float away on the next tide. The formal Poppy Wreath bearing the Squadron’s crest was accepted for placement in the Coastwatch hut that now overlooks the crash scene.

Remembrance Sunday weekend 2016 : On Armistice Day a 255 Squadron wreath was laid at the Coltishall Remembrance Stone in Scottow Cemetery. The card named all five of the Squadron’s casualties buried there. The picture below shows the stone, fresh wreaths and – in the background – Jimmy Emmerson’s grave.


The Coltishall Remembrance Stone at Scottow.

Scottow Cemetery, 11.November.2016.


Thursday 08.Dec.2016 : On the 75th anniversary of the crash that killed the Squadron’s CO, Wing Commander Charles Mervyn Windsor, eleven of our number assembled for luncheon at The Fox Public House, Hevingham, Norfolk. Guest of Honour was Charles’ son, Major (Ret’d) Antony M Windsor L/RAMC(V), TD, MCSP. Also present were six other members of the Windsor family (the youngest great grand-daughter of the pilot just twenty months of age), two representatives of the Lowestoft Aviation Society, Geoff Kelly (son of Wing Commander Windsor’s successor, Piers Kelly), and Chris Eley as event organiser on behalf of 255 Squadron Association.

After the meal and discussion about the technical failures that caused the loss of the aircraft, Tony Windsor was presented by Lowestoft Aviation Society with a commemorative print and mounted fragments of wreckage recovered in the 1980s. Having received the kind consent of the landowner to enter private property, the group then proceeded to the crash site. In 1941 it was woodland, but has since become cattle pasture. There, the year’s events concluded with a recitation of the Kohima Epitaph.


Bearing gifts

Bob Collis of LAS presents
commemorative items to Tony Windsor
 
Tony Windsor and his son Charles

The pilot’s son Tony (left)
and grandson Charles
The crash site

Teaching the next generation the cost of
ensuring that "There'll always be an England..."


Photo credits:  Above - Lowestoft Aviation Society. Below - Geoffrey Kelly.


Recovered wreckage

Wreckage recovered in the 1980s
L to R : Simon Baker, Tony Windsor, Bob Collis

L to R : Simon Baker, Tony Windsor, Bob Collis




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