|Stafford Sinclair DFM shown back row, 2nd left, 214 Squadron, w Lanc crew, RAF Oulton|
Courtesy: City of Norwich Aviation Museum
As our annual May Reunion Weekend fast approaches in Norfolk, it brings our RAF 100 Group Association back through a portal in Time, to remember the many who did not return home.
Stafford Sinclair (above) was one such man, forged in the fire of a Second World War, married just four months to his wife Eileen when he was shot down by the enemy with the loss of all crew. His wife and her brother Martin Staunton visited Norfolk tens of years later, and were saddened not just in remembering her husband and other airmen for whom Norfolk had once been their wartime home, but by the once thriving airfields filled with the clamor of voices and activity, now left abandoned, forlorn, neglected, buildings either in ruin and decay or being used by farmers for livestock and feed stores.
|Founders: Martin Staunton & sister Eileen Boorman|
In the years following their first visit, Eileen and Martin, helped and supported by local couple Len and Evelyn Bartram; began to bring together veterans of RAF 100 Group to form an Association to honour and remember. In 1997, Oulton Memorial was dedicated in a ceremony which brought veterans and their families together for the first time ... and since then, we have continued on the legacy of Eileen and Martin, Len and Evelyn, coming together each year at the same time in May, while the Association has developed and grown into a thriving worldwide Family of Kindred Spirits of which I feel both humbled and privileged to be a part.
One further development which happened in recent years is that the 36th Squadron, U.S. 8th Air Force have joined our membership. They came over from the States in wartime to serve alongside RAF 100 Group, flying as a combined formidable force, together tasked with identifying and jamming enemy Radar using special electronic warfare, as well as being involved in covert operations. Now many of their veterans and families make up a valued part of our worldwide Family, and travel across to the UK today to join our Reunions. Their representative, Stephen Hutton, whose father Iredell Hutton served with this Squadron, remains a close friend together with Pam his wife. And as the Association as a whole stretches between the UK, The States, New Zealand, China, Australia, Canada, and other countries, we are linked by the same passion to preserve both the history and stories of these courageous and committed people:
Website of 36th Bomb Squadron RCM:
Finally, we have an official RAF 100 Group Association website. There is also another website which features the Group in a very warm, emotive and personal way given those who continue to update the website live and work in Norfolk, and know well the places where RAF 100 Group Squadrons and the 36th Bomb Squadron RCM were based:
My heartfelt thanks goes to my good friends Donna Gray and Darren Rose who recently brought together links to these different websites under the one shown above, offering the best possible experience in understanding the role of RAF 100 Group in wartime serving under Bomber Command, including the 36th Bomb Squadron, U.S. 8th Air Force. The websites will explain why their work was so secret ... remaining shrouded in mystery to this day.
Donna and Darren are firm friends, who became concerned when they realised my books written about RAF 100 Group give a website no longer available. They resolved this issue by registering the website given in my publications, creating under it a page online which gives viewers three separate options ... including the newly created official RAF 100 Group Association website, and their own entitled: 'Heroes of our Time'.
It makes compulsive reading, illustrated by photographs of the day, and is continually evolving.
Donna grew up in places where RAF 100 Group and the U.S. 36th Bomb Squadron RCM were based in wartime. It's the reason why their website has a very personal feel to it, and for the future, will include more and more personal stories and photographs of war-torn Britain depicting heroes of our time.
I love the language and skills they use in making their website come alive, reaching out, making you want to explore further as you enter the portal into another age when the noise of Merlin engines fill the skies, and blue uniforms tread the highways and byways of Norfolk.
We join in inviting you to enter a world we ... myself, Donna & Darren, and Stephen Hutton in the States ... continue to live today, passionate about preserving its history, the stories of its people, and lessons it has to teach about what it is to live in a world at war.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM!