Modest Royston war photographer finally honoured with WW2 medals

PUBLISHED: 17:30 11 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:44 12 January 2016

War veteran Raymond Greenway has finally taken delivery of his wartime service medals after granddaughter Charlotte Vowden stepped in, Picture: David Rose

War veteran Raymond Greenway has finally taken delivery of his wartime service medals after granddaughter Charlotte Vowden stepped in, Picture: David Rose

David Rose Copyright, single use only.. contact for permissions

On an afternoon trip to Duxford Imperial War Museum last summer, 91-year-old Raymond Greenway shared a hidden chapter of his life with his granddaughter Charlotte Vowden that has unlocked a fascinating history.

Bombs falling away from the plane. Bombs falling away from the plane.

As the pair sipped on afternoon tea and watched a passenger return from a flight on a De Havilland Rapide, he told her how he became a war photographer for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War – but had never collected his medals for his work.

Charlotte, 27, said: “Duxford turned out to be the perfect setting for him to start telling his story.

“It was like being let in on a secret when he started to share his story and every time we touch on the subject another fascinating snippet of information comes out.

“It was like opening Pandora’s box – which actually led to us opening the chest he had kept closed since he was demobbed in 1947.”

Raymond Greenway Raymond Greenway

Raymond revealed how his job as flight sergeant of No 1 Film Production Unit was to accompany bombers on missions – he would bravely remove a plate from the floor of the aircraft to photograph where the bombs fell.

After joining the Marine Craft Section of the RAF at the age of 19, Raymond – who Charlotte affectionately refers to as Dodo – trained at Pinewood Studios in 1943 alongside Richard Attenborough, already a rising young actor and later to become one of the leading lights of the British film industry, and went on to serve in France, Germany and Belgium.

He was one of the first people to use infra-red film and was issued an access all areas pass by General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe and later president of the USA, in 1945.

Proud of her humble grandfather’s past, Charlotte – a digital editor and journalist for the Sunday Times – made it her personal mission to get hold of his medals, and set about helping him to him apply for them.

Raymond - centre - with his crew. Raymond - centre - with his crew.

In October, the Ministry of Defence officially issued him the two medals that he had never collected.

“When I got my glimpse of them it was unceremonious – it was in the kitchen while Dodo was preparing us some dinner, he hadn’t mentioned their arrival beforehand,” she said.

“I was pleased that we’d been able to resolve a little unfinished business together and I’m so very proud of him.”

The chest – which had been locked away since 1947 – contained original photographs and war memorabilia as well as camera film, a pamphlet on what to do if captured by the enemy and menus from the mess that give a real insight into life during the period.

Raymond's photo of a mosquito. Raymond's photo of a mosquito.

These days Raymond only gets his camera out for happier occasions and enjoys life in Royston.

But he’s a familiar figure as he steps out for coffee around the town centre, with Ad Hoc Bar and Kitchen in Fish Hill among his favourite haunts.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

7 minutes ago

A yellow weather warning has been issued for Stevenage and the snow is due to stop soon across Welwyn Hatfield and St Albans.

Fri, 17:51

There’s less than one week left to respond to Hertfordshire County Council’s Local Transport Plan, which the council says will mean a major shakeup of the county’s transport networks in a bid to help them cope in the future.

Fri, 15:45

A development of almost 300 homes on the edge of Royston is one step closer after the planning application received the go-ahead on Wednesday night.

Fri, 15:09

North Herts District Council’s members last night voted themselves a two-per-cent allowance rise.


Most read stories


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter