Wartime memorial unveiled in Fowlmere
PUBLISHED: 10:43 12 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 12 November 2017
A wartime memorial has been unveiled in Fowlmere just in time for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, as communities gather to remember those who gave their lives to protect our country.
A guard of honour was formed as Colonel Piers Storie-Pugh revealed a new monument at Manor Farm, paying tribute to all units of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force that flew from the now disused airfields during the last two world wars.
The memorial now sits alongside another – honouring the 339th Fighter Group of the USAAF who flew from the fields of Manor Farm from April 1944 to October 1945.
About 50 guests were invited to the ceremony by the farm’s owner Martin Sheldrick, with Col Storie-Pugh doing the honours in his role as vice chairman of the Not Forgotten Association – which provides support and entertainment for serving wounded and ex-service members of the armed forces.
The Manor Farm site has long been associated with aircraft, with an aerodrome constructed in 1917 as a training depot for day bombing.
It was demolished in the 1920s, but the fields of the farm became an airfield again in 1940 when No 19 Squadron of the RAF moved there – using it as a satellite station for Duxford.
The squadron were the first to fly Spitfire fighter aircraft and were involved in the Battle of Britain through to August 1941. After that a variety of RAF fighter squadrons used Fowlmere as a base, with three squadrons of P51 Mustangs of the 339th Fighter Group flying 264 missions from the airfield and destroying more than 650 enemy aircraft.
During the unveiling Col Storie-Pugh, a war cemetery and memorial expert, recalled the names of ‘the few’ who were in the Battle of Britain including Squadron Leader Brian Lane, Sergeant T Jennings, Johnny Johnson, and Ken Wilkinson.
The No. 2461 Sawston Squadron of the Duxford-based Air Training Corps also played their part in the ceremony, performing the guard of honour, while Henry Sterecki was there representing the Polish community – having been born in one of the former airfield huts.
Afterwards guests visited the Fowlmere Airfield Museum where there is a display of memorabilia, photographs and airfield history DVDs made by amateur historian and photo archivist Leslie Price.