Reunion 2014

550 Squadron Association Reunion 2014

Photographs from the Association Reunion at North Killingholme 4-6 July 2014.

Many thanks to all in North Killingholme who as ever did everything possible to make the weekend absolutely super. Thanks also to all the Association members and others who turned up, from all over the UK, as well as Australia and Denmark, to make it a wonderful weekend for all.

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Anniversaries

This year marked a key event for the Squadron: the 70th Anniversary of Operations from North Killingholme.

Coverage in the Local Press

Coverage in the Grimsby Telegraph included the following items and interviews:

Reunion Weekend Welcome Pack

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Reunion 2014 Welcome Pack Reunion Weekend Friday 4th & 5th July: Welcome Information
Detailed information for the weekend
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Timetable o fEvents 2014 Timetable of Events
Detailed timetable of the Saturday events

Friday Evening, Dinner at the Ashbourne (informal)

About 45 people were able to attend the Friday evening meal. With no seating plan for the informal dinner people were able to turn up and mingle and sit.

Saturday Morning

Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014

Saturday Afternoon

The sun finally stepped out after a drizzly morning for a tremendous fly-past by the BBMF Lancaster PA474 over the Memorial Stone.

Parade to Memorial Stone

Memorial Stone Remembrance Service

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Laying of the Wreaths

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Jack Harris
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Jack Harris
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John Arnold, Peter Benger
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George Bulman
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Jack Harris
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Kathleen Robinson
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Don Hellings and family
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Pam and Stephen Lipfriend
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Policeman, North Killingholme

Veterans at the Memorial Stone

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Ken Brotherhood, Gerry Taylor, Wally Fitch, Don Hellings, Jack Harris, Marjorie Grey, Philip Blackham, George Bulman
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Ken Brotherhood, Gerry Taylor, Wally Fitch, Don Hellings, Jack Harris, Marjorie Grey, Philip Blackham, George Bulman
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Ken Brotherhood, Gerry Taylor, Don Hellings, Jack Harris (obscured), Marjorie Grey, Philip Blackham, John Arnold, Ole Seberg, Brian Troath, Peter Benger
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Ken Brotherhood, Gerry Taylor, Don Hellings, Jack Harris (obscured), Marjorie Grey, Philip Blackham, John Arnold, Ole Seberg, Brian Troath, Peter Benger, George Bulman

Lancaster Flypast

Memorial Stone (Before the Parade Back to St Denys' Church)

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Village Hall, Immingham Air Training Corps Band

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Remembrance Service in St Denys' Church

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Saturday Evening, Reunion Dinner, The Ashbourne Hotel

Sixty-one members of the Association sat down to dinner on Saturday evening. After the Grace said by Rev. Steve Holt a fine dinner was enjoyed by all.

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Reunion 2014 Welcome Pack Reunion Dinner July 2014
Menu and evening programme

After the dinner Jack Harris said a few words, read out a letter from PM David Cameron to the Association about Sam Lipfriend who had been a great supporter of the Bomber Command Association and who had received his Bomber Command Clasp at No. 10 Downing Street in March last year, and proposed the toasts, including closing with a particularly poignant toast to Absent Friends.

Slide sets displayed over the weekend and during the dinner are shown below (these will download and need MS Powerpoint (MSOffice) in order to be viewed:

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Timetable of Events 2014 550Squadron and North Killingholme Association
MS Powerpoint Slide Set
Timetable of Events 2014 550 Squadron Commemorations 2014 (in France, Belgium and The Netherlands)
MS Powerpoint Slide Set

Photos of those at each table follow below.

Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
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Table 1
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
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Table 2
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
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Table 3
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
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Table 4
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
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Table 5
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
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Table 6
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
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Table 7

Sam Lipfriend

A few moments were taken to remember Sam Lipfriend who died suddenly shortly after the 2013 reunion weekend. Sam had been active on the Association Committee for many years and was also a keen supporter of the Bomber Command Association and the campaigns to get recognition for Bomber Command aircrews that resulted in the Bomber Command Clasp.

Jack Harris read out a letter from the Prime Minister David Cameron recalling that he had been honoured and privileged to have met Sam during a ceremony to award Bomber Command Clasps to veterans in 10 Downing Street in March 2013.

DocumentDescription
Timetable of Events 2014 Sam Lipfriend
MS Powerpoint Slide Set
Reunion 2014 Welcome Pack Sam Lipfriend, Letter from No. 10 Downing Street
PDF file (Adobe Reader required)
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014 The Manager of The Ashbourne Hotel presents a cheque for the Bomber Command Memorial Maintenance Fund to Jack Harris and Pam Lipfriend

LM425: Returned from Jalhay

Fragments of LM425 crashed at Jalyhay, with the loss of the F/Sgt Jefferies crew (4 KIA, 3 PoW) were returned this year to North Killingholme. Many thanks to the friends in Jalhay who made this possible.

Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
L-to-R: George Bulman (Nav, F/O K W Jeans crew), Maurice Snowball (F/Eng, F/O K W Jeans crew), Gerry Taylor (Nav, S/Ldr Hume crew), Wally Fitch (A/B, F/O I A Stevenson crew), Don Hellings (Nav, F/Lt G T Pyke crew), W/Cmdr Jack Harris (pilot)
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014
L-to-R: George Bulman (Nav, F/O K W Jeans crew), Maurice Snowball (F/Eng, F/O K W Jeans crew), Gerry Taylor (Nav, S/Ldr Hume crew), Wally Fitch (A/B, F/O I A Stevenson crew), Don Hellings (Nav, F/Lt G T Pyke crew), W/Cmdr Jack Harris (pilot)

Sunday Morning

Killingholme Small Bore Rifle Club

A second flypast of the the BBMF Lancaster PA474 was enjoyed at 11:25 this morning when the Squadron Association was invited to the Killingholme Small Bore Rifle Club on the site of the old gunnery range on the airfield for the unveiling of a plaque to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Squadron; W/Cmdr Jack Harris unveiled the plaque.

Coverage in the local press included:

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Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014 Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014

Grimsby Telegraph Report

Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014

Sunday Afternoon

Elsham Wolds

A number of the weekend visitors travelled to see the museum at Elsham Wolds (about 20 minutes from North Killingholme). The group was welcomed by the Elsham Wolds Association and given a guide tour of the museum.

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Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014 Visitors gathered around the Memorial Stone
Photo courtesy of Graham Brett

L-To-R: Jeremy Bover, Ole Seberg, Mike Leeman, Katy Pritchard
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2014 Visitors gathered around the Memorial Stone
Photo courtesy of Graham Brett

L-To-R: Allan Holmes, Jeremy Bover, Ole Seberg, Mike Leeman, Robin Lingard, Katy Pritchard, Graham Brett

Allan Holmes, nephew to Frank Holmes the Rear Gunner on Don Charlwoods crew ('No Moon Tonight'). They completed their tour on 103 Squadron mid-1943. Later Frank Holmes went on to a Pathfinder Squadron and was killed on the Maille le Camp raid May 1944.
Ole Seberg, from Denmark, who researched the W/O W.H. Ansell crew of EE193 'BQ-C' that crashed close to his village in Denmark. (F/Sgt V.W. Battersby (F/Eng) is buried in the village churchyard).

Many thanks to all at Elsham Wolds, especially Robin Lingard (Curator, Elsham Wold Air Museum) and Graham Brett (apologies if I have omitted anyone), for giving us an extremely interesting and enjoyable visit.

Monday, RAF Coningsby

A number of very lucky folk were able to visit RAF Coningsby on the Monday after the reunion in order to have a special opportunity to see the BBMF Lancaster PA474 currently sporting the markings of 617 (Dambuster) Squadron Lancaster DV385 / KC-A, "Thumper Mk III". Thumper dropped 15 "tallboy" 'earthquake' bombs flying a total of 50 ops.

Thanks to Don Kentish for the following photographs.

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For those intending to go to the BBMF Visitor Centre at RAF Coningsby this year if you have the opportunity then do look into this special opportunity for 550 ex-aircrew and Association members.

Postscript

A fantastic reunion weekend in North Killingholme was enjoyed by all; with events organised over three days. The numbers attending were down slightly from 2013, but then 2013 was a bumper year with large group from Canada, a large delegation over from Belgium and a substantial group of Australian friends also present.

Next year, 2015, is the 70th anniversary of the Operation MANNA operations. 550 Squadron was fully involved in Operation MANNA, and this may be a theme at the 2015 annual reunion. It is anticipated that 2015 will again see a large contingent visiting from Belgium.