Reunion 2015

550 Squadron Association Reunion 2015

Photographs from the Association Reunion at North Killingholme 3rd-5th July 2015.

Thanks to Wilfred Burie, Kathleen Robinson and Mike Leeman for providing the photographs.

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

DSC_0286.JPG

Some images are available in one resolution only, in which case click on the picture to view (they will launch in another window).
Where there are some pictures available in a choice of resolutions then click on the offered link rather than the thumbnail image.
NB: Most of the pictures are not particularly large (ca. 1Mb or less), but some are rather larger (2Mb or more up to ca. 6Mb) and if you have a slow connection they may take a little while to download.

Anniversaries

This year marked a key event for the Squadron, for Bomber Command and indeed the people of The Netherlands: the 70th Anniversary of MANNA Operations.

Reunion Weekend Welcome Pack

DocumentDescription
Reunion 2015 Welcome Pack Reunion Weekend Friday 3rd - 5th July: Welcome Information
Detailed information for the weekend
DocumentDescription
Timetable of Events Timetable of Events (final version)
Detailed timetable of the Saturday events

Friday Evening, Dinner at the Ashbourne (informal)

About 40 people were able to attend the Friday evening meal. With no seating plan for the informal dinner people were able to turn up, mingle and chat.

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Jack Harris spoke briefly with some arrangements for the following day and a couple of stories. Two of the veterans, Gerry Taylor and Don Hellings, read poems from "A Motley Crew" an affectionate and irreverent set of "derogatory ditties" about the seven members of a Lancaster crew that was written by Alan Gall, a Navigator with 550 Squadron.

-
-
-

Saturday Morning

Lunch at the Amethyst Hotel.

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Saturday Afternoon

Parade to Memorial Stone

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

At the Memorial Stone

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Memorial Stone Remembrance Service

-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Laying of the Wreaths

-
Kathleen Robinson, Guy De Braeckeleer, Andrew Etherington, Wally Fitch, Jack Harris
-
Jack Harris
-
Wally Fitch
-
Andrew Etherington
-
Guy De Braeckeleer - Rebecq Association
-
Kathleen Robinson - Chairman of NK Parish Council
-
Don Hellings and Patricia Rydeheard
-
Maurice Snowball
-
Representative Immingham ATC Band
-
Don Kentish and Gerry Taylor
-
Philip Blackham
-
Jos De Ryck and William Albertyn
-
Wreaths and personal poppy crosses

At the Memorial Stone

-
Jack Harris, Don Hellings, Wally Fitch, Marjorie Grey, Maurice Snowball, Philip Blackham, Gerry Taylor
-
Wally Fitch, Maurice Snowball, Gerry Taylor, Philip Blackham
-
Jack Harris, Don Hellings, Wally Fitch, Marjorie Grey, Maurice Snowball, Phillip Blackham, Gerry Taylor
-
Louis Michiels, Jos De Ryck, Jack Harris, Ole Seberg, Wilfred Burie, Guy De Braeckeleer, Willhelm Albertyn
-
The Last Post

Lancaster Flypast

Unfortunately there was no flypast. The hoped for flypast by the Dakota was also cancelled just a few days before the reunions as it also fell foul to an engine problem. So for the first time in many years there was no flypast.

Remembrance Service in St Denys' Church

Jack Harris spoke and remembered Association members no longer with us.

Ildiko Van Dyck sang two pieces for the gathering in the church.

-
School Project Display, Church Porch
-
School Project Display, Church Porch
-
Flower Display, Church
-
Flower Display, Church
-
Flower Display, Church
- -
-
Jos De Ryck and Jack Harris
-
Jos De Ryck and Jack Harris
-
Ildiko Van Dyck

Saturday Evening, Reunion Dinner, The Ashbourne Hotel

Sixty-nine members of the Association, including members from Belgium, Denmark and Ireland, sat down to dinner on Saturday evening. After the Grace said by Jack Harris a fine dinner was enjoyed by all.

DocumentDescription
Reunion 2014 Welcome Pack Reunion Dinner July 2015
Menu and evening programme

After the dinner Jack Harris said a few words, and proposed the toasts.

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):

DocumentDescription
Timetable of Events 2015 550 Squadron and RAF North Killingholme Association
MS Powerpoint Slide Set

Guy De Braeckeleer said a few words on behalf of the Rebecq (Belgium) contingent.

William Albertyn, from Sint Niklaas (Belgium), also said a few words and made a presentation to Jack Harris.

550-Belgian-crash-sites-Titled

Operation MANNA

A key theme for the weekend was Operation MANNA, and there was a presentation both on screen, and on the displays around the room, about Operation MANNA and 550 Squadron's involvement in it. There was a short clip (ca. 4mins) of Maurice Snowball on a special Songs of Praise which was broadcast in May this year on the BBC about Operation MANNA.

DocumentDescription
Timetable of Events 2015 MANNA Operations
MS Powerpoint Slide Set

Maurice, who was attending the dinner, also said a few words about his experiences and about the filming of the piece for the BBC.

Photos of those at each table follow below.

-
(click on picture)
Table 1
L-to-R: Jack Harris, Angela Tompson, Charlie Quinn (partially obscured), Josie Quinn, Andrew Etherington, Sue Etherington, Barry Clark, Anne Harris, Denise Rammeloo, William Albertyn
-
(click on picture)
Table 2
L-to-R: Marie-Claire De Braeckeleer, Guy De Braeckeleer, Ole Seberg, Pam Lipfriend, Fred Fisk, Joan Fisk, Mike Cross
-
(click on picture)
Table 3
L-to-R: Patricia Rydeheard, Robert Rydeheard, Margaret Hellings, Andrew Gilbride, Philip Blackham, Mike Leeman, Margaret Leeman, Don Hellings
-
(click on picture)
Table 4
L-to-R: Jem Bover, Alison & Martin Lewis (obscured), Gerry Taylor, Don Kentish, Val Kentish, Steve Parker, Chris Parker, Vic Parker
-
(click on picture)
Table 5
L-to-R: Barbara Hercliffe, Maurice Snowball, Kath Robinson, Dave Robinson, Kathleen Dove, Mervin Dove, Elizabeth Broddley, Paul Broddley
-
(click on picture)
Table 6
L-to-R: Keith Fitch, Elizabeth Norton, Wally Fitch, Phil Norton, Len Pexman (partially obscured), Sylvia Pexman, Mike Noonan, Margaret Noonan, Peter Coulter, Sally Coulter
-
(click on picture)
Table 7
L-to-R: Ildiko Elbert, Jos De Ryck, Louis Michiels, Sarah Craddock, George Turner, Margaret Turner, Alan Turner, Beatrice Turner (obscured), Ildiko Van Dyck
-
(click on picture)
Table 8
L-to-R: Keith Allen, Honor Redshaw, Mark Pritchard, Jane Pritchard, Hilary Baker, Katy Pritchard, Gordon Bell, Christine Dunlavy

Sunday Morning, Airfield Tour

George Turner led a small convoy of four or five vehicles on a tour of the airfield at 11AM. He stopped at various places to point out items of interest, for example, where "Queenie" bogged down (in a well known photograph), where the "Phantom of the Ruhr" overshot the runway (and where in 1963 the metal "carpet" that was used by the winching crew to retrieve her, was dug up by ploughing), dispersal areas, bomb and fuel dumps, site of the control tower, etc. (although some buildings have been knocked down over the last couple of years as planned developments have commenced). Most of the large hangers remain, and are in current use by various businesses. This was followed by a visit to the remnants of the accommodation areas off the main air-field area.

This was much appreciated by all attending.

A photo of the map of the airfield that George used is available: here.

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Sunday Afternoon, Elsham Wolds

A large group, including all our visitors from Belgium and Ireland, travelled to see the museum at Elsham Wolds (about 20 minutes from North Killingholme).

There the group was welcomed by members of the Elsham Wolds Association and given a guided tour of the museum.

PhotoDescription
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2013
(click on picture)
Visitors assembling for visit to Elsham Wolds

L-to-R: Keith Turner, Anne Noonan, Jimmy Noonan, Mike Noonan, Kathleen Robinson, Guy De Braeckeleer, Louis Michiels, Peter Coulter, Margaret Noonan, Sally Coulter, Marie-Claire De Braeckeleer, Jos De Ryck, Wilfred Burie

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Robinson
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2013
(click on picture)
Visitors gathered around the Memorial Stone (to 103 and 576 Squadrons which flew from Elsham Wolds)

L-to-R: Jos De Ryck, Mike Noonan, Jimmy Noonan, Guy De Braeckeleer, Anne Noonan, Marie-Claire De Braeckeleer, Keith Turner, Peter Coulter, Margaret Noonan, Wilfred Burie, Louis Michiels, Sally Coulter, Kathleen Robinson, Dave Robinson

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Robinson
Reunion, North Killingholme, 2013
(click on picture)
Visitors gathered around the Memorial Stone (to 103 and 576 Squadrons which flew from Elsham Wolds)

L-to-R: Jos De Ryck, Mike Noonan, Jimmy Noonan, Guy De Braeckeleer, Anne Noonan, Marie-Claire De Braeckeleer, Keith Turner, Peter Coulter, Margaret Noonan, Wilfred Burie, Louis Michiels, Sally Coulter, Kathleen Robinson, Dave Robinson

Photo courtesy of Graham Brett

Many thanks to all at Elsham Wolds, especially Robin Lingard (Curator, Elsham Wold Air Museum), Alan Holmes, and Graham Brett for giving us an extremely interesting and enjoyable visit.