Wickenby’s Memorial Service took place last Sunday, marking the first of the ‘Friends of Wickenby Archive’ events. It took place at the Icarus Memorial at 3pm, following in the footsteps of the Wickenby Register’s annual event. It’s estimated that over 100 people made it to this year’s event, which was presided pver by Revd Ian Partridge.
Amongst those who attended was Wing Commander Strasdin, and six personnel from 12 Bomber Squadron who made the journey from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. Lancaster PA474 from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight honoured the fallen and the attending veterans with a fly past at 3:55pm.
Joanna White, of Primetime Media, attended to record this event and has produced a short YouTube video which is posted below for all to enjoy.
Last year’s event:
Veterans of 12 and 626 Squadron
It was an unfortunate end for the last Wickenby Register Memorial Service, when the heavens opened at the beginning of the service and torrential rain forced the event to be brought to a premature close.
All who attended stuck out the first hymn (coincidental that the rain began with the singing!) but an inability to hear the vicar speaking due to the violence of the rainfall led to the wreaths being laid immediately and everyone running for the cover of their cars or the Old Control Tower.
A saturated Tim Brett lays his wreath
For those few who stayed on for tea and snacks at the Watch Office, their patience was rewarded by a late fly past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster.
The Lancaster had been delayed at Duxford due to the weather and was not expected to make it to Wickenby. But thanks to RAF Coningsby ATC, we were notified when the aircraft was 15 minutes away and the Wickenby Register Members could be at the Icarus Memorial to witness the excellent display.
The Lancaster display over the Icarus Memorial
Graham Smith, a member of the Wickenby Register commented: “Once again streams of water appeared, only this time it was flowing down our cheeks as we remembered those brave youngsters who, having volunteered for aircrew during that conflict, laid down their lives in service of their King and Country. That fly past marked a very poignant and fitting end for the Wickenby Register (of airmen who flew from that airfield during WW2), which is formally closing this month and handing its assets over to the RAF Wickenby Memorial Museum.”
The Wickenby Register was formed in 1977 by a small group of aircrew who had served with 12 and 626 Squadron’s at Wickenby from 1942-45. Over the next few years founder members Jim MacDonald and Denzil Ede researched the history of the two Squadrons and collected together Operational Record Books, a considerable collection of photographs and a number of Flying Log Books and other documents for safe keeping. These documents form the basis of the Wickenby Register Archive which is looked after by the Wickenby Collection today.
Wickenby is now home to the Register
We will be sorry to lose the Wickenby Register, who are finishing this year. But we are delighted to announce that their good work will be kept going. The ‘Friends of the Wickenby Archive’ is a committee set up to preserve the heritage and memory of 12 & 626 Squadrons, to look after the Archive, the Book of Remembrance and the Memorial. They will also organise an annual memorial service and keep links with the current 12 Squadron and the ATC.
Anne Law of the Wickenby Memorial Collection adds: “The RAF Wickenby Memorial Collection also intends to have some sort of membership scheme which is in the process of being set up with a Newsletter (initially on our website) and then by email or post as necessary. Anybody can join and interested people should contact us at email@example.com or speak to Tim, David or myself.”
For more details visit The Wickenby Memorial Collection website.