Re-dedication service on Saturday 27th May 2017.
In late 2016, the Parish Council decided the 305th Bombardment Group memorial needed some tender loving care, and made arrangements for it to be cleaned and repaired the following Spring. The 305th Bombardment Group Memorial Association (BGMA) UK Representative, Ian White, was contacted to ask if they wished to hold a Re-dedication service on the 10th anniversary of the memorial.
The 305th BGMA focused on the veterans' families tour, whilst the Parish Council covered the memorial service and a 1940s themed community event at the nearby Star & Garter.
The memorial site was steam cleaned, and the stonework and paving received repairs by the local stonemason, Robert Farrow. Steve Abbot (of Abbots Fabrications) modified and enlarged the original dedication plaque framework he had built in 2007 to take a new plaque for the 10th anniversary.
Memorial and paving after steam cleaning
All set up and waiting!
Transport between the former airfield site, the Church and the memorial was provided by the Trucks, Troops and Stores WW2 vehicle group, under the direction of Billy Betts.
TTS convoy with the 305th Air Mobility Wing on board! (image by John Routledge)
The service at St John the Baptist Church was conducted by the Reader, Debbie Smith-Wilds, with the lesson read by the USAF Chaplin, Capt James (Matt) Henry. After the service the visitors moved to the base of the church tower by the 1980s memorial to the 305th Bombardment Group.
A wreath was laid at the tower memorial by Rebekah and Will Hastings, and their 4 year old son, Liam. Rebekah's Grandfather was Harold Pop Wiley, a pilot of the 365th Bombardment Squadron.
Laying the wreath at the 1980 memorial at the base of the church tower
(Image by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst)
The weather stayed fine for the memorial Re-dedication service, with 20 USAF personnel from the 305th Air Mobility Wing (the present day successor to the 305th Bombardment Group) having flown in the previous day from McGuire Air Force Base, NJ, USA, under the command of Col Clinton ZumBrunnen, plus around 35 family members and one 94 year old veteran, Doug Ward, of the 305th BGMA.
Doug had flown a total of 37 missions, 9 of which he did at the start of his military service, while flying from Foggia Italy, with the 301st Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force. He came over to Chelveston in 1944, and flew the remaining missions as Ball Turret Gunner with the 364th Bombardment Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force. He was awarded the Air Medal, Four Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Guests included Col Wolfgang Biggerstaff, US Army, and Sqn Ldr Clive Wood, RAF, with the new Chairman of East Northamptonshire Council, Cllr Colin Wright, and the Station Manager of the Northants Fire & Rescue Service Fire Training Centre, Karl Crocker. Cllr Ray Daniells, Chair, represented the Parish Council.
A honour guard was provided by the 423rd Air Base Group from RAF Alconbury, under the direction of Staff Sgt Mike Joy. The Raunds branch of the Royal British Legion provided a Standard Bearer, Stephen Clements, and Alex McLean played the trumpet.
The Master of Ceremonies was Cllr Glenn Harwood MBE.
- 305th Bomb Group Memorial Re-dedication Service (PDF, 37 Kb)
Order of service of the 305th Re-dedication service on 27th May 2017
- 305th Bomb Group Memorial Re-dedication Service Ray Daniells Speech (PDF, 12 Kb)
Opening and welcome speech by Ray Daniells, as Chair of the Parish Council at the Re-dedication service of the 305th Bomb Group Memorial on 27th May 2017.
423rd Air Base Group Honour Guard (Image by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst)
Doug Ward's speech, with the USAF Chaplain, Capt Matt Henry, seated and Cllr Glenn Harwood MBE. (Image by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst)
Doug Ward and Cllr Ray Daniells unveiling the plaques (image by John Routledge)
Wreath bearers from the 305th Air Mobility Wing (Image by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst)
Alex McLean plays the "Last Post" and "Taps", beside Stephen Clements, the Raunds Royal British Legion Standard Bearer (Image by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst)
Doug Ward and the 305th Air Mobility Wing personnel (Image by John Routledge)
Cllr Liz Kelly and her newly formed Community Events Committee organised a 1940s themed afternoon and evening event at the nearby Star & Garter, with singers and musicians. Several people even managed to dress accordingly in 1940s attire!
Becky Herbert in costume (Image by John Routledge)
Cllr Liz Kelly (second from left) in costume (Image by John Routledge)