26 O.T.U. Wing Airfield Memorial

26 O.T.U. Wing Airfield Memorial Progress Diary

9th June 2021

With the many contrasting colours of the timber used in the fence construction it was decided that the boundary fence should be painted to provide a more uniformed look, black was decided as the best colour for a backdrop to the memorial and shingle. I was happy to donate the paint and was able to paint the fence yesterday the 8th June, also adding reflectors on the approach side to the Memorial.

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7th June 2021

Aerial views of the memorial taken by Richard Minney who purchased this flight kindly donated for our fundraiser by Kevin O'Neil (Letsflyright)

Took my flight today from the fundraising offer. Lovely weather for a few passes. Need to go through the other 85 photos, so will add more over the next few days.

Managed to zoom in on the memorial site, though took a bigger lens, so couldn't zoom in much due to the cockpit being snug and the canopy being in the way. The airfield shots are zoomed out more and only to get as much in as possible.
With thanks to Letsflyright for the flight and great evening.
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4th June 2021

With the memorial wall completed yesterday (3rd June) by our builder Simon Clarke, this morning a step further was taken in the now final stages of construction, when Alex and I were at the airfield at 8 a.m. to meet the delivery of the shingle for the memorial base. The base of the boundary fence was completed, membrane installed and the base finished with the levelling of the shingle over the memorial site!

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16th May 2021

26 O.T.U. Wing Airfield Memorial (Progress update 16th May 2021)

With our proposed memorial dedication date of 31st May 2021 fast approaching, a meeting was held by the Aircrew Remembrance Society Organisers, Alex King, David King and Nick Ellins, on Friday the 14th, when the feasibility of achieving this proposed date was disused. Recent circumstances including the late arrival of some ordered materials, other materials that have still not arrived to date, along with the recent spell of bad weather that has coincided with days available to carry out voluntary work, has meant that delayed stages that we had hoped to have been completed by now, have overrun into other week-ends that were allocated in our time scale to complete the two other final stages. We have therefore now decided to extend our deadline for the dedication, which will now take place on the 26th June 2021. (Attached are photos of the memorial location taken this morning that also show the resurfaced road section adjacent to the memorial location.)
Our original preferred dedication date that was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the first 26 O.T.U. unit losses, that occurred on the night of the first 1,000 bomber raid (30th/31st May 1942) Over this May bank holiday week-end we will still visit the memorial site to mark the 79th Anniversary of this event, in remembrance of the 15 aircrew lost when 4 of the units Wellington aircraft failed to return from this operation.
I am sure you all appreciate the Covid restrictions imposed on us at present, and after step 3 of the government road map that will be introduced tomorrow the 17th May, this still restricts us to only 30 people for an outside gathering, which is the criteria our memorial dedication currently has to follow. This has been a very difficult situation for us as the list of those donating and offering to contribute to the memorial dedication, by providing Vehicles and other related ways of enhancing the day’s proceedings, far outnumbers the current 30 allocation. We are working on ways to cover the dedication to be viewed by as many as possible on the day, live streaming, drone coverage and a second sitting of 30 to view on the day?
Updates regarding progress and attendance availability will be more frequent over the weeks leading up to the 26th, and of course there is the possibility that further people may be able to attend after the government announcement of Step 4 scheduled for the 21st June, but distancing caution and common sense will still prevail.
Statement from government website regarding Step 4.
Social contact
By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.
Business, activities and events
We hope to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
As we move through each of these phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’. Comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.
Best regards to all,
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6th May 2021

Wings Over Wing - Possible Limited Edition Reprint.

As a direct result of the increasing local interest created by the Wing airfield memorial, a number of people have advised they would like to get hold of a copy of the now out of print book ‘Wings Over Wing’ by Michael Warth. We know very few ever come up for sale.
Michael has contacted me to say that if there was enough interest, he would be willing to look at the possibility of getting a limited edition reprint of the original book. It would probably need to be a run of no less than 100 copies to be viable.
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8th May 2021

The second stage of the memorial construction began yesterday Friday 7th May, when the first courses of bricks were laid. The majority of materials for the build had arrived over a week ago minus the blue coping stones, and had been stored for safe keeping on Andrew Alexander’s farm, however on unpacking the pallets on site it was found that the blue stones for the three base courses was light by 60 bricks, fortunately we were able to source these from Bletchley, and Alex King who was on site with our builder Simon Clarke to supply and source water for the build, was able to collect the missing bricks to enable Simon to begin the memorial construction. Sourcing materials for the project has been difficult as the demand for building materials is very high at the moment, but the coping stones to complete the build have been promised for next week. This top course will be placed on top of a single course of historic bricks salvaged from the remains of former airfield constructions, sourced by Nick Ellins.
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2nd May 2021

RAF Wing Memorial - As the foundations have gone in this weekend and the memorial site is prepared, the three plaques to be fitted on to the memorial walls have just arrived.

Constructed from aircraft grade aluminium to keep with the history of the site, we enjoyed a great partnership with the Impressions engraving company, who have manufactured laser etched plaques for a number of Royal visits and important memorial sites.
Thank you to Jason Hardy and all of their factory and design team for their work to deliver exactly to plan, and to manage to embed the new full colour 26 OTU unit badge in to their manufacturing process.
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1st May 2021.

Wing Memorial corner. Then and Now. 27-11-43. 01-05-21 (6.45 a.m.) 01-05-21 (7.15 p.m.)
After many weeks of planning, fundraising, sourcing materials and equipment, the first major stages of the memorial construction took place yesterday 1st May 2021. In attendance for the construction were Alexander King, Dave Keen and David King. The work carried out included centralising memorial wall locating, creating template for memorial wall foundations, laser levelling for fence and foundation height, excavating site base to determine road edge for gravel boundary, precisely marking out, excavating and constructing memorial wall footings, erecting an eight post, post and rail fence boundary around the memorial and re-landscaping top soil removed from site corner in farmers adjacent field. A very productive thirteen and a half hour day of remembrance.

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17th April 2021 Wing Memorial update.

The first of materials required for the construction of the Wing 26 O.T.U. Memorial were collected and delivered to the site today by Alex and David King, in the form of ballast required for the construction of the memorials footings which will take place within the next two weeks.
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14th April 2021

RAF Wing Memorial - More Cublington Crier articles: Operation Exodus

Thanks to Gary Brazier at the Cublington Crier village magazine for publishing the latest in the series of articles about RAF Wing and the impending memorial.
This article is about the mass repatriation of nearly 33,000 allied ex prisoners of war from 21 nations on to the runways of Wing airfield in 1945. One of the plaques on the upcoming airfield memorial will formally commemorate the significant contribution made by No.26 Operational Training Unit to the lives of so many young men and their waiting families.
The men and women of RAF Wing were mentioned in the formal unit records for the compassion and caring approach they provided, as they operated 24/7 for weeks to give all those coming back a homecoming experience and safe passage on to hospital care or further military service.
You can find out more about the Crier magazine, and subscribe to it or advertise in it here https://www.cublington.com/sample-page/the-cublington-crier/

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6th April 2021

Leighton Buzzard Observer & RAF Wing - Our sincere thanks go to John Mason, reporter at the LBO, who has taken a great interest in the RAF Wing memorial, promoted the community fundraising effort and told the stories behind those who flew from there.
John has now moved in to a new role with his employers, and he kindly posted a few more articles before he moved on. One of these is attached. Thank you John, it is appreciated.

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31st March 2021

Further work behind the scenes in relation to the construction of the memorial, along with online Cenotaph. Correspondence with suppliers for material deals.

19th March 2021

A Badge of Honour - We have been trying to locate an original colour version of the No. 26 Operational Training Unit badge, for the group and community to have access to and use in their own commemorations.

To date, there has only been the black and white image reproduced in the Michael Warth book ‘Wings Over Wing’, and it was hard to make out the detailed image in the centre of the badge. We now know that the original artwork was sent to 26 OTU in 1944, and it believed this was scrapped after the unit was finally closed.

The College of Arms in the City of London kindly researched their archive and were able to tell me that the badge was officially granted to the unit in 1944, and the blazon (the description of the whole badge in heraldic language) is: “On a sun in splendour a hawk jessed rising from a gauntlet holding a hawk's hood.” In essence, the unit badge was of a hunting bird being trained to attack - which of course was the ultimate job of No.26 OTU.
David King of the Aircrew Remembrance Society resolved the original colours and pointed to common features across all the RAF badges.

Step up Nick Haine, amazingly talented graphics designer and artist from the Aitch Em design company in Buckingham. He agreed to rebuild it from scratch, and insisted on donating his efforts and the image as a contribution to the remembrance of the airfield and those who served there.
A combination of the help I received from Nick, plus our main aviation museums and institutions, design input from the Aircrew Remembrance Society and additional composition research and design by Aviation Research, means we now have a beautiful new badge.

I have attached the black and white version and the newly rebuilt version so you can see old and modern. The badge is available for free use in private research and where members of this group or the community wish to use it for family remembrance and any non commercial purposes. Anyone wishing to have a version suitable for printing (I.e. which does not have the small RAF Wing Memorial words included) can just contact me via Direct Message on Facebook and you are most welcome.

A great team effort, but the biggest thank you goes to Nick Haine for a generous and highly talented addition to the RAF Wing memorial effort.
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27th March 2021

Along with a number of articles that have been added to the memorial site by society members, a number of other interesting contacts have also been made and interesting photos have come to light.

These received kindly sent from Lee Waring with his original description -
(some of my mums photos from Wing RAF days of hers with her friends (she's back row, 2nd from right) and their RAF pals)
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12th March 2021

Team video call, planning towards memorial design and details discussed regarding additional parts of the memorial construction.

Material cost breakdown and research into other suppliers etc.

8th March 2021.

Attempts were made to source compatible imperial bricks so as to incorporate bricks from old demolished structures at the airfield, coping stones were a problem and these viewed at a reclaim yard were unsuitable. It has now been decide that new bricks will be the best way forward, although it is still hoped that a number could be used on the centre wall top course.

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5th March 2021

Further memorial plans discussed today via video link to further the memorial project.

Planning between builder and team with design.

26th February 2021

Further work behind the scenes continues with construction of the online cenotaph.
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24th February 2021

RAF Wing memorial- The tales from The Cublington Crier

With thanks to Gary Brazier and all at ‘The Cublington Crier’ newsletter, for their constant support and efforts to communicate the story of the memorial effort to all the villagers of Cublington, and for the £200 donation to the memorial fund.

A copy of the latest article from this months newsletter has been provided for this Facebook group and a series of features on the history of the airfield will now run right through the Spring.
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18th February 2021

RAF Wing memorial - Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham

Our local MP, Greg Smith, has given his perspective on the importance of the community work underway to finally commemorate those that served at No.26 Operational Training Unit and RAF Wing. He advises:

“My congratulations to all of those that are working together to create this special place of remembrance.

We must never forget the sacrifice that so many made to protect our freedom. We are forever in their debt and our thanks alone could never be enough. It is therefore uplifting to see this community collaboration take place to permanently commemorate the rich history of the former RAF Wing airfield in Buckinghamshire.

This airfield played an important part in the training of operational aircrew from the United Kingdom, and from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many other allied nations. The diverse and energetic young men and women that served here, and the many who made the ultimate sacrifice, have forever gained our respect and gratitude. We will remember them.”

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
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13th February 2021.

On Saturday Alex and I met with the land owner at Wing Airfield to confirm the Wing Memorial site location, here are a few shots of the site and a short video showing the area that has been kindly allocated for our use. You will see that on the corner of the field we have been allocated, that it is situated next to a perimeter track and that the concrete road is currently being reinstalled, which will provide a good clean access to the memorial when complete. A special thanks to land owner Andrew Alexander for the allocation of this section of his land for the memorial construction. Also for spending time with us on the day to discuss our plans and design which he kindly approved. Thanks also to Simon Clark the builder who will be involved in the construction of the memorial who was also kindly in attendance, on a very cold day indeed!
David King. Chairman, Aircrew Remembrance Society.
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5th February 2021

80th A.T.C. Anniversary: In Remembrance of A.T.C. boys who were tragically killed in Buckinghamshire during the Second World War.
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5th February 2021

RAF Wing Memorial Partner - Today is the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Air Training Corps, and on such a special day we are delighted to announce the new partnership between their Herts & Bucks Wing and our Wing airfield memorial project.

The young aviation enthusiasts will now be involved in learning about the roles and activities of the people who operated from the airfield, visiting the memorial and showing remembrance each year once the pandemic restrictions allow, actively researching the airfield’s history and finding out more about those who lost their lives. They will also work with the airfield memorial partner school, more on that shortly.
The partnership is led by their Wing Commander, who is based at RAF Halton and has given us tremendous support. This historic site just outside of Wendover is deeply connected with RAF Wing and was where so many of the injured Aircrew and ground personnel from Wing airfield were taken during the Second World War.
The father of the air cadets was Air Commodore J A Chamier, who served in the army, the Royal Flying Corps and the RAF in 1919 not long after it formed. With his love for aviation, he was determined to get British people aware of the RAF and its vital role in any future war. He wanted to establish an air cadet corps, encouraging young people to consider a career in aviation.
Demand for places was high and squadrons were set up in as many towns around the UK as possible. Local people ran them and each squadron aimed to prepare cadets for joining the RAF or the Fleet Air Arm.
During World War II, with many instructors being drafted into the RAF and squadron buildings being used by the military, cadets were sent to work on RAF stations. They carried messages, handled aircraft and moved equipment. They filled thousands of sandbags and loaded miles of belts of ammunition. A number, as young as 16 years of age, also lost their lives in service. David King from the Aircrew Remembrance Society will be producing a follow up piece shortly.
The government quickly realised the value of the cadet force and reorganised and renamed it, and on the 5th February 1941 the Air Training Corps was officially established with King George VI as the Air Commodore-in-Chief.
By the end of the war, almost 100,000 cadets had joined the RAF.
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1st February 2021

RAF Wing memorial - CONGRATULATIONS- we just reached our funding target

In a fantastic effort by all those in this group, and friends who have kept sharing the information with local communities and other Facebook groups, we reached our £1000 target earlier this morning.

We now go ahead with the plans to construct the Wing airfield memorial and buy the commemorative plaques. Everything will be done according to the COVID rules and to respect the safety of everyone during the pandemic situation.

The original target was set to pay solely for the main and side memorial plaques, with everything else needed either donated, located or managed as we progressed. We have had passionate feedback from those who have and still wish to donate, that with the target hit, we should keep going and use any additional sums raised from the clear community interest to invest in the quality of the memorial itself and and the site it sits on.

That is now what will happen, and we will be communicating any continued fundraising from now as additional investment in the RAF Wing memorial so that everything is clear and transparent.

Thank you everyone for your help and support. The Wing airfield memorial is on its way.
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30th January 2021

Donated flights put up for auction.

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27th January 2021

RAF Wing memorial - Two thirds there !

Thank you very much to Delia Gleave, local research and history specialist, for being the latest person to donate to the airfield memorial fund. It takes us to our next important milestone, with the fund now reaching 2/3rds of our final required total (£666 of £1000).

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26th January 2021

RAF Wing memorial - sincere thanks to memorial supporter
Richard Minney for creating and donating this wonderful picture to be auctioned for the fundraising effort. It is called ‘Waiting For The Last Crew To Return’.
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24th January 2021

The final design for The 26 O.T.U. Wing Airfield Memorial is still being worked on, a general concept plan is on the table but the fine detail is still to be confirmed. Over the last 50 years The Aircrew Remembrance Society has been involved in hundreds of crash site investigations and aircraft recoveries, including dozens of those relating to the Vickers Wellingtons. The society has much of this recovered material still in storage including numerous geodetic airframe components. Consideration is being given into someway of using some of this material, in particular spar sections to add a more poignant and historical element to the memorial construction. Before these can be considered and conformed, as will be seen in the examples shown, they will need to be sandblasted, if any of you out there has access this kind of facility and would like to help in any way, please get in touch.
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22nd January 2021

Memorial fund raiser update. Memorial fund now stands at £571.
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20th January 2021

RAF Wing Memorial - The Leighton Buzzard Observer has today reported on this groups work to build and unveil the memorial to RAF Wing, and included a link to the fast growing fund.
With our thanks to their reporter John Mason for his work, and to the LBO for the kind permission to reproduce their piece.
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11th January 2021

Sincere thanks to David Warren at Cottesloe Farm for providing the project with dozens of original bricks from the old buildings of RAF Wing to go into the non-load bearing part of the memorial.
It’s great to know the memorial will contain the original working history of the site and preserve it for the future. Just a few of the many bricks provided are shown in the picture, and these are now safely tucked away drying, ready for when construction starts.
They appropriately come from where so many of the personnel mixed together at what was called the Communal Site. This is where the old Gymnasium still stands today and once housed the Officers Mess, Airmen’s Dining Hall, Cinema and Theatre, Tailor, Barber and Shoemaker shop and various accompanying blast and bomb shelters.
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11th January 2021. Fund raiser update.

The fund to build the memorial reached close to 20% (£175)of its £1000 target in just 24hrs, so thank you to everyone who has contributed so far and has written with a commitment to do so soon.
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9th January 2021

26 O.T.U. Wing Airfield Memorial Fundraiser Established.

Today Alex king has set up a fund raiser in support of a memorial for all those who flew from R.A.F. Wing with No. 26 O.T.U. in particular those who were lost. The memorial will also focus on the airfields rich history and the remembrance of other related tragic incidents.

Donate Here
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27th December 2020

26 O.T.U. Wing Airfield Memorial Facebook Page

read-more copy
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12th December 2020

Following the construction of a Facebook History Group for Stewkley Wing & Cublington in support of our
ARMS memorial projects, a meeting was held between David King, Alexander King and Nick Atthegrange. During this meeting a project plan was put together. Further discussions on the History Group prior to our meeting resulted in the kind offer of two historical flights over a planned circuit of Wing Airfield, donated in support of the memorial fund by Kevin O'Neill. An example of the kind of route to be taken on these flights is the example shown flown by Kevin on a recent flight one the Aerodrome.
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26th November

Two flights donated by Kevin O’Neill. To be auctioned in aid of The Wing Airfield Memorial Fun.
Memorial Fund ...I’m a local flying school at Burcott and after reading the article by Alex king, I would be happy to donate Two short flights over Wing Airfield of 30 minutes each, of which 15 minutes in the air and 15 minutes briefings  , let me know very happy to help ... Kevin O’Neill
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7th November 2020

Stewkley Wing and Cublington History Group, Face Book Page set up by The Aircrew Remembrance Society. This along with a number of other local area related pages was to help raise awareness of the societies numerous on-going remembrance and memorial projects in Buckinghamshire.
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Plans to build a memorial at Wing have now been put in motion. The idea has been excepted by a current land owner and discussions are in hand for a suitable location and design.
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