Cadets parade with Aircrew veterans
during Aircrew Association Memorial dedication service
On Sunday 20 th June the Air Cadet Band from 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron joined members of The Aircrew Association at the National Memorial Arboretum for the service of Dedication of the Aircrew Association Memorial.
The Air Cadet Band led the parade of Aircrew Association Standards, veterans and cadet standards from 36 (Hetton-le-Hole), 121 (Nuneaton), 198 (Hinckley), 1338 (Seaham) and 2028 (Southam) Squadrons as they marched through the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum to the site of the new Aircrew Association Memorial.
The open air dedication service, conducted by the Aircrew Associations Chaplain Reverend Bill Pegg, with music provided by the 121 Squadron band, began with an opening address by the President of the Aircrew Association, Air Marshal Peter Walker, who welcomed members from the association's word wide branches.
Reverend Pegg thanked the cadets for supporting the Aircrew Association and expressed the importance of maintaining the strong links that exist between the assembled generations both former Aircrew and the next generation of young men and women to wear the RAF blue uniform.
Following the blessing of the Memorial Stone the Chairman of the Aircrew Association, Air Commodore Des Richard, handed over responsibility the future upkeep of the memorial to the Chairman of the Aircrew Association Archive Trust, Air Commodore Jack Broughton.
Much to the delight of both veterans and cadets, a Spitfire from the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight marked the end of the service with a spectacular fly-past .
Following the service the cadets had the opportunity to meet some of the Aircrew veterans. Cadets Michael Hadley and Sgt Chris Lovell met up with Bluey Mottershead DFC, a veteran of Bomber Command's 158 Squadron, who described some of his missions over Germany and France during Word War 2. You can hear some of Bluey Mottershead's wartime stories for yourself online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9V0Od1wiFE
The cadets also visited the stunning memorial walls that contain the names of over 16,000 Service men and women killed on duty or by terrorist action since the end of the Second World War. Some of the Nuneaton based cadets made a point of finding the names of local Nuneaton & Bedworth heroes, Fusilier Louis Carter and Sergeant Simon Valentine, which have recently been engraved onto the walls.
Cdt Cpl Grant Robey said, “It's difficult to comprehend the number of names on the walls, you stand there and start reading and they just seem to go on forever but I think the most poignant thing I noticed was the large expanse of empty wall which stands ready for even more names to be added”.
Flt Lt Ian Crewe Officer Commanding 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron said, “It was an absolute pleasure and an honour to be able to support the Aircrew Association today and I was delighted with the way the band played the Hymns. They don't normally play that type of music, they're more accustomed to playing marches and leading parades. They've worked extremely hard over the last few weeks to prepare for this event and they did a really excellent job and they should be justly proud of themselves.”