July 2007 Newsletter (PDF) available
After recent discussions with members of ME846 family including Paul
Stevenson, Jane Knox and Marjan Kiepura we decided to create a
Newsletter to bring everyone up to date.
Our ultimate goals remain the same, both locating Captain Davis and
understanding the fate of Lancaster ME846 and ensuring that the
memories of the crew and those that helped them remain alive.
Before moving on it is our sad duty to advise that Alfons “Fons”
Vermiedt has sadly passed away after a long illness. As you will be
aware Alfons initially found Peter Knox after he bailed out of ME846
and our thoughts go out to his family.
|His son Frankie writes – that
his memorial card translates “that
he wants to live with the birds and that we need to remember him as he
was in his normal way of living. Only to remember the good moments and
the happy times we spend together”.
Earlier in the year a gouache painting of the ME846 (see above) was
commissioned from aviation artist Timothy O’Brien GAvA. This replicated
the 1661 HCU crew training picture (the crew standing in front of a
Short Stirling at RAF Winthorpe), but depicted the crew in front of
Lancaster III ME846 ‘PG-C’.
||Sixty five prints were produced from this
painting to commemorate the
65th Anniversary of the aircraft being lost over northern Belgium /
southern Netherlands. The painting has featured extensively in the
aviation press around the world.
One of the prints has been framed and takes pride of place in the
revised ME846 Display that was unveiled at Newark Air Museum on 21st
Update from Europe
As you may well be aware in October 2008 the Royal Netherlands Air
Force Recovery Team formally agreed to take on board the search for
ME846 in southern Netherlands.
This search is still ongoing and has included use of the National Photo
Reconnaissance Archive to try and help pinpoint the crash site. The
most recent update from Aircraft Salvage Officer, Paul Petersen
(pictured below in the centre), advised the following: “This
is to inform you that I am still working on your request. Sorry to tell
you that at this moment there is no new information that will lead me
to a possible crash site. Unfortunately there is less help from the
Postel monastery archives, but I will visit them.”
To supplement this search we are currently considering the submission
of appeal letters to the local newspapers in southern Netherlands; to
enquire whether any local residents have memories relating to such a
crash in June 1944.
Newark Air Museum recently underwent VAQAS Assessment (Visitor
Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme). During one visit by a ‘mystery
visitor’ the following comment was made about the new ME846 display –
“Some good personal interest stories in some places, like the wartime
Lancaster crew story!”
Spurred on by the arrival of the new ME846 display the museum is
refurbishing the whole of Lancaster Corner display area in Hangar 1.
One new exhibit that recently arrived is an Upkeep Practice Mine
(Practice Dambusters Bouncing Bomb) as used by the 619 minus 2 Squadron
to breach the dams in the Ruhr Valley in May 1943.
|| Echoes From The Past
This is the evocative title of a new book by Reginald (Reg) Brookes
that has been published by the Lichfield Press.
Reg has been part of the ‘ME846 Family’ since the gathering in Belgium
in 2006 and he spent time with Peter Knox whilst both were evading
capture by the Germans in Belgium during the summer of 1944.
The book is a personal memoir of Reg’s training and service with 100
Squadron in the Second World War. The book details how he was shot down
in April 1944 and how he evaded capture thanks to the brave efforts of
the Belgian Resistance.
Copies are available via the Newark Air Museum Shop and it provides a
personal and engaging insight into the personal thoughts and feelings
of a wartime bomb aimer / navigator.
The possibility of a small gathering in Newark during summer 2010 has
been discussed, but a date and venue still has to be confirmed. One
possibility is to gather in Newark at around the time of the
Farnborough Airshow in late July, but more details will be advised when
they are confirmed.
|619 Squadron Association
Ties with the Association are being maintained and in the summer Paul
Stevenson and Howard Heeley (representing Jane Knox) attended the
William Farr Church of England School at Welton for the unveiling of a
new memorial window at the school reception.
|This featured the words of 619 Squadron
Association Secretary, Flt Lt John Whiteley DFC – “I brought
them all home”.
More recently Paul and Gill Stevenson attended the Dinner hosted by the
Association at the RAF Club in London. Many old friends were present
including Air Cdr Charles Clarke and Joe Dutton.
Sadly John Whiteley was unable to attend due to a slight deterioration
of his health. John has recently moved into sheltered accommodation in
Solihull, where he is now settling in with the other residents who are
also former service personnel. Howard Heeley visited John in early
October and he asked to be remembered to everyone in the ‘ME846 Family’.
Jane Knox-Kiepura – email@example.com
Paul Stevenson –
Howard Heeley – firstname.lastname@example.org
Edmund Phil - email@example.com
Compiled by H.F.Heeley Tel: 0115 9201536
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