Blogs

September 2021 Blogs

40 – Melton Officer Dies in a Nazi Camp – My latest blog looks at the story of a RAF Pilot from Thorpe Arnold, Melton Mowbray who was serving with Bomber Command No 83 Sqn when his Manchester bomber was shot down over Germany. He was the only survivor from his crew and became a PoW but tragically died in a freak accident.

39 – Captain Stanley Keith Muir MC This blog looks at the story of one of the greatest Australian fighter pilots to serve in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, how he became decorated with the Military Cross and the tragedy at Harlaxton near Grantham in which he lost his life.

38 – Melton Mowbray & District Spitfire Mk IIb P8522 In my previous blog I looked at how the people of Melton Mowbray and surrounding villages came together in a fundraising effort in late 1940 and formed the Melton & District Spitfire Fund to buy a Spitfire fighter plane. This blog continues with the story of the Melton Mowbray & District Spitfire P8522 and looks at its history from being built in 1941 right through to when it was retired from RAF service in 1945.

August 2021 Blogs

37 – Melton & District Spitfire Fund – In this blog I take a look at how people, both young and old including both individuals and organisations from the town of Melton Mowbray and surrounding villages pulled together in a fantastic community fundraising effort during the latter part of 1940 to raise £5,000 to by a Spitfire fighter plane.

36 – “The balloon’s going up!” In this blog I look at the story of a Royal Flying Corps ‘Balloonatic’, a young Canadian who was the Grandson of the late Reverend Joseph Twidale, the long standing rector of over 50 years at the Melton Mowbray Congregational Baptist Church.

35 – Meltons ‘Barnstormer’ and Pioneer Aviator. In the early 1900s, pre WW1, a young butchers lad from Melton showed an interest in aviation, building his own aircraft and putting on flying displays eventually becoming the chief instructor at Bournemouth Flying School training new pilots for the Royal Flying Corps.

April 2021 Blogs

34 – Burton Lazars Mid Air Collison on the 8th April 1943, 10 airmen from the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force were tragically killed in a mid air collision over Burton Lazars near Melton Mowbray.

March 2021 Blogs

33 – George Medal Award for Cottesmore Blazing Bomber Rescue During my RAF career, I had the pleasure of being posted to RAF Cottesmore twice, once in the 90’s on the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment, and 10 years later as part of the Joint Force Harrier.  On both occasions, I worked in offices adjoined to ‘C’ Hangar, and as usual with RAF folklore, I heard the story relating to the bravery of a former Station Commander on several occasions. In this blog I recall the story of how Group Captain Strang Graham was awarded the George Medal.

32 – The Death of a Royal Navy WW2 Chaplain In this blog I look at the story of a WW2 casualty who is buried in the cemetery of the Church why my parents were married and is commemorated on the church memorial along with my Uncle Frank.

31 – A Last Goodbye at Melton 25th May 1944 Sgt John Boyd a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner was part of a ‘REFOR’ reinforcement crew taking a Boston light bomber from RAF Melton Mowbray to the Mediterranean theatre when he said goodbye to his wife Catherine a WAAF Wireless Operator.

30 – Melton Airmen killed in Mediterranean bomber crash. 6th March 1944, a crew of 5 from RAF Melton Mowbray were tasked with delivering a Wellington bomber to an overseas unit when they experienced difficulties and crashed into the sea just two miles off Gibraltar.

February 2021 Blogs

29 – Coastal Command pilot from Barkby dies in tragic flying accident 28th February 1943, Barkby man Leonard Ashby Court was the Captain of a Coastal Command Wellington MkVIII aircraft that crashed in neutral Eire, tragically killing all the crew.

28 – First fatal accident involving a Saro Lerwick flying boat 20th February 1940 a decorated RAF pilot with links to Melton Mowbray who had been Mentioned in Dispatches was tragically killed when his SARO Lerwick flying boat crashed and capsized with the loss of all crew.

October 2020 Blogs

27 – Melton prepares ‘George’ for trip down under! Towards the end of 1944, RAF Melton Mowbray prepared and despatched a famous war veteran, Lancaster G for George to Australia to become a war memorial to all Australians who flew with Bomber Command, and to the 1,018 dead of 460 Squadron.

26 – The Death of a Melton WW1 ‘Ally Sloper’ One of Meltons’ war casualties was what was known as an ‘Ally Sloper’, but how come he has a ‘War Grave’ with a CWGC headstone but he doesn’t appear on any of the towns war memorials?

September 2020 Blogs

25 – Tragic Accident or A Case of Mistaken Identity? Following a chance discovery of an inscription on a gravestone at Leicester Gilroes Cemetery, the trail leads to a mystery in Malta, but was it a tragic accident or a case of mistaken identity?

August 2020 Blogs

24 – Just Another Trip! On the 13th August 1944 a Wellington bomber from No 14 OTU took off from RAF Market Harborough on what was thought to be Just Another Trip! Sadly, it didn’t turn out that way with the aircraft crashing in Melton Mowbray and killing seven out of the eight crewman onboard with the eighth severely injured.

23 – Leicester’s Own Bomber Squadron In this latest blog, I take a look at a typical night on the 5th/6th August 1942 for Leicester’s Own bomber squadron, based at RAF Bottesford when they were involved in bombing ops over Nazi Germany, Gardening Ops (laying sea mines) off the coast of France and local training flights.

July 2020 Blogs

22 – Never In The Field of Human Conflict Was So Much Owed By So Many To So Few Eighty years ago in the Summer of 1940 the fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force were in almost daily combat with the German Luftwaffe in the skies over our country and surrounding waters. In this bog, I look at two very different war memorials that can be found in All Saints Church at Hoby near Melton Mowbray. Both memorials commemorate members of the Beresford family, one of which commemorates “One of the Few”.

June 2020 Blogs

21 – Victoria Cross Heroes Commemorated in Melton Mowbray The Victoria Cross (VC) is one of the highest awards a British soldier can receive. It requires an act of extreme bravery in the presence of the enemy and in this blog I look at how the market town of Melton Mowbray honours VC Heroes.

20 – RAF Melton Mowbray Nuclear Missile Base In this blog, I continue the story of the former RAF station and skip ahead about 13 years after the end of World War 2 to the late 1950s when the country and the RAF was at the forefront of another global war – The Cold War and RAF Melton Mowbray became part of the countries vital nuclear defence network protecting our country.

May 2020 Blogs

19 – Protecting our War Memorials In this blog, I talk about my interest in war memorials and how I got involved volunteering for the War Memorials Trust.

18 – ANZAC Gt Uncle George – Defending the Suez In this blog, I continue the story of my Gt Uncle Georges’ journey serving with the Australian Imperial Force during World War One and focus on his time in Egypt during 1916.

17 – Decorated RAF Airmen killed in crash near Great Dalby On the 13th May 1944, another fatal crash occurred near Melton this time involving an Airspeed Oxford Mk.I DF517 from No. 1655 Mosquito Training Unit (MTU), killing all four crew members, of which two had been decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross. 

16 – Tragedy after Victory – Melton Singer Killed As the Country and the rest of Europe were rejoicing in the end of fighting in Europe and their countries being liberated from Nazi Germany, tragedy struck a Melton family as they received news that their son had been killed in Holland, two days after VE Day.

15 – RAF Melton Mowbray As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of WW2 ending in 1945 and the celebrations begin with #VEDay75, the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (more commonly known as VE Day) on the 8th May, I take a look at the story of RAF Melton Mowbray and its role during WW2.

14 – RAF Beaufighter crash at Kirby Bellars 76 years ago, on 1st May 1944, an RAF Beaufighter fell out of the sky after taking off from RAF Melton Mowbray and crashed near to the village of Kirby Bellars, killing both crew.

April 2020 Blogs

13 – Going Doolally In todays current climate when people are struggling with mental health issues due to the lockdown initiated as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, I take a look at the slang phrase “Going Doolally” and its origins.

12 – Hotel Cecil – the birthplace of the Royal Air Force April is the month when the Royal Air Force celebrates it formation back on 1st April 1918 when the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service merged. The first HQ of the worlds first independent Air Force were located at Hotel Cecil on the Strand, London.

11 – ANZAC Gt Uncle George – A Lancashire ‘Digger’ As part of the ANZAC commemorations, I take a look at my Great Uncle George who left Lancashire in 1912 for Australia and joined the Australian Imperial Force as a ‘Digger’ serving with the ANZACs at Gallipoli.

10 – Colonel Charles Wyndham Colonel Charles Wyndham, a war hero from the Peninsula Wars and Battle of Waterloo was a notable figure in the mid 1800’s in Melton Mowbray on the fox hunting scene and bought Hill House renaming it Wyndham Lodge.

09 – Captain Horatio Ross In this blog we take a look at Captain Horatio Ross, a former Captain in the 14th Light Dragoons and godson of the Vice admiral Lord Horatio Nelson after who he was named. Owner of the Thistle hunting lodge on High Street, Melton Mowbray and winner of the first ever steeplechase recorded by John Ferneley.

08 – Seaman Gunner George Edward Flint The story of a Melton sailor who was involved in the German surrender at Samoa, defence of the Suez Canal and died after contracting tuberculosis following catching a severe chill whilst in the water rescuing soldiers trying to land on the Gallipoli beaches whilst under shellfire form the Turks.

07 – Flt Lt Richard William Wicks – Tragedy at Saxelbye Originally from Brighton, Richard Wicks joined the Royal Navy in 1921 as a rating telegraphist at the age of 15. He was commissioned in 1926 and later becoming a pilot in 1931 and transferring to the RAF in 1934.

06 – Major Ronald Anthony Markham Major Ronald Anthony Markham, one of Meltons best known soldiers who served with the Coldstream Guards. He was killed in France shortly after the outbreak of WW1 and his body was one of the few repatriated back to the UK for burial.

05 – Flt Lt Richard Arthur Branson The story of a Leeds lad who joined the RAF and survived being shot down by Luftwaffe Ace Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg of The Red Hearts 7./JG 26 only to lose his life in a Beaufighter crash taking off from RAF Melton Mowbray.

04 – A Mech 3 William Ernest Plumb Left Melton Mowbray at the age of 16 and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and later the Royal Air Force and died of bronchial pneumonia whilst serving with 207 Sqn as part the Army of Occupation in Germany in 1919.

03 – 2nd Lt George Howard Boorne A Canadian who joined the 2nd Canadian Division Signals Coy in 1915 and subsequently transferred tot eh Royal Flying Corps. He died in Wicklow Lodge Auxiliary Hospital as a result of his injuries received when his RE8 biplane crashed near Melton Mowbray.

02 – The Hanbury Brothers The story of two brothers, Reggie and Theo Hanbury of Melton Mowbray who both lost their lives whilst serving in the RAF during World War 2.

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