Aviation Heritage Centre, East Kirkby,
Thursday 14th August 2003.
Dedication of saplings

Background, from the Order of Service used

Dedicated to all who served on
207 Squadron Royal Air Force
“Semper Paratus”
Provided by 207 Squadron RAF Association.
Tree from the crash site of 207 Sqn Lancaster ED412 EM-Q
Gifted from the people of Le Bouveret, Switzerland

Bomber Command
Dedicated to all who waited in vain
Provided by 207 Squadron RAF Association.
Tree from the crash site of 207 Sqn Lancaster ED412 EM-Q
Gifted from the people of Le Bouveret, Switzerland

Lancaster ED412 EM-Q

Lancaster ED412 EM-Q of No. 207 Squadron of 5 Group Royal Air Force, piloted by Flying Officer Horace Badge, was one of nine Lancasters from 207 Sqn among the 295 aircraft of Bomber Command on their way to attack targets in Turin, Italy on the night of 12th/13th July 1943. The intended route took them to a turning point at Lake Annecy before crossing the formidable obstacle of the Alps. In foul weather conditions some aircraft either strayed into Swiss air space or mistook Lake Geneva for the Lake Annecy turning point.

Swiss anti-aircraft batteries opened warning fire and one aircraft was seen to trail smoke, making for the eastern end of Lake Geneva. It seemed to be seeking a way out when it crashed 850 metres up the Le Grammont mountain which towers above the lakeside village of Le Bouveret, across the Lake from Montreux. The aircraft exploded, setting off an avalanche of boulders down the mountain and causing damage in the village. A rescue attempt led by M Rene Curdy was in vain, for the crew of seven were all killed: they lie across the Lake in St Martin’s Church Cemetery, Vevey, alongside other Allied casualties from both World Wars.

One of EM-Q’s four engines came to rest against a tree on the mountain. It is from that lime tree that two saplings gifted by the people of Le Bouveret (and nurtured by Jim Wright, son of Sgt Arthur Wright, EM-Q’s Air Bomber) are being dedicated today – a link probably unique among aviation memorials in the UK.

Lakeside memorial

In July 1993 the dedication took place of a memorial to the crew of EM-Q, erected at the lakeside by the Commune of Le Bouveret and the Swiss Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association. It is surmounted by a brass model of a Lancaster which points to the spot on Le Grammont where the aircraft crashed. The beautifully constructed and immaculately maintained memorial is a popular spot with local families. It is visited by thousands of tourists each year, no doubt intrigued by the Union Jack kept flying nearby.

Today’s dedications we hope will serve to remind future generations of the sacrifices made for our present freedom. No. 207 Squadron Royal Air Force suffered 981 deaths; 954 during WWII, the majority at RAF Spilsby not far from here; 19 between the Wars and 8 since 1945. Another 5 were casualties on 207’s WWI precursor, No. 7 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service. Of all the aircrew on the Squadron until 1984, 51% were killed on operations, 9% were killed during training, 12% became POWs, 1% evaded capture, 3% were injured and taken off operations. Only 24% completed their tour safely.

RAF Bomber Command suffered 55,425 aircrew and 570 groundcrew deaths during WWII. Many with no known grave are commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede. One of the dedications today is to all those past and present who waited in vain for a loved one to return from duty in Bomber Command.

Our thanks to Mr Harold & Mr Fred Panton of the Aviation Heritage Centre and to Sqn Ldr Alan Dolding RAF, OC 207(R) Squadron, RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

1300 hrs: Dedication alongside the Lancaster
1310 hrs: Salute by Tucano aircraft of No. 207 (Reserve) Squadron RAF Linton-on-Ouse (weather conditions permitting)
Group photos followed by picnic lunch together.

Dedication of the Saplings

At 1300hrs precisely, the Company having assembled by the Lancaster, Frank Haslam jr, Newsletter Editor & Membership Secretary of 207 Squadron RAF Association will introduce; Sqn Ldr RAF (Retd), Revd Harry Orchard, who served alongside No. 207 Squadron at RAF Langar and RAF Spilsby; Barry Moores of the Fenland Branch of the Bomber Command Association and Jim Wright, representing the Badge crew families and the people of Le Bouveret.

L-R: Rev Harry Orchard (standing), Barry Moores, Frank Haslam, Jim Wright
source Raymond Glynne-Owen

Revd Orchard

We have come together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to dedicate these saplings as living memorials.

One is for all the men and women of No. 207 Squadron Royal Air Force, many of whom served at RAF Spilsby not far from this airfield, some of whom are present today.

One is for the solace of the thousands past and present who waited in vain for a loved one to return from duty on Bomber Command.

Let us remember God's presence with us now as we quietly bring to mind all who served in RAF Bomber Command and their families; in particular those of No. 207 Squadron;
and of No. 44 Squadron, which shared RAF Spilsby with 207 Squadron for a year
and of Nos. 57 and 630 Squadrons which operated here at East Kirkby;
and of No. 433 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force, in particular Pilot Officer Christopher Panton, in whose memory his brothers established this Centre;
and of all those who war and time have taken from our sight; or, who though still with us, bear the scars of their service in mind or body.

There will then be a short silence for private prayer and reflection

Barry Moores

on behalf of the Bomber Command Association: We remember the sacrifice of all who did not return from duty on Bomber Command - and the families, friends and loved ones who waited in vain for them.

Frank Haslam jr

on behalf of 207 Squadron RAF Association: We give thanks for the sacrifices made, and the support and friendship given by the communities near the airfields of Bomber Command, to the young men and women of many nations who by day and night waged war for our peace.

We remember the thousands of families in Occupied Europe who aided our airmen, often at enormous cost, and we give thanks for the bonds of friendship made then that continue down the generations.

Jim Wright

on behalf of the people of Le Bouveret and the families of the Badge crew: We give thanks for the work of all who bring together those who have lost loved ones; and those who create and maintain the memorials that give such solace and pride, not forgetting the pain and suffering of those who died.

We especially thank Pascal Blanchard and the people of Le Bouveret, and Bryan Pattison and the members of the Swiss Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.

Revd Orchard: Let us join together in the Lord's Prayer :

All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.


Prayer of Personal Re-dedication: Revd Orchard

Teach us Good Lord to serve you as you deserve. To give - and not to count the cost. To fight - and not to heed the wounds. To toil - and not to seek for rest. To labour - and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do thy will.

All: Amen

Jim Wright, to Revd Orchard

Sir, on behalf of No. 207 Squadron RAF Association, the people of Le Bouveret and the families of the crew of Lancaster ED412 EM-Q, I present these saplings for dedication.

Revd Orchard

To the Glory of God and in the faith of Jesus Christ, I dedicate this sapling to all who served on No.207 Squadron Royal Air Force; in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.
To the Glory of God and in the faith of Jesus Christ, I dedicate this sapling to all who waited in vain for a loved one serving in RAF Bomber Command; in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen

Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good; render to no man evil for evil; strengthen the faint hearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour all men; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. And the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you now and forever.

All: Amen

The dedication is concluded.


Aircraft of No. 207(R) Squadron Royal Air Force will, subject to weather conditions, perform a salute at 1310hrs. Please form a group in front of the hangar so that the pilots can see us and the Lancaster. Feel free to wave like mad and take photos.

Tucanos from 207(R) Squadron in a finger four/missing man flypast

From the Squadron
: The line of the main East Kirkby runway can be seen at the bottom of this shot: also visible are the extended hangar, control tower and below the tail of the lead aircraft, 'Silksheen' windmill, Silksheen was EK's wartime call sign

At the conclusion of the flying there will be group photographs after which you are free to enjoy a picnic together and to visit the rest of the Museum.

Taking group photos (1): L-R: at back, standing: Rev Harry Orchard, Mr Harold Panton, Mr Fred Panton, Jim Wright, Mr Barry Moores, Frank Haslam, Jess Emeny: source Raymond Glynne-Owen

Taking group photos (2): L-R: Frank Haslam, Ron Brown, Peter Valleley, Peter Coady, Derek Wilford, Mrs Smith, (George Blakeman), Ken Smith, Sheilagh Wilford,(Janet Pitt, David Pitt), Michael Westmoreland, (Jane Bealby), Ivor Oddie, (Robert Proctor), Jo Oddie .. : source Raymond Glynne-Owen


Wing Commander George Blakeman OBE RAF(Retd)

George was traced just a few days before attending this event at East Kirkby which took place 60 years and a day since F/O Blakeman took off as Navigator in the Pearcey crew in Lancaster EM-D ED498 from RAF Langar to attack Milan on 15th August 1943. On their way they passed directly over Cabourg on the Normandy coast north of Caen. After 15 minutes on track for their next turning point - the southern tip of Lac Annecy - they were hit by a nightfighter which inexplicably did not continue its attack. Nevertheless the port inner engine overheated and had to be shut down.

They decided it would be safer to continue to Milan than to return on their own to Langar. On their homeward journey, over Cabourg again and almost over the Channel, George saw a bright flash down in the bay. The next he knew the aircraft was on fire and in a vertical dive. With just one buckle of his parachute connected, like the rest of the crew he was pinned by gravity, unable to move. Through a window he watched as the rivets in the wing root changed colour as they melted ....

He regained consciousness two days later, tended in a French farmhouse, guarded by German soldiers. The other six members of his crew lie together in a cemetery in Houlgate (Beuzeval) Communal Cemetery, Calvados, France.

The late Rev Harry Orchard with some of the families of the crew of his great friend at Spilsby, John Taylor, lost on Berlin on 29th January 1944 in Lancaster EM-H LM366, from which there was only one survivor, the late Leo Croxton.

L-R: Jo Oddie, next to her husband Ivor Oddie, son of his namesake who was the Navigator; Harry Orchard; Michael Westmoreland, brother of Tom who was the Flight Engineer and Jane Bealby, niece of John Rothera, the Air Bomber. Two other families from this crew include members of the Association but were unable to attend.

We are very grateful to Sqn Ldr Alan Dolding, OC 207(R) Squadron for the flypast. The crews involved were:

No.1 a/c Flt Lt Lee Toomey (Deputy OC 207(R)Sqn), Flt Lt Alan Mawby (QFI/History Officer/Association Liaison Officer)
No.2 a/c Flt Lt Sajjad Noori (Pakistan Air Force)(QFI), Lt Mark Wielopolski RN (201 Course)
No.3 a/c Flt Lt Mark Nash (QFI), Plt Off Rory Denman (201 Course)

If you have not already done so, please visit the RAF Spilsby Airfield Memorial, erected by 207 Squadron RAF Association. Consult your maps for Great Steeping. In Great Steeping turn off at School Lane between the Church of All Saints and the School. Follow School Lane to the 'T' junction overlooking the former airfield. Turn right and the Memorial site is 75 yards on your left – take care parking and watch out for traffic.

The Badge crew and the memorial at Le Bouveret
Loss of Lancaster LM366 EM-H, the Taylor crew

unless otherwise stated all images: Frank Haslam
page last updated 17 July 07: 31 Dec 13

207 Squadron RAF History