207 SQUADRON ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORY
RAF SPILSBY OLD MEMORIAL
AND MONKSTHORPE BAPTIST CHURCH
from the Summer 2013 207 Squadron Association Newsletter
Kevin Mapley writes
On the days preceding its dedication at Monksthorpe chapel on 20th April the old Spilsby airfield memorial obelisk was moved to a new site at the entrance to Monksthorpe chapel. I would like to thank Friend Members Roger Aston, Mark Nicholson, Bob Owen and Tony Pitt who joined me in this task. The exercise was completed with help of heavy lifting plant loaned by local farmer Peter Bark. Our Association funded this project which included a new granite squadron badge for the obelisk.
two days to go
Rev Brian Keyworth, Friend Member
In mid April 2013, a small group of dedicated Members and Friends of the Association, together with a local farmer (Peter) and his tractors, met at Monksthorpe and transferred the old Airfield Memorial obelisk from its temporary resting place at Meadowlands Caravan Park to its new home just inside the entrance gateway to Monksthorpe Chapel (which is now owned by the National Trust). For details of the chapel see www.monksthorpe.com
On 20th April 2013 we held the first service at the Chapel. The normal congregation gathered in this remote chapel which is situated on the boundary of the RAF Spilsby Airfield. Gathered with us were several Members and Friends of the Association. The service was centred around the theme of remembering and during the service the old memorial was dedicated in its new home!
The following is part of the words used at the service.
Everything that is deemed to be worthwhile and right is costly to achieve. That is very clear in what we are remembering today. And we remember it here in this peaceful place that stands beside what was a wartime aerodrome.
Everything that is good and honourable and worthwhile, however costly has to have the Magnus Magnusson motto Ive started so Ill finish.
That happened next door as the Squadrons, aircrew and ground crew and the rest of the personnel who worked there took to heart the belief that what they were called to do was important and would bring about peace and freedom.
They did their part and have left it to us to do our part to make sure that theirs was not wasted! We Christians of today are called to do our part in continuing the work and lifestyle that began with Jesus and the early Christian followers of Him.
Before we dedicate the memorial, let us sing a hymn (When this land knew). I have chosen it because I find the words meaningful, a précis of Psalm 85, but the tune which I am sure you will find easy to pick up, is called Biggin Hill, where much fighter cover came from to support the Lancasters.
Dedication of the Memorial
The old memorial stood proudly on the other side of the airfield and lately the brickwork that made the surrounding wings with plaques on, badly deteriorated and 207 Squadron (RAF) Association decided to change it all and that was installed and dedicated last June.
The old memorial obelisk, still in good order, has been placed near the entrance to our drive. Just across the farm road was the site of the airfield bomb storage area or bomb dump. On 10th April 1944 at 8pm there was a mighty explosion in the fusing shed as a bomb was being armed. Ten airmen died and no remains were found of three of them. That tragic accident is recorded on the monument which now stands close to where it happened.
So we are reminded that danger faced the ground crews as well as aircrews. All personnel in the Air Force were called to have courage and do their duty under difficult circumstances from time to time that included all the young ladies who were in the Womens Auxiliary Air Force here.
It was a WAAF Driver who was driving round the airfield when the explosion happened. She put her foot down and was first on the scene of carnage and she gave her assistance. That took courage and a determination to her duty and to help where she could!
The airmen we commemorate lost their lives while performing the task that was theirs as part of the total effort of the squadrons and we remember too, the support teams that made up this RAF Station. So it is right that we also remember the 510 airmen of 207 Squadron and 89 airmen of 44 Squadron who died whilst serving at RAF Spilsby.
We dedicate the memorial to the ten armourer ground crew who died, for the many aircrew who died, for all who survived, the station support staff, all the trades and skills needed to run an airfield, to the brave and noble ladies, the WAAF who were also here, we remember them with love and gratitude. As a token of that remembrance and gratitude we are pleased to re-dedicate this memorial that has been moved to a place close to the bomb dump.
We dedicate it in their memory and to the glory of God. Amen
And we pray that as they see it many people will have emotions stirred and give their own thanks in their turn.
Hymn God is our strength and refuge to the tune The Dambusters
The peace of God be with you all Amen
At the monument the wreaths are laid.
(those are shadows of branches on the obelisk)
Before our time of silence lets listen to the names of those who were killed in the bomb dump accident:
AC1 John Richard Archer
LAC Alfred Gallagher Barrett
AC1 Walter Clews
LAC Trevor Ewart Davidson
AC1 Thomas Fleming
AC1 Frank Haworth
AC1 Idris Eufryl Jones
LAC Edward Thomas Rouillier
AC2 Edward Rourke
AC1 Thomas Wright
Wreaths were laid and tributes paid with a time of silence.
Thank you Lord for those who served this Nation, seeking to promote peace and freedom for all. Thank you for their service, thank you for those who made the supreme sacrifice, thank you for those who in the face of great difficulties and hardships pressed on towards victory.
We pray for all left behind with their memories and grief. We pray that the peace they won may be extended into todays world.
We thank you that we are privileged to be able to remember and offer our thanks. May we never forget what they did for us and may we who live today be worthy of their service and sacrifice.
In Jesus name. Amen
The peace and blessings of God the Father Son and Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen
back to main Spilsby Bomb Dump Explosion page
images: via Rev Brian Keyworth
page created 19 Aug 13