Reunion 2017 - 5th, 6th and 7th May

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The reunion, in this our centenary year, took place over the weekend 5th, 6th and 7th of May. We are indebted to the Station Commander for welcoming us back to RAF Waddington once again and putting many station facilities at our disposal. Unfortunately the ongoing problems with the Officers’ Mess kitchen still haven’t been resolved and the annual dinner had to take place in the Sergeants’ Mess. That said, the Sergeants’ Mess made us very welcome and the dinner was a great success. Special thanks goes to Amee Stewart who, once again, managed arrangements superbly and supervised proceedings on the night.

The opening event on Friday 5
th May was a Meet and Greet evening in the Officers’ Mess bar, attended by 59 members and their guests. The barrel of beer, set up in a corner of the bar, was sampled repeatedly, despite the contents escaping critical acclaim from CAMRA cognoscenti. Nonetheless, it was a very convivial evening, allowing members and guests to renew acquaintances and reminisce in a relaxed and informal setting.

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Saturday’s programme started with a group photograph in front of RAF Waddington’s Station Headquarters. A dramatic new sculpture now adorns the gardens fronting the headquarters building, featuring two famous station aircraft, a Lancaster and a Vulcan. The sculpture pays fitting tribute to the station’s long and proud history as a bomber base. Simon Revell kindly took time out from his weekend to escort us onto the station and take a series of excellent photographs of the group.

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Following the group photograph, the assembled members re-boarded their buses to be taken to Mill Lodge, on Canwick Hill, for lunch. Joining us for lunch were members of the late Pat Dorehill’s family, who had travelled up to Lincoln to revisit their old haunts. The Mill Lodge restaurant is conveniently placed for the next event, which was a visit to the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) on Canwick Hill. Here the party was split into smaller groups for guided tours of the facility. There has been good progress at the IBCC since our previous visit. The Chadwick Centre is nearing completion and the car park awaits finishing touches, such as plants and lights. The windows in the café and roof terrace are in place and driveway is edged with kerbstones and drains. Of interest to many members will be the Losses Database, which underpins the Walls of Names surrounding the central spire. The database is now live, after four years of painstaking research and data entry. It contains almost three million pieces of information and is available, free of charge, on the new IBCC website. The search facility is currently limited to name only but the developers are working hard to include other search fields in the future.

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The kitchens of the Officers’ Mess are still unserviceable and cannot be used, so the annual dinner was held in the dining room of the Sergeants’ Mess. We extend our warm congratulations to all kitchen and serving staff, who worked tirelessly to provide us with a most enjoyable dinner. Among the guests, we welcomed the son and grandson of Wg Cdr J D Nettleton VC. They kindly brought with them John Nettleton’s Victoria Cross, giving us all the opportunity to scrutinize this the most famous of medals. As the evening drew to a close, members and guests were invited to help themselves to a special edition of the Association Newsletter, which had been produced to celebrate our centenary.

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Centenary Newsletter Cover

Members who were unable to attend the reunion may, if they wish, order a copy of this special edition from the Secretary (£5 per copy, including UK postage).

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On Sunday 7th May, a service of remembrance was held in the Memorial Garden at RAF Waddington. The Reverend Ian Partridge officiated and accompanying music was provided by the RAF Waddington Station Band, under the direction of David Jackson. The proceeds of the retiring collection were donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund. The concluding event was lunch at the Pyewipe Inn, on the banks of the oldest manmade waterway in Britain, the Roman-built Fossdyke Navigation.

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