10 - 12 may
This year’s reunion took place over the second weekend in May and was centred upon RAF Waddington. Once again we are indebted to the Station Commander, Gp Capt Tom Burke, for welcoming the Association so warmly and putting so many station facilities at our disposal. He even gave up a precious Saturday afternoon to join us in the Nettleton Room of the Operations block to deliver a most interesting brief on the station’s present-day role.
The reunion got underway with a Meet and Greet in the bar of the Officers’ Mess on the Friday evening. A welcome innovation this year was the provision of light snacks during the evening. The evening was its usual convivial self, attended by 38 members who clearly enjoyed each other’s company and the familiar surroundings of what used to be the Vulcan’s Forge.
On Saturday 11th May members assembled in the Officers’ Mess car park to be taken by bus onto the station. On reaching our destination, Operations HQ, we witnessed a flypast by a Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, before entering the building. In the Nettleton Room the Station Commander delivered his brief on the role of his station, after which the Association conducted its General Meeting. After the General Meeting we returned to the buses to be ferried across the airfield to where the famous Black Buck Vulcan XM607 is parked. Many years exposed to the elements have led, inevitably, to deterioration but it was good to see that under the present leadership at Waddington efforts have been made to preserve the aircraft’s exterior. XM607 provided a fitting backdrop for a group photograph. The afternoon’s programme finished with a visit to the RAF Waddington Heritage Centre, a fascinating collection of exhibits covering most of the station’s remarkable history. The day was rounded off by the Annual Dinner, held in the Officers’ Mess.
Sunday dawned bright and clear and a Service of Remembrance was conducted at Dunholme Lodge Farm, led by Reverend Adam Watson. This was Adam’s first appearance before the Association and we are very grateful to him for conducting such an appropriate and moving service in the familiar surroundings of Dunholme Lodge. Once again, we are indebted to the Wykes family for welcoming us so warmly at their farm, providing not only the marquee for the congregation as usual but they went yet another mile this time by providing tea and coffee after the service. The concluding lunch was provided by the Carpenters Arms at Fiskerton, preceded by a spirited display - er sorry, a series of flypasts - by the BBMF’s Dakota. The arrival at the village pub of so many men all wearing the same tie gave Fiskerton residents a heads-up that something special is about to happen and they seem to really appreciate their annual free ‘air display’ on the second Sunday of May.
Photographs of the 2019 reunion can be found through the button links below:
8 - 10 may
Further details will appear on the page linked to the button below as soon as arrangements can be confirmed and, as in previous years, timings and a transport schedule will be included in the Secretary’s welcome packs.
The committee met recently to plan next year’s reunion. Please make a ‘pour memoire’ that the 2020 reunion will take place over the weekend 8 - 10 May. We have managed to secure bookings at the Waddington Officers’ Mess for the Meet and Greet on the Friday and for the annual dinner on Saturday evening. The format is expected to be broadly similar to the usual one. On Saturday we are looking at another visit to the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) and on Sunday a service of remembrance at Dunholme Lodge Farm. Further details will be published as soon as they become available.
Members travelling from afar are asked to make their own accommodation reservations wherever they choose. The Secretary will endeavour to squeeze a favourable rate out of the Damons Hotel management in due course. For those who might wish to book early, Damons can be reached on 01522 887733. It may help to mention your attendance at the 44 Squadron Reunion when making a booking.