Squadron remembers its 353 fallen heroes
TEARS were shed at an annual reunion as servicemen from the Second World War remembered their lost comrades.
Surviving men of 550 Squadron, who flew Lancaster bombers 68 years ago from North Killingholme, gathered with family and friends of their late colleagues.
The reunion took place in North Killingholme, with a service of remembrance and wreath-laying at the squadron memorial, in Lancaster Approach, as well as a procession led by the Immingham Air Training Corps band.
The former servicemen and their families then enjoyed a fly-past by the only surviving airworthy Lancaster bomber, of the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight, before a service at St Denys' Church.
Attending the reunion was Marjorie Grey, 91, of East Halton, who was a driver for the squadron.
She said: "I was posted all over the place during my time in service, from Scotland down to London.
"I eventually became a flight commander's main driver and anyone else who wanted me to do something would have had to have asked him first.
"I come every year to the memorial service. You cannot really describe the amount of emotion felt by everyone.
"When the Lancaster bomber does its fly-past, I always shed a tear at that point, to me, no other can top it."
As reported, 550 Squadron was based at Waltham before moving to North Killingholme airfield in January 1944, where it remained until it was disbanded in October 1945.
The squadron, which included members of the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand air forces, lost 353 of its members between 1944 and 1945 – with 13 Lancasters shot down over enemy territory and 13 crashing in Britain on their way home.
Among those remembering lost loved ones was Eve Dolphin, whose father died on March 31, 1944, when she was just 18 months old.
After travelling up from Devon for the reunion, the 69-year-old said: "Attending the service gives me a sense of connection to my father, even though I never knew him.
"He is buried in Germany, the country his plane went down, in a place called Durnbach. It is a British war cemetery where about 3,000 men are laid to rest.
"My father, Ronald Johns, was a rear gunner on the plane and to this day I cannot believe how people fitted into such tiny compartments and went out to war.
"Through my own research and travels I have some small remnants at home from his plane that crashed.
"I have attended the service for around seven years now and each one is just as special to me.
"I used to hope that someone would attend that possibly knew my dad, but it has never happened.
"It is a heartfelt moment when the Lancaster bomber flies over us."
For more information on the squadron, visit www.550squadronassociation.org.uk