619 Sqn Association

Often referred to as the ‘Forgotten Squadron’ 619 Squadron was formed as a Main Force bomber unit within No 5 Group, at RAF Woodhall Spa on April 18, 1943. The first squadron crews came from 97 Squadron and they were equipped with Lancasters, but they changed operating bases several times:
9 January 1944 – RAF Coningsby
17 April 1944 – RAF Dunholme Lodge
28 September 1944 – RAF Strubby
30 June 1945 – RAF Skellingthorpe
Disbanded on 18 July 1945

So short was the squadron’s existence the 619 Squadron crest was never formally allocated; although it is proudly worn by all of the Association members.

The 619 Squadron Association was formed in 1947 and is believed to be the only Squadron Association to have held an annual reunion every year since its formation. In recent years this has been held at the Petwood Hotel at Woodhall Spa, Lincs, which was briefly the squadron’s Officers Mess. Annually an Association Lunch is held at the RAF Club in London.

RAF Crew

The Association has strong connections to the William Farr Church of England Comprehensive School at Welton near Lincoln, which houses a memorial to RAF Dunholme Lodge in the Lawres Room.

This is a permanent memorial to the 669 young airmen who lost their lives whilst serving at RAF Dunholme Lodge, a satellite station of RAF Scampton that was open from 1942 – 1945. Three RAF Squadrons, 44 (Rhodesia), 170 and 619 were stationed at Dunholme Lodge, all flying Lancasters.

The memorial consists of a wooden board made of birch on which is inscribed the history of the WW2 air base above the squadron crests. It is flanked by stone carvings of the badges of 44 Squadron and 619 Squadron carved by Frank Walshaw, who was a wireless operator with 619 Squadron. On either side of the carvings are artworks by Christine Strong and Vanessa Kelly that were inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

An illuminated leather bound Roll of Honour is housed in a display case. This lists in alphabetical order, the name, rank and nationality if a member of the Commonwealth the aircrew killed whilst operating from the base. The Memorial and Roll of Honour was dedicated on June 18, 2004. Members of the Association have recently participated in a history project that the school had received Lottery funding for. Entitled ‘Veterans Talking To Children’ this involves Association members discussing their recollections with pupils from the school, who will eventually produce a DVD of the stories. Other research projects have resulted in significant aspects of the squadron’s history being recorded in books and on the internet. This includes: 619 – The History of a Forgotten Squadron by Bryan Clark; The Last Flight of Lancaster LL919 by Anne Grimshaw; Whilst an ongoing memorial project by Jane

Avro Lancaster

Knox-Kiepura and Paul Stevenson continues the search for a 619 Squadron Lancaster I, ME846 and the missing remains of the pilot ‘Captain’ Davis. The plane crashed on June 21 / 22, 1944 and the project also maintains links amongst the aircrew’s relatives and families. There are two 619 Squadron memorials, one with public access and a second, which is accessible by prior permission only. The public memorial is a plaque in the memorial garden at the Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre, Lincs, which is located on part of the former No 1 Communal Site of RAF Woodhall Spa. The second memorial is the RAF Dunholme Lodge
Memorial, which is located on the Wykes’ brother farm, on part of the former airfield. This memorial incorporates an aluminium propeller boss from the 619 Squadron Lancaster LL919, which crashed at Landéville, France on April 27, 1944. Ends 677 words Association Contacts: John Whiteley [Secretary] Joe Dutton [Treasurer] 11 Clare Crescent Wallasey WIRRAL CH44 2DL Tel: 0151 638 6939 Canadian Branch George Hexter [Secretary] 1942 Royal Crescent London Ontario N5V 1N7 Canada Membership: Circa 100 members and associates around the world Subscriptions: £5 per annum What you get: A half yearly newsletter to keep you advised of Association activities and notification of reunions, lunches and events. 2008 Reunion, 18-19 April, 2008. Association Aims: To allow members to meet old colleagues and their relatives, and people connected with 619 Squadron Group Photo: 619 Squadron Association members pictured from left to right: Sandy Sandison, John Bell, Freddie Thomas and John Whiteley.






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