The message below was passed by our Sister Association in New Zealand:
What remains of RNZAF WIgram
Built on the out-skirts of Christchurch, it came under increasing pressure from the 'Greenies', 'Noise Abatement chappies' and the ever encroaching demands of those hungering for their little slice of 'God's Own' (back in the day when a timber frame 1000 sq ft home on a quarter acre section was quite normal… and almost affordable).
Its significance today is that it is the home of the RNZAF Museum with two of the hangars still in use for storage and restitution work. A number of smaller 'out buildings' (former Barracks and others) now converted to archives, libraries, photo recovery, study centres and research facilities.
Many of the Station houses were cleaned-up and sold on the open market .Large parts of the air field are now in the hands of developers and are being converted into up-market housing estates
In the centre foreground is the old No 1 Officer's Mess and accommodation blocks. For a number of years it was used as a 'back packers' hostel but when recently sold, was up-graded to an event / conference centre (with accommodation available) and will be the venue for this years 41 Squadron BGM and Reunion - timed for April 12 – 14.2019. Current plans will have the Friday night Meet & Greet in the Mess while the formal dinner on the Saturday night will be held in the aircraft display area of the Museum seen here behind the Mess on the hard standing… abutting part of the old the air field.
In its day the base was the home of the Central Flying School (Pilots and Navigators) as well as 1 TTS (Electrical and Instrument training facilities - later Avionics)
It was an attractive Base and apart from being rather cold during the winter (by NZ Standards) and almost unbearably hot during summer it was not a bad posting.
Our thanks for your salutations, and may I offer our very best wishes to your squadron for the coming year, as the RAF heads off into its second hundred years…we watch with interest.
All the best…
Bryan S Franklin
BAv RAeS ISASI
Vice President 41 Squadron RNZAF Association
The following information was provided by The Royal British Legion:
Call Out to Normandy Veterans - D-Day 75
You might be aware that in response to a reported shortage of appropriate accommodation in Normandy over the period of the D-Day 75 commemorations, The Royal British Legion recently announced that they have chartered a ship via our travel provider Arena Travel, the MV Boudicca, to provide a fully funded tour for 300 Normandy Veterans; each with one carer.
We are respectfully asking ex-Service Associations to help us communicate this opportunity to their respective memberships. Our aim is not to compete with previously arranged travel plans but rather to ensure that every Normandy Veteran is aware of the opportunity to utilise the Legion’s fully-funded travel and accommodation option that includes travel insurance. Ideally, we seek to provide every Normandy Veteran with the opportunity to travel and share time with erstwhile comrades whilst attending major commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day on both sides of The Channel.
A comprehensive transport plan has been designed offering the collection of individuals from their respective homes to the Port of Dover and subsequent return at the completion of the tour. Following embarkation in Dover on Sunday 2 June 2019, the MV Boudicca will set sail on the itinerary outlined below, returning to Dover on Sunday 9 June 2019. A programme of activities specific to the Normandy Veterans has been designed that includes attendance at national level commemorative events, visits, demonstrations at-sea by the Royal Navy as well as historical briefings.
There are significant on-board medical facilities and the Legion will provide a cadre of additional, qualified care staff to support those travelling with us. The vessel’s itinerary allows sufficient time for the on-board veterans to take full advantage of what we hope will be a memorable experience for each of them and provide sufficient time for rest and times for reflection.
Below is the current outline itinerary for the MV Boudicca. This is subject to change.
Day 1, Sunday 2 June 2019
They will need to complete the eligibility form in its entirety and return to Arena Travel by Monday 4 February 2019 via post. They will also have access to our Frequently Asked Questions and the mobility policy for the ship from our website.
In the event that applications exceed availability, priority will be given to veterans who participated in the D-Day Landings, with the remaining spaces allocated to Normandy Veterans via a ballot.
If there is no oversubscription on the closing date, then all eligible applicants will be awarded a space on the ship. The results of the ballot will be confirmed by Arena Travel via post before the end of February 2019. A veteran who is unsuccessful in the ballot will have the option to remain on a reserve list in case a place subsequently becomes available.
Please direct any questions or concerns to Arena Travel on 01473 660800.
Cenotaph Dispersal reminder
In addition, we recently contacted all associations and military charities to assist the Legion in conducting a review of participants of the Cenotaph Dispersal. If you have not already done so we encourage you to complete the following survey by the 31 January 2019:
Assistant Director for Commemorative Events
Registered Charity Number: 219279.
There are many other D-Day events being held in the UK and Normandy. Here is a snapshot of key D-Day 75 event involving the Ministry of Defence, The Royal British Legion and Portsmouth City Council:
Updates and news direct from the Committee