Monday 11th November’s parade evening at the Loke Road headquarters of 42F (King’s Lynn) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets, was an evening for sombre reflection for its members during this its 80th anniversary year.
As a ‘Founder’ Squadron, registered in January of 1939 it saw, between 1940 and 1945, hundreds of its young members, on reaching conscription age, called up to serve their country in World War Two’s numerous theatres of war.
Sadly (at least) fifteen never returned home. A memorial to 42F’s cadets who gave their lives was unveiled at the squadrons HQ in 2012 and now each November the cadets and staff conduct a short act of remembrance and wreath laying.
The twisted propeller blade that forms the memorial is from a WWII Mosquito plane. The aircraft was lost in the Wash in 1945 and not located and recovered until 2004. The pilot and navigator who went down with the aircraft were found within the wreckage. The gallant crew are also commemorated by a second plaque on the memorial.
At the evenings first parade the squadron’s cadets stood to attention as Cadet Jorja Dowen placed a poppy wreath at the memorial after which Cadet Sergeant Harry Pink read the exhortation and after a short silence the words from the Kohima Epitaph.
Major (Ret’d) Gary Walker a Civilian Instructor with the squadron said “These days it is sometimes hard for our young people to grasp how young so many of the casualties of war were. Those past members of our squadron who were killed in action were only a few years older than themselves”.