National Memorial Arboretum and A Bomber Command Veteran

National Memorial Arboretum and A Bomber Command Veteran

Meeting a Bomber Command Veteran

Yesterday I had the extreme priviledge of meeting a WW2 Bomber Command veteran from 101 Squadron. Ron Davies was at the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas as a guest of Take Cover Creations. This was a great chance to also visit and pay our respects at our families respective unit memorials.
Ron was signing copies of his book ‘From Landsman to Lancasters’, which is Rons story in his own words. Rons book is a fascinating story of a man from the Wirral describing his experiences in the pre-war years, on 101 Squadron at Ludford Magna and then on to the Tiger Force in the Far East. A brilliant read well worth buying if you have the chance. Ron donates the proceeds to various charities close to his heart.
I have met Ron at a couple of shows where we have been trading earlier this year. Unfortunately we never got past the handshake and a quick few pleasantries due to be being so busy on the stall. This meeting at the National Memorial Arboretum was a chance to have a proper chat.
Ron is a great guy, and to speak to a genuine Bomber Command veteran was a great honour. He was so easy going, I could have sat all day listening to him talk. All too soon Ron had signed and sold all his books and it was time for him to leave.

Memorials For Our Families at the National Memorial  Arboretum

The day was very poignant for us as we took the opportunity to visit the memorials our families had connections to. Moreover it brought home how much I missed talking to my own Grand Father about his time in Burma during the war.

WW1 Memorials

After meeting Ron we visited the Essex Regiment memorial to pay our respects. My Great grandfather was in the Essex Regiment during the 2nd Boer War and was killed outside Ypres in 1916. My Grand Father had always believed his father died without a known grave. Shortly before he passed away, I was able to trace my Great Grand Father to a graveyard just outside Ypres. We planned a visit to take my Grand Father to Ypres, but unfortunately he passed away shortly after my discovery. I made that trip as planned which was an extremely moving experience. Seeing the Essex Regiment memorial brought back a lot of that emotion.

We stopped off at the Shot at Dawn Memorial. This memorial made me feel pretty angry and disgusted as I began to look through all the names and ages. 17 year olds, 18 year olds?? So many of them not even men. Most of those guys probably signed up eagerly to serve King and Country, but became part of something that was so ghastly, it is still beyond comprehension 100 years later. Sometimes I despair at the thought of these kids fighting in barbaric conditions at that age. Being treated as a coward and dealt with in such an inhumane fashion is incomprehensible.

Railway Industry Memorial

Following this we came across the Railway Industry Memorial. After spending 27 (mostly) happy years on the railway I was fully aware of the huge affect conflicts have had on the people who worked on the railways during the wars. Many 1000s also signed signed up for King and Country during both world Wars. It was only appropriate to stop for a few quiet minutes in reflection.

World War 2 in the Far East Memorials

Next was the Far East Prisoner of War memorial on behalf of Dawns Grand Father who was an RAF airframe fitter. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese literally 4 or 5 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the subsequent first island Invasions. He was moved around several camps and ended up at Nagasaki as a slave labourer in a Mitsubishi ship factory. He was there when the 2nd atomic bomb was dropped and unbelievably survived, living into his late 50s.
Our final call was at the Norfolk Regiment memorial for my Grand Dad. He signed up under age in 1936 and served in India and Afghanistan. As a side note he had some very interesting observations about the later Afghan Wars! He then served in Burma throughout the Second World War.
Thanks for reading about our day at the National Memorial Arboretum and meeting a Bomber Command Veteran. If you get a chance to meet a veteran, please take the opportunity, you wont regret it!
If you would like a copy of Rons book, From Landsman to Lancasters, get in touch with Take Cover Creations who will only be too pleased to help you out.
If you have any questions about anything in this article, please feel free to drop us a line
All the best for now
Gary and Dawn

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