Reunion 11-13 May 2018
Numbers attending this reunion were a little down on previous years. Thirty nine members and guests assembled in the bar of the Officers’ Mess at RAF Waddington on Friday evening to get the reunion weekend underway. Despite the reduced numbers, it will be evident from the photographs that the evening turned out to be a lively and enjoyable one. Acquaintances were renewed, stories re-told and a barrel of Lancaster Bomber Ale helped jolly things along.
Those involved with the Black Buck missions added their signatures to a fine pencil drawing of a fully-laden Vulcan refuelling from a Victor tanker. Martin Withers was present, probably relieved for once at not having to sing for his supper by recounting his epic bombing mission, as he has done so many times on previous occasions. The signing was a reminder, if one was needed, of the complexity of that ultra long range mission and drew attention to the plight of that most famous Vulcan, XM 607, which still languishes on the far side of the airfield, crying out for attention.
The following day members and guests assembled at the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) on Canwick Hill overlooking the city of Lincoln. The IBCC’s Chadwick Centre is now complete and has an excellent conference facility on the first floor, where the Association held its General Meeting. The Association’s accounts were presented by the Secretary and the existing committee was duly re-elected for another term. At the conclusion of business, attendees were given guided tours of the IBCC, a site which has developed impressively over the past year.
The annual dinner took place in the Officers’ Mess at RAF Waddington. We are indebted to the Station Commander for his willingness to put station facilities at our disposal each year and it was good to welcome him and his wife as our guests at this year’s dinner. This year’s prize for the most distant traveller was a close call between the Priors (Georgia, US) and Jan Willis (Ontario, Canada). The latter was accompanied by her youngest son, Brett, who can now compare visit notes with his three brothers, who came with her in 2016.
Despite a somewhat gloomy forecast, Sunday’s service of remembrance took place in fair weather in the grounds of Dunholme Lodge Farm. Once again the Wykes family were excellent hosts, granting us the run of the place and providing a marquee for the service. Although the weather remained kind throughout, it was interesting to note the sensible precaution of heavy-duty cross-bracing to keep the marquee on terra firma should the wind have exceeded crosswind limits. The service was conducted by the Reverend Ian Partridge and his wife Ronnie. During the service the padre announced that this would be his final performance as he felt it was now time for a peaceful retirement after fulfilling his honorary roll for so many years. Our thanks to him and Ronnie for their support.
The concluding event, lunch at the Carpenter’s Arms, Fiskerton, was marked by the splendid arrival of the BBMF Lancaster, which flew a number of spirited passes, to the delight of our members and others who happened to have turned up for Sunday lunch.
A note for your diaries. The 2019 reunion will take place over the second weekend in May 2019. Further details of all arrangements will be made available in due course.