405 Squadron Window 30th Anniversary
2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Installation and Dedication of the 405 Squadron Memorial Window and Book of Remembrance in St Bartholomew's Church, Great Gransden. Val and John Davison worked with the Rev. Rachel Blanchflower to ensure that this milestone did not pass unnoticed, and so a service of commemoration and rededication was arranged to mark the event in memory of the 801 airmen of 405 Squadron who lost their lives in the Second World War. The Gransdens Society provided a small display of 405 Squadron related photos from the Doreen Blott Memorial Archive. The service took place at 9:30am on Sunday 19th May 2019 in St. Bartholomew's Church, Great Gransden.
We wanted to make sure that younger people in the area knew the significance of the window and Book of Remembrance and so members of the local Brownies, Cubs, Scouts and Air Training Corps. organisations were invited to participate, together with representatives from the Royal Air Force and the British Legion and any local residents who wished to attend. A special guest was Major Jean-Rene Letourneau, a serving member of 405 Squadron who is currently based in the UK on secondment to NATO.
The service was conducted by the Rev. Rachel Blanchflower and was based on the original service of 30 years ago, but updated to mark the 30th Anniversary. During the service Major Letourneau read out the Poem "High Flight" and delivered a message to those present from the 405 Squadron Commanding Officer. Ed Badcock played the Last Post and the standard bearers from the local organisations dipped their flags in salute to the lost airmen.
Photos to follow at at later date.
Donated 405 Squadron Photos
We've recently been contacted by people with connections to 405 Squadron who had three framed photographs they thought we'd be interested in. Brian and Debbie Gabriel were visiting the UK from Canada and brought the photos with them. Debbie's father, Gerry Wolfe, worked as ground crew in the Squadron and the three photos belonged to him originally. Debbie has very kindly donated them to the Gransdens Society, for which we are very grateful. Copies of the photos are displayed below.
Crew members with Lancaster bomber "Ruhr Express". Debbie Gabriel's father, Gerry Wolfe, is standing on the right of the group.
More members of 405 Squadron with Lancaster bomber "Ruhr Express". This was the very first Canadian built Lancaster to serve in the war.
What appears to be the whole of 405 Squadron with one of the Squadron's Handley Page Halifaxes.
405 Squadron Stained Glass
We recently received batch of photos from the Squadron showing some of the stained glass they've had made to adorn their headquarters in Greenwood. The first one shows Casey, the name given to the Eagle appearing in the Squadron's emblem. This was presented to the Squadron by Mike Adams, a past Commanding Officer, who is now a Wing Commander at Greenwood.
405 Squadron Visit 2016
On Thursday 16th June 2016 the Gransdens Society hosted a visit from 405 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force. John and Val Davison met them at the windmill, where they paid their respects at the 405 Squadron memorial stone situated there. Martin Davies was also on hand to talk to them about the windmill restoration work that’s currently being done.
John and Val then escorted them up to Gransden Lodge airfield, home base of the Squadron during World War 2. At the gliding club they were met by Chris Sullivan, author of the book “Trials and Tribulation”, which tells the story of the airfield. Chris talked to them about the airfield and had also set up a display of photos of 405 Squadron taken during the war for them to see.
Following this they attended a memorial service at Great Gransden church, led by Neil Parker, where the 801 airmen of the Squadron who lost their lives during the war were remembered. Ian Selkirk played The Last Post as part of the service.
After the service Trevor Bounford hosted the visitors for refreshments at his home, where they were each presented with a greetings card showing the memorial window in the church. They in turn presented the Gransdens Society with a beautifully made model of a CP-140 Aurora aircraft, of the type the Squadron currently flies on active service. The stand carries an inscription saying: "In memory of RCAF 405 Squadron 75th Anniversary - 2016"
Following this they went on to the Crown and Cushion, which landlords Ian and Teri Selkirk had opened up early especially for them. Here they enjoyed a beer or two, just as their former Squadron members had during the war.
Their visit coincided with 405 Squadron’s 75th anniversary, and the Gransdens Society is proud to maintain the villages’ link with them. The link had been broken until the late Doreen Blott, a former Secretary of the Society, worked hard to re-establish it in the 1980’s. Since then members of 405 Squadron have visited us whenever they’ve had the chance, and hopefully will continue to do so. The Gransden Society will be proud to welcome them whenever they do.