ACA Woking News by Bill Bawden, PRO

20 June 2006

Veterans Take to the Skies Again

First wave airborne
Flight line panorama

The Woking Branch of the AirCrew Association has held its annual "Flying Evening" at its home venue of Fairoaks Airport. With some 140 people attending, ten aircraft took ninety former service aircrew and their guests on a series of flights over the Surrey countryside in dry but gusty weather.

Unable to take passengers, but providing a nostalgic glimpse into the past, three loving-restored 1930s vintage aeroplanes flew in to grace the scene.  A De Havilland DH89 Raide was accompanied by two German single-engine training aircraft in Luftwaffe markings including a rare Klemm monoplane.  Pictured alongside this is Ernst Wedding who flew Heinkel and Junkers bombers on the Eastern and Western fronts in the Second World War, and last year gave the Branch members an account of his experiences operating on the opposing side to many in his audience. After the war "Ernie" married an English girl and settled in this country.

A buffet supper in the Flight Centre and an adjoining marquee followed the flying and all agreed it had been a most enjoyable evening. Thanks are due to Alan Mann Aviation, the other sponsors and the pilots for providing the facilities and their services, and to those Branch members who helped to organise a very successful event.

ACA flying control
ACA flying control
German biplane
Stigler biplane
Ernst Wedding with the Klemm Trainer
Klemm trainer
DH 89 Rapide
DH89 Rapide
John Thorburn (L) and Jimmy James
John Thorburn and Jimmy James
John Thorburn drew the raffle
John Thorburn drew the raffle
Fairoaks clubhouse was packed
Crowded clubhouse

We will remember him
Jim Sherwood
Jim Sherwood

We very much regret to report the recent death of Jim Sherwood, ACA membership no 732. Jim, a flight engineer, was the only RAF member of a Lancaster crew (the other six were RCAF and RAAF) of 189 Squadron that completed a tour of operations in April 1945. During this period 189 Squadron sustained the highest operational losses in No 5 Group and Jim's own crew, who kept in touch during the post-war years, had their own share of "hairy" moments. Our sense of loss is tempered by gratitude that Jim survived this dangerous time to become a long-serving committee member and one of the mainstays of the Woking Branch. His immense contribution to our organisation was recognised by his award in 2005 of a Presidential Commendation.

Read Jim's chapter from the ACA Woking CD-ROM "Upside Down Nothing on the Clock"

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