Northampton veterans with combined age of 555 commemorate end of World War One

One Northampton Royal British Legion branch had the honour of chaperoning six World War Two veterans who were invited to attend the Classic and Sports car show at RAF Bicester.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 1:24 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 4:48 pm
Pictured L-R: Le Mans 'legend' Derek Bell MBE, vice chair - Gary Schiltz, WW2 Veterans - Dennis Wells, Joan Wells, Maurice Marriott, Martin Calvert, Eddie Habberley, Ted Barker and chaperone Major Philip Linehan VR REME, the Second in Command of 103 Battalion REME'. Copyright: Malcolm Griffiths.

The RBL Duston and District branch and the Royal Air Force Association helped to commemorate the Royal Air Force and the end of the first world war on Saturday (June 23) and sent along six World War Two veterans.

In attendance were Martin Calvert, 92, of the Scots Guards, from Rothersthorpe; Edward ‘Ted’ Barker, 95, Sub Lieutenant on HMS Arbiter, husband-and-wife pairing of Dennis, 93, and Joan Wells, 93, from Dallington, who acted as wireless operators and a clerk and typist.

RAF veterans Maurice Marriott, 93, and Eddie Habberley, 95, both from Duston in Northamptonshire, returned to the skies in Tiger Moth aircraft above Bicester Heritage, a former WW2 RAF bomber station. The pair had both trained in the aircraft during their time with the RAF.

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Copyright: Malcolm Griffiths.

Tracey Fogg-Stevens, chair of Duston and District Branch, said: "It’s exciting to be able to bring along a Burma Star Veteran, Scots Guard, WRAF, and three RAF personnel.

"The combined age of the group is 555 years but they all play an active part in the day-to-day support of the RBL.

"The Guardsman is the president of the Duston and District branch and incidentally, two of the ex-RAF servicemen still fly aircraft. It’s an absolute pleasure to know that our veterans are being looked after on this special occasion."

Eddie, who was based in Burma during WW2 joined the RAF when he was 18 years old and started training in Tiger Moths.

He said: "I then trained in the USA before heading to the Middle East and Burma where we flew Spitfires. It’s great that so much has happened for RAF100 and wonderful how much interest there is from people of all generations.

"I haven’t been in a Tiger Moth since 1941 and going up today, I didn’t remember how breezy it was up there. There was a nice cross-wind for take-off and landing, which made it quite interesting. It bounced around something terrific and was really good fun, absolutely marvellous.”