THE MILLAR STORY
ITALY AND BEYOND
The research into the loss of KH 158 led to an extended correspondence and shared research with others working in parallel. Some of the particularly interesting items that arose are presented here.
|ITEM 1. ENGLAND|
|A bomber crew from 76 Sqdn RAF arriving back safely
to the base in Yorkshire on May 27th 1944, from their
mission bombing an SS camp in Belgium. Sadly 6 of the
crew were later to die in action on 3rd June 1944 when
their Halifax was shot down by an enemy fighter..
The seventh member, the navigator, Flight Sergeant Raymond Thomas Hood, was thrown out of the aircraft and became a prisoner of war.
Crew: left-right in photo ----
|Photograph presented by Norman Hood, son of the navigator.|
|"On the 4th of September 1943 while returning to RAF Binbrook airbase after a raid on Berlin, 460 Sqdn RAAF Lancaster EE138 was shot down over Stadil, Denmark" - Go to Peter Forrester's website www.ee138.net - see Denmark page|
|ITEM 3. ITALY|
|CELONE ,one of the Foggia Airbases - a 31 SAAF Squadron crew in front of their tented accomodation - from Ted Shrimpton||FOGGIA - a postcard of the 1940s showing "Piazza 28th October" - from Ted Shrimpton|
|ITEM 4. CANADA|
|PIER 21 in HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA- from where
T.R.Millar and many other airmen were shipped en route
Australia to England, via USA and Canada.-avoiding the
Photo by Don Stewart; sent by Peter Forrester
|SS PASTEUR operating as a troopship across the
Atlantic from Pier 21, Halifax, Nova Scotia to England
.T.R.Millar sailed in this ship April 1943.
Canadian Army photo from the Allan S Tanner Collection. Pier 21 museum
|ITEM 5. RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL, ENGLAND|
|The AIRFORCES MEMORIAL RUNNYMEDE, near Egham,
This memorial is dedicated to some 20,000 men and women from the air forces of the British Empire who were lost in operations from World War2. All of those recorded have no known grave anywhere in the world and many were lost without trace. The name of each of these airmen and airwomen is engraved into the stone walls of the memorial, according to country and squadron.
The memorial was opened formally by H.M Queen Elizabeth on 14th May 1965.
Photo taken by Anne Storm in March 2009.
|ITEM 6. BOMBER
-photo taken from RAF Benevolent Fund presentation
|On 28th June 2012 H.M Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a memorial dedicated
to the thousands of airmen of bomber command who died in WW2
Amongst those present was the widow of an airman, Sgt.E.A.C.Thirkettle RAFVR of 460 Sqn RAAF, who was shot down over Denmark in 1943.
Her account below describes the day in a most telling manner.
A Day to Remember
We arrived at Victoria Station in London after a pleasant journey. It was thronged with commuters but amongst them were many unusual sights. Elderly ladies and gentlemen, all dressed in their best, some with sticks, some in wheelchairs and many wearing uniforms not often seen in England. Gentlemen of 85 plus years wearing the large hats of the Australian, New Zealand and South African Forces and indeed many other nationalities all intent on going to Green Park to attend the Dedication and Unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial.
It is not an easy thing to cross London in the rush hour but the London taxi cab drivers had volunteered to be at the main railway stations to drive veterans and their families to Green Park free of charge. We joined a short queue for a taxi and arrived at the Memorial site which is not far from Buckingham Palace. I should explain that the invitation said in view of the fact that there would be a fair bit of walking and standing around it would be advisable for anyone with walking difficulties to bring a wheelchair. So I invested in a wheelchair.
Once arrived at the entrance to the Memorial site a charming young airman took charge of the wheelchair and we were taken to a marquee where refreshments were provided. We were then shown to our seats, about 10 rows from the front. There were about one thousand people in our section in front of the memorial and another five thousand in the other area set aside as well as many passers-by who were watching for the arrival of the Queen. Whilst we were waiting for the ceremony to begin we were soon in conversation with the people around us who all had a story to tell. The event was very well organised by Bomber Command Association, with the support of the RAF.
The Royal Air Force Central Band was playing. The choir of the R.A.F. church, St Clement Danes was there to lead the hymn singing. Then the flags were paraded. Then members of the Royal family arrived, including the Queen’s sons the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex and his wife, also the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent. After this the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived. There followed a fanfare from the trumpeters of the R.A.F. Central Band before the Queen arrived with the Duke of Edinburgh. We all sang the National Anthem.
After an introductory speech the service began. There were prayers and Bible readings, two hymns and an address. The Queen then unveiled the wonderful memorial of the seven standing airmen . The figures are beautifully sculptured and are about nine feet high. It is most impressive. The whole memorial is in white Portland stone and will give poignant pleasure to all who view it. There was a flypast of Tornados and then the unmistakable roar of engines as the Lancaster flew over the site and dropped hundreds of poppy petals on Green Park.
Members of the Royal family came round to talk to the veterans and their families and I felt honoured to exchange a few words with the Earl of Wessex, the Queen’s youngest son. The fact that so many of the Royal family attended this ceremony pleased us all after the long wait.
Written by Jess Bowler formerly Thirkettle
Written by Jess Bowler formerly Thirkettle