Every year in September the members and families of 77 Squadron Association meet at the Yorkshire Air Museum to remember the sacrifice that so many young men made on the outskirts of York during the second World War. 77 Squadron was the first resident squadron of RAF Elvington and flew from the base during the many darker days of Bomber Command, battling to the Ruhr Valley and other places deep into Germany. This year, due to Covid-19, the Association could not meet, but in order to remember the fallen the Association marked the day with a reading and were able to “Turn the Page” of the Roll of Honour kept in the chapel as they do annually every September.
Here is a short film of the occasion.
Saturday 19th September
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus epidemic, we have had to cancel this event. Stay well everyone.
We know members enjoy getting together for comradeship and commemoration of the squadron. However, the last few years have been difficult for many people to travel and for our small committee to organise. At the meeting at Elvington after last year’s reunion, it was suggested that we have a simpler, less tiring—and less expensive—event all on one day. The President, Bill Ballantyne, and committee have therefore decided to book a special “77 Day” at the Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial museum at Elvington on Saturday 19th September for a ceremony and short service followed by a buffet lunch.
Tours of the iconic and unique Halifax are again offered to members at the special price of £20 per person, (free for veterans) either in the morning or the afternoon. Please note that this is an amazing, though limited and physically demanding experience (over 16s only).
10.00 Pre-booked Halifax tours at £20 per person / free time to explore the museum.
11.00 Ceremony at the Memorial followed by a service in the Chapel.
12.00 Buffet lunch and get together at £14.00 per person
2.00 -2.45 The Association’s annual general meeting
3.00 Remaining Halifax tours / free time until museum closing time.
We look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Do remember to book your accommodation early as York is usually very busy. If you need any help with this, let us know. And do keep in touch!
If you are interested in taking part in the September 19th event, please contact Rachel Semlyen as soon as possible by email or telephone so that we can make plans. We need the names of people planning to come and if you wish to book a Halifax tour. Payment can be via the website (77squadron.org.uk) on the Membership and Donations page, or by sending a cheque made out to 77 Squadron Association and posted to the Treasurer with the names of those participating.
Email: email@example.com for the attention of Rachel.
The weekend of 14th and 15th September saw our 30th Annual Reunion at Elvington. It was lovely weather and around fifty guests came to remember their fathers, grandfathers, friends and uncles who took part in the most dangerous missions of WW2, flying in their hundreds from all along the east side of England mostly at night to Germany, many never to return. Some were lost at sea, others buried in known or unknown graves in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Some survived a crash but died in captivity or whilst evading or escaping.
An Act of Remembrance was conducted at the memorial (completed 30 years ago by the Association on September 16th 1989), by the Revd Geoffrey Garside, whose father-in-law was Ralph Tailford who served as a flight engineer with 77. Keith Baker (son of veteran Ron Baker), movingly delivered the Exhortation: “They grow not old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”
We are so pleased that our President, veteran pilot, 96-year-old Bill Ballantyne, was able to be with us again. Bill flew 22 missions from Full Sutton and later became an eminent Arabic lawyer and professor. He came with his partner, Caroline, his son, Brian, and daughter, Binty, who had never seen a Halifax up close before. Together with nine other guests, they enjoyed the privilege of a tour to the interior organised by the museum’s guides. (more…)