Our long-awaited and keenly anticipated film about 77 squadron, featuring unique footage of veterans’ stories and the history of the squadron, is now available on DVD and with specially-designed and donated cover art by Brian Gaunt.
Tracing the history of the squadron through both world wars and afterwards, the film includes scenes of the association’s reunions and ceremonies, family memories and moving interviews with veterans describing their time with the squadron.
The cost of making the film was financed by family members of our association and the narration is by radio announcer, narrator and presenter, Richard Clegg who gave his services free of charge. He says: “It was such a pleasure to be able in some small way to contribute to the memory of the brave and selfless Second World War veterans to whom we all owe so much.”
Most of the former aircrew interviewed for the film over the past decade have now passed away, but we were determined that their voices and memories were captured for posterity. A Heritage Lottery funded extract of the interviews will be used at the Yorkshire Air Museum to help tell the story of the airfield, the aircraft and the people who flew and serviced them.
Chairman of the air museum, Martin Withers DFC, said: “At the museum, situated on the site of Elvington Airfield, you will see examples of both the Halifax and the Dakota aircraft as flown by 77 Squadron. Watching this film one realises how valuable are recordings such as this and must recognise the forethought of 77 Squadron Association for organising and funding the filming.”
The film was compiled and untiringly edited by Van Wilson, whose father was a pilot with the squadron, with filming by Rachel Semlyen and York company, Parashoots. It was produced with great dedication by Ollie Bostock of Hewitt and Walker of York.
To obtain your copy of this special, 45 minute DVD, The Story of 77 Squadron, at £10 plus £2 postage and packing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Payment can be made by PayPal, using the email address and you can use the Join or Donate Now button on each page of this website with FOR A COPY OF THE DVD in the message section.
New on the website
The collection of Operational Record Books (ORBs) of 77 Squadron from Sep 1939 until Dec 1945. Included in these records are the monthly RAF Form 540 – Summary of Events (a daily diary of events at the Sqn), RAF Form 541 – Detail of Work Carried Out ( a record of what aircraft and personnel took part in Operations) as well as various appendices with supplementary information including Ops Orders, bomb camera pictures etc. Each year has its own named folder with individual monthly documents of the types listed above.. The ORB copies are of various levels of quality based on the available content from National Archives. (Some of the original typing is very faint!). Feel free to download and use the information for non-commercial uses as you see fit in order to research family members or those connected to 77 Squadron.
Our thanks to Canadian member Mike Anglin for this tremendous work. Mike also compiled the Canadian Roll of Honour. His father was F/O William Anglin, J28695 RCAF who completed 35 Ops with the Tarling crew and made it safely home to Canada.
He writes: It is my hope that the information is helpful as a resource for all researchers of 77 Sqn, whether they be families, or historian alike. The information in this drive is also provided in Remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of freedom.”
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…)
2018 Reunion dinner
77 Squadron Association’s Reunion 2019 takes place the weekend of 14th and 15th September at the Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial at Elvington, near York.
We are expecting that our President, Professor and former pilot, Bill Ballantyne, will be with us again. On Saturday we will as usual have a short wreath-laying ceremony at our memorial followed by a reception and dinner. The after-dinner speaker this year is Dr John Wright, honorary archivist at the Yorkshire Air Museum and he will be telling us the stories of “Some Unsung Heroes of 77”. On Sunday we are pleased that museum chaplain, the Revd Taff Morgan (a former RAF Tornado and Vulcan navigator), will be leading a service for us in the chapel at 10.30. Taff is always a delight and speaks with relevance and insights into the experience of aircrew. (more…)