Remembering the fallen

ANZAC Day at Chevington cemetery.
ANZAC Day at Chevington cemetery.

Newcastle Branch of the RAF Association hold a ceremony annually to commemorate the ANZACs who are buried at Chevington Cemetery near Amble. These were mainly airmen who were killed whilst operating from the RAF fighter base at Acklington during the Second World War.

This year’s commemoration ceremony was blessed with brilliant weather and was well attended. Squadron Leader Steve O’Hara represented the Royal Australian Air Force and the RAF was represented by Squadron Leader Sarah O’Donnell and Flying Officer Sam Warren from RAF Boulmer.

Also present were some 50 veterans from local RAF Association branches and comrades from the RAF Regiment Association, RAF Police Association, WAAF Association, ROC Association and the Royal British Legion. There were 12 association standards on parade and a contingent from the Air Training Corps.

The assembled guests were welcomed by the president of Newcastle RAFA, Air Commodore Ian Forster OBE and proceedings commenced with the playing of the Australian and New Zealand national anthems.

Prayers were then led by the vicar of Chevington, the Revd Wendy Aird. Wreaths were laid on the RAF memorial by Squadron Leader O’Hara, Flying Officer Warren, Air Commodore Forster and by representatives of RAFA, the Royal British Legion and of the local community. Cadets from 1110 Squadron laid a poppy cross on each individual ANZAC grave.

The Act of Remembrance included the Last Post and Reveille with the exhortation given by the Royal British Legion’s county chairman Mr Don Rutherford ISM (ex-RAF MTD) and the dedication spoken by RAFA’s Mr Bill Houston whose RAF service included Masirah and Singapore.

Following the playing of the National Anthem the ceremony concluded with a march-past of standard bearers and veterans during which the salute was taken by Squadron Leader O’Hara and Squadron Leader O’Donnell.

A buffet reception was then held at The Trap Inn, an establishment which was very popular with personnel from RAF Acklington during the Second World War.