For many years, the RAF Defford Reunion Association has been run by the indefatigable Albert Shorrock, as a means of keeping in touch with veterans of RAF Defford, their families and friends. Albert is now retiring, and with his retirement the Reunion Association has merged with the DAHG, who from now on will be responsible for keeping in touch with veterans and organising the Reunion event.
This year, the Reunion was held on Saturday, September 10th, in and around the restored RAF buildings at Croome, as part of the National Heritage event over the weekend of September 10th and 11th. There was a display of photographs, many of them not shown before, and other material, including the Merlin engine from the crashed Spitfire of Group Captain McDonald, the Station Commander at Defford 1943-46, together with other artefacts and relics from recent archaeological visits to the airfield. The magnificent model of Defford airfield, made by Albert Shorrock and now donated by him to the National Trust at Croome in the care of DAHG, together with other display material, was much admired by visitors in its new location in the visitor information room. Also displayed in that small room next to the Restaurant, but on a temporary basis until they can be moved permanent display in the Reception area, were the Roll of Honour and the Spitfire painting, both presented to the National Trust last year. DAHG members were in attendance with their displays inside the RAF buildings and outside in a marquee, over the whole National Heritage Weekend, which appeared to attract many visitors new to Croome, who showed a great interest in the DAHG displays. Visitors were attracted by community press coverage generated by DAHG, while the Reunion was attended by a good turnout of veterans who served and worked at RAF Defford, together with their families and friends.
The following Saturday, September 17th, members of the Group were in attendance at ‘Defford Air Day’, a fly-in held at the grass air strip at Croft Farm, which is just off the southern boundary of the former airfield, with access from the Defford to Upton road. This is always a very pleasant event, which takes place annually in aid of the Air Ambulance and the Air Missionary Service. See http://www.defford-croftfarm.co.uk/deffordairday.htm
As in previous years, the wreath laying ceremony at the RAF Defford War Memorial in Defford Village, will be at 11 a.m. on November 11th, which this year is a Friday. The ceremony will be followed by a buffet lunch for Reunion and Group members, arranged by Sylvia Evans, in Defford Village Hall. This in turn will be followed by the AGM of DAHG now merged with RAF Defford Reunion Association – all current members of the Reunion Association, together with DAHG members are invited. Further information and notice of the AGM will follow.
The planned meeting of DAHG on Sunday, September 25th, by invitation of our associates the Electronics Restoration Trust, at Cradley, has been CANCELLED owing to unforeseen circumstances. It is hoped to arrange a visit to Cradley and the ERT in the New Year.
The Group operates in support of the National Trust at Croome, and provides expert advice, information and display material to help inform visitors to Croome and the community at large, about this very important chapter in the story of Croome.
Accordingly it is pleasing to report that the role of DAHG has been formally recognised as a National Trust Supporter Group, and individual members of the Group enrolled as National Trust Volunteers at Croome.
Meanwhile, DAHG is working with National Trust officers at Croome, to improve the visitor information room and set up a larger, longer-term display, hopefully in the Court. This will help respond to the considerable interest shown by visitors in the story of RAF Defford and Croome at War.