One of our long-standing and much respected members has sadly died. Ralph Rutherford has been ill for a while and has not been seen at meetings for a couple of years.

Many of us will remember a presentation Ralph gave a few years ago of his RAF career. He was a pilot in the early days of jets and flew Vampires and Meteors.

Following his RAF service Ralph was a geography teacher at both Copleston and Thurleston High School. As one of his former pupils wrote on our Facebook page, "He was one of the few who encouraged his students and really did elicit the best from them."

I am currently trying to contact a daughter who, I understand, lives in the US. I am therefore unable at present to comment on his family. I understand that Ralph lost his wife a few months ago

As a tribute to a true gentleman and friend I intend to repeat an article in our next newsletter that Ralph wrote for "Runway 22" in 2012.

The funeral will be held at Seven Hills Crematorium on Thursday 14th November at 3.45pm.

Alan Powell.  

Left - Two “elderly statesmen”.

Ralph Rutherford on the left talking to our late President, Gordon Kinsey at one of our Open Days

Friday November 1st and we were entertained with an illustrated talk by one of our own hon. vice presidents'. Clive Stevens is an authority on the USAAF in England during WW2 and the knowledge of his subject is impressive.

Clive explained that from 1942 until the end of WW2 we were virtually "invaded" by American servicemen intent on helping us defeat Nazi Germany. He concentrated on the USAAF 8th Air Force, but the American 9th Air Force were also in England. Essex in particular was the home of the 9th Air Force whilst Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire in particular was where the USAAF 8th Air Force bombers were based. They flew the heavily armed B17 "Flying Fortresses" and the Consolidated B24 "Liberator" bombers. The USAAF included airfields, such as RAF Martlesham Heath which was one of many bases from which flew the fighters that escorted the bombers.

The Americans doggedly stuck to high altitude daylight bombing and as with the RAF night bombing campaign, their losses were high.

During WW2 some two million American servicemen passed through England and up to half a million were based, mostly in East Anglia to man and maintain the USAAF.

During the second half of the evening Clive talked about the attempts to reclaim much of what had been hurriedly buried in the vicinity of the many bases.

A vote of thanks was given by our president, Richard Barker.

Our meeting in December is on Friday, 6th December and will feature another old friend of our society. Ken Ellis is a former editor of "Flypast" magazine and aviation author. The subject will be "The De Havilland" story. This should be an evening not to miss! (See the Programme page.)

Alan Powell

A report on our annual Remembrance Parade on Sunday 10th November is available.

Please click here