Remembering the 260 who flew to their deaths from Wratting Common

Guy Devonshire-Aimes, left,  and Kenneth Hamilton, right, who served at RAF Wratting Common Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-203640009
Guy Devonshire-Aimes, left, and Kenneth Hamilton, right, who served at RAF Wratting Common Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-203640009

The Remembrance Day service at Wratting Common may have been smaller than those held in nearby towns, but its poignancy was heightened by the fact that 260 men flew to their deaths from there.

The small gathering at the RAF Wratting Common memorial stone included Guy Devonshire-Aimes and Kenneth Hamilton who served on the bomber airfield.

Remembrance Day Service at RAF Wratting Common. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-204114009

Remembrance Day Service at RAF Wratting Common. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-204114009

Their fallen comrades are listed in a book of remembrance at nearby West Wickham Church.

Cadets from 1451 (Haverhill) Squadron of the Air Training Corps were on parade for the service and joined relatives and service organisations after the service in laying wreaths beside the memorial, which was unveiled in 1989.

RAF Wratting Common, originally known as RAF West Wickham, was operational from 1943 to 1946.

From May to October 1943 it was the home to XC (90) Squadron’s Stirling bombers. Then 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit moved there to train bomber crews until November 1944 when 195 Squadron’s Lancasters moved in.

A cadet from 1451 (Haverhill) Squadron Air Training Corps lays a wreath at RAF Wratting Common on Remembrance Sunday. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-203939009

A cadet from 1451 (Haverhill) Squadron Air Training Corps lays a wreath at RAF Wratting Common on Remembrance Sunday. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-203939009

They stayed until August 1945 when the airfield was taken over by Transport Command until June 1946.

During its time as a bomber airfield, 43 aircraft were lost, of which 34 were the slower, lower flying Stirlings.

The base’s history and roll of honour can be seen at www.wcnhistory.org.uk

The memorial stone at RAF Wratting Common was unveiled in 1989. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-204155009

The memorial stone at RAF Wratting Common was unveiled in 1989. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE ANL-161113-204155009