The 35 / 635 Squadron Association was formed in the early 1980s when a number of ground crew who had left No. 35 Squadron (as part of “B” Flight) in March 1944 to form the nucleus of No. 635 Squadron, decided to try to track down their colleagues who had remained with No. 35 Squadron at the time.
At the first meeting (held at Hendon Air Museum), air crew and ground crew of all ranks turned up and the 35 / 635 Association was born.
Throughout the 1980s, reunions were held at Cosford and Birmingham Airport but in 1988 it was decided to change the venue to Offord Cluny (Cambridgeshire) as this was close to the old airfield at RAF Graveley.
The annual reunion, which was held at the Community Hall, included a service of remembrance at the nearby All Saints Church.
All Saints Church, Offord Cluny
A Quarterly Magazine entitled Glimlamp was produced to keep members up to date with all the latest news
Extract from “Glim Lamp” (Note: Glim Lamps were runway marker lights)
As time progressed, the Association turned its attention to finding ways of leaving lasting memorials to all those that served with the squadrons.
The first of these memorials, a marker stone at the old airfield at Graveley, was unveiled on 29th June 1991.
The Rev. Peter Taylor, Honorary Padre to the Association, at the dedication ceremony
At the 1993 reunion, the membership saw the results of the research project that had drawn together the names of the No. 35 Squadron airmen that had lost their lives between 1942 and 1945.
Their names had been beautifully enscribed into a leather bound Roll of Honour which was placed in All Saints Church.
In 1999, the names of all those that lost their lives between 1939 and 1942 were added and the book was rebound and housed in a purpose built wooden cabinet.
An extract from the Roll of Honour
In 1997, the Association embarked on its most ambitious project which was the installation of a commemorative stained glass window at All Saints Church.
After lengthy discussions on an acceptable design, the window was finally commissioned, with the £5500 cost being met from donations made by Association members and other families associated with the two squadrons.
The artist, Gordon Monaghan, completed the work and the window was installed and unveiled on 15th November 1998.
The central window depicts the RAF eagle along with the badge of No. 35 Squadron. It includes a dove of peace above a Handley Page Halifax and an inscription which reads:
“Remember before God all those airmen and airwomen who served with 35 Squadron RAF Graveley 1939 – 1945”
The windows on either side of the central window depict the local parishes of Offord Darcy and Offord Cluny.
The flames that run across the bottom of the window represent the flames of the FIDO system, which was utilised at RAF Graveley to enable take off and landing in foggy conditions.
With the window in place, the Association contacted the RAF to see if it would agree to No. 35 Squadron’s standard being taken from RAF Cranwell and “laid up” at the church alongside the window and the roll of honour.
The request was granted and on 26th June 1999 a laying up ceremony was held and the standard was placed in the care of the church “for safe keeping and to hang in perpetuity”
The squadron standard
The memorial window, along with the wooden cabinet holding the roll of honour; the standard hangs overhead
In 2002, the Association started out on what turned out to be their last project which was to plant trees in the Royal Air Force Wing at the National Memorial Arboretum (Staffordshire).
Two trees were planted (one for 35 Squadron, the other for 635 Squadron) at a dedication ceremony on 12th September 2002 and commemorative plaques were installed.
With dwindling membership, the Association disbanded in 2003; its last reunion on 28th June 2003 was marked by an Avro Lancaster flypast.
It is believed that the Lancaster was flown by David Thomas (who had served with No. 35 Squadron); David was a BBMF pilot and a Vulcan Display pilot)
This page was compiled with the help of the Reverend Peter Taylor, who was Honorary Padre of the Association