Memorial to: Airfields operating around Diddington (including Graveley)
Memorial Location: Church of St Lawrence, Diddington, Cambridgeshire
Installation Date: Not Known
[Courtesy of IBCC Memorial Database Project]
An interesting memorial, commemorating the squadrons and airfields operating in the area around Diddington, Cambridgeshire.
In January 2019, David Dodman provided this information regarding its history:
“It was originally painted by an inmate of Littlehey Prison and they gave it to the Priory Centre, St Neots. When the centre was being refurbished about ten years ago, the Mayor saved the painting and gave it to me. As I was on the Diddington Village Hall Committee, I loaned it to the Hall where it hung for several years. When I stepped down from the Committee, the PCC agreed that it could be hung in the Church at Diddington, as this was close to Diddington Park.
I have also gifted to Diddington Church all my historical documents relating to the village, its involvement in World War II and the repatriation of the Polish people who were unable to return to their homes after the war ended. This history is now in the Church for all to come in and look at if they wish. The Church is open 24 hours per day and the public are very welcome to come in whenever they like. The History display is situated in the North Aisle and we keep tables and chairs close by to make life easy for those coming in”.
Memorial to: Those that served at Graveley Airfield
Memorial Location: Cotton Farm, Graveley, Cambridgeshire
Installation Date: 29th June 1991
The unveiling, which saw the culmination of four years of fund raising and preparation work by the 35 / 635 Squadron Association, was carried out by its patron, Mrs. Ly Bennett.
A short dedication ceremony by Rev Peter Taylor, honorary Padre to the Association.
Veterans at the unveiling, including Ted Herod and Alan Card
Extract from THE MARKER MAGAZINE
Saturday, 29th June 1991 saw the climax of a project begun some four years ago by Dennis Foreman, Honorary Organiser of the 35/635 Squadron Reunion Association — the unveiling and dedication of the Stone to commemorate Graveley Airfield and to honour all those who had served there during the War years.
The granite Stone is faced with dark grey marble on which are engraved the words of commemoration. It is sited at the entrance to the airfield now leading to the present-day farmhouse and the still-standing Control Tower and Radar and Fire Section huts.
It was a beautiful sunny morning and at noon Mrs Ly Bennett, as patron of the 35/635 Reunion Association, removed the RAF Ensign to unveil the Stone which was then dedicated by the Revd Peter Taylor, Honorary Chaplain to the Association. Mrs Bennett said a few welcome words remembering the days when she had visited Graveley with her husband, our “Boss” and recalling the youth of everyone at the time.
The project had not been without its problems which had been surmounted by Dennis, assisted by Arthur Sykes who lives in Offord and who, apart from organising the setting-down of the Stone, had to cope with the District Council in obtaining planning permission with some help from Taff Jones who had a similar task at Warboys.
An appeal for funds had been made and subsequently managed by Bill Stevenson, the entire sum being met by donations from the Association membership, including a generous amount from twenty-six members in Australia and New Zealand.
The Association’s thanks were also due to the owner of the land, Mr Eayres, to the manager of Cotton Farm, Mr Bailey, and to the stonemason, Mr Corbett for advice and help in the design of the Stone.
From the airfield the large gathering moved to the village of Offord where the Chaplain conducted a brief Service during which a leather-bound Roll of Honour was handed over to him for safe keeping on behalf of those who lost their lives both in the air and on the ground while serving at RAF Graveley.
This beautiful Roll, inscribed on parchment, had been produced by Brian Walker and Wilf Bagulay of Nottingham with the assistance of friends who had helped with the binding and production to make a truly effective token of respect.
Long Term Care and Maintenance
In November 2019, the local Parish Council agreed to take over responsibility for the long term care and maintenance of the memorial from the Rev. Peter Taylor, who has been its guardian for many years.