LETTER: Fitting tribute

I WRITE in support of Mike Jupp and others who wish to commemorate and create a lasting memorial for the Bognor Advanced Landing Ground.

If this landing ground was the most active during that crucial period of the second world war then its place in our local history should be acknowledged and a fitting memorial established.

Having been a senior NCO in the Air Training Corps in the fifties and in the seventies the auxiliary protestant chaplain to the Third American Air Force, I was privileged to be the free church minister in Epping and North Weald.

From 1982 to 1992, on Remembrance Sunday, I led the prayers at the entrance to the North Weald aerodrome, which formerly had been a crucial fighter station and because of the significant contribution the Norwegian squadrons played, the attache from the Norwegian embassy would attend.

We remembered the fallen there, outside the entrance.

Afterwards, the assembled people, including other guests, departed to the parish church for a full remembrance service.

In those days, back in the eighties, the entrance to the North Weald airfield was but a roadway surrounded by a grassy bank and some waste land and nothing more so in the last 20 or so years a more fitting entrance and memorial has been erected.

Locally, we have the opportunity to erect more than just a memorial and a museum with the latest technology would be a most fitting tribute.

Locally, when I heard of the Bognor Advanced Landing Ground and that Norwegian squadrons were involved I was able to make contact with Bob Morton at North Weald who was in the process of writing a history of that airfield.

He had kept contact with the Norwegian embassy and the Norwegian major general who had shown an interest in North Weald and other places where the Norwegian Air Force served.

By chance, Bob Morton was due to holiday in Bognor and I made arrangements with Sylvia Endacott, who was in the process of writing her book on the Bognor Advanced Landing Ground that we should meet at her house.

Bob was able to supply a lot of information about the Norwegian squadrons and pass on some contact details concerning Norwegian personnel which helped Sylvia complete her book.

I hope locally that we shall respond to the opportunity that we have of acknowledging our aviation history and the sacrifices that were made on our behalf.

The Rev Frank Jones

Chalcraft Lane

North Bersted