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Air Cadets honour the few at West Malling


(Reproduced with kind permission from Kent Wing)


Over sixty Air Cadets and staff from Kent Wing attended the RAF West Malling Memorial unveiling and dedication Ceremony at the former site of RAF West Malling on Sunday 9 June 2002.

Members of 129 (Tunbridge Wells), 2520 (Tonbridge) and 2374 (Ditton) Squadrons together with the Officer Commanding Kent Wing, Wing Commander Andrew Simpson and other senior Wing staff joined The Lord Lieutenant Mr. Allan Willet CMG, The Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling Cllr. Stephen Cresswell, MP for Tonbridge & Malling Sir John Stanley, and over 500 members of the Royal Air Force Associations, RAF West Malling, serving members of the RAF, RAF, Army and Naval veterans, local dignitaries, and the general public in an act of dedication and remembrance.

Kent Air Cadets aided the West Malling Airfield Memorial Group by assisting with the unveiling of the five memorials. The 129 (Tunbridge Wells) Squadron Band led a march past of Standards, the salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant.

The moving ceremony of dedication was led by the Reverend Donald Bish (RAF Rtd) and the Canon Reverend Brian Stevenson, Vicar of West Malling. After the singing of O God Our Help in Ages Past the unveiling of the four Memorial tablets and a bronze figure of an airman was led by Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Foxley Norris, followed by Air Chief Marshal Sir Lewis Hodges, Group Captain Cunningham, Sir John Stanley and finally Mr. John Loder, ex 29 Squadron RAF West Malling. After the unveiling the Last Post was sounded followed by a minutes silence and the Royal Air Force Hymn.

The memorial also includes two wooden benches, one of which was donated by Kent Wing from funds donated by all 38 Kent Wing Squadrons.

Unfortunately a fly past by Carolyn Grace - Spitfire Mk9 ML407 and the Tiger Club from Headcorn was cancelled due to poor weather.

Wing Commander Andrew Simpson, Officer Commanding Kent Wing said "it was a moving and fitting ceremony to remember those who made sacrifices for this country here in Kent.   It is very important that our young people are aware of the sacrifice that others have made on their behalf and I am very proud that Kent Wing was present and will have a permanent reminder of our thanks and gratitude to all those who served at RAF West Malling"

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