70th anniversary

Tuesday 20th December 2011 marked the 70th Wedding Anniversary of Squadron Leader (Retired) Vernon and Mrs Molly Smith. Vernon was a Station Navigation Officer at RAF Waddington during the Second World War.

To mark this most auspicious of occasions, I made a surprise presentation of a bouquet of flowers and a handwritten letter of congratulations from the Station Commander to the couple. Suffice to say Vernon and Molly, who recently moved into the Fosse House Nursing Home in Lincoln, were overjoyed at having their special day marked in such a manner and were most keen to discuss life at RAF Waddington during the war years.

Vernon, now 92, recounted his wartime experiences which began when he joined the RAF under the Direct Entrant Scheme in 1939. Upon completion of the course he was posted to 144 Sqn where he was a navigator on the Hampden bomber. Vernon then passed the ‘Specialist Navigation Course’ in Canada prior to becoming an instructor on the Hampden. A short posting to Washington ensued during which time he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He met his future wife, Molly, in the Assembly Rooms in Lincoln and they were married in 1941. After commissioning, Vernon was posted to RAF Waddington as the Station Navigation Officer and he recalled many fascinating memories of his time on the Station. At the end of the war, Vernon left the RAF to pursue a career in sales though he retained strong links to the Lincolnshire area and a very strong affinity to the RAF.

From a personal perspective, it was an absolute honour for me to help mark their special day, to say thank you on behalf of the Station and to chat to such a charming and vivacious couple.

By Squadron Leader Rob Gray

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