We are delighted to host this very special event at the UK in Wendover where we’ll be joined by both WWII veterans of the original Squadron AND current serving members of the Squadron of today.
Formed at RAF Mildenhall in August 1943 as part of No.3 Group Bomber Command, 622 Sqn was originally equipped with Stirlings before later converting to Lancasters. In April 1945 the squadron moved to humanitarian duties dropping food to the Dutch (Operation Manna), repatriating POWs (Operation Exodus) and ferrying troops home from Italy on ‘Dodge Operations’. The Squadron was disbanded at Mildenhall on 15 August 1945.
In its current guise, the group was originally formed as 1359 Flight RAF and was attached to a Hercules OCU, based at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire in 1994 for a 3-year trial period. After the success of the trial, its role expanded over the years to provide aircrews to all air transport and
air-to-air refuelling aircraft of the RAF. It moved to RAF Brize Norton in 2011. On 1 October 2012, in recognition of its continued work with the main squadrons, the flight was authorised by the Standing Committee of the RAF to be rebadged as 622 Sqn.
To make an already exciting event even more memorable, we are very proud to launch the new book The ‘Easy’ Boys written by the official Squadron historian to 622 Sqn RAuxAF and XV Sqn RAF – and great friend of the Gallery – Martyn Ford-Jones. There is nobody better placed to tell the story of the squadron than Martyn who has also been associated with Aces High for many years, a regular at events both on and off-site and who has given us much help, support and friendship.
A limited number of copies of Martyn’s book are available to purchase and are perfect to be autographed by our special guests and the author himself.
Our special guests include the following veterans who flew with 622 Squadron during WWII:
Warrant Officer CECIL ‘Chick’ CHANDLER - served as a Flight Engineer with 15 Sqn on Stirlings before transferring to 622 Sqn on Lancasters. He completed a total of 28 Ops.
Warrant Officer WILLIAM GOULD - completing training as a Flight Engineer, he went on to serve with 622 Sqn on Lancasters where he completed a full tour during the winter of 1944/45.
Flight Lieutenant KEN THOMAS DFC - after joining the RAF as a mechanic, he went on to complete Pilot training and served with 622 Sqn flying Stirlings and Lancasters where he completed 30 Ops.
Flight Sergeant BERNARD HARRIS - volunteered for the RAF just before his 18th birthday in 1943 and served as a Rear Gunner on Wellingtons in OTU and Lancasters on conversion with 622 Sqn.
Warrant Officer KEN RIDLEY - spending the early years of the war in the Home Guard, he joined the RAF in 1942 where he qualified as a Bomb Aimer & Front Gunner. With 622 Sqn at Mildenhall from 1943 he flew 34 Ops including air support during the D-Day landings.
…and current serving members of 622 Squadron:
Flight Lieutenant DAVE COOMBS - current Navigator with 622 Sqn, he joined the RAF in 1979 and has also served with 55, 17(F), 101 and 622 Sqns on Victors, Tornado GR1s and VC10s. He has taken part on 330 operational sorties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
Master Aircrew GARY SEWARD - current Air Load Master with 622 Sqn. Having joined the RAF in 1973 he has flown Andovers, the Wessex, Pumas, Hercules C130K, VC10, C17 and Hercules C130J with 115, 28, 72, 33, 10, 101 and 30 Sqns. Significant Ops include Northern Ireland, Iraq during the First Gulf War, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Flight Lieutenant DEREK OLDHAM - current Pilot with 622 Sqn, he is the most senior and longest serving RAF Pilot having joined in 1966. He has 16,400 flying hours on Chipmunks, Jet Provosts, Varsitys, Britannias, Bulldogs and Hercules C130K and J having also served with 24, 30, 47, 57, and 99 Sqns. Significant Ops include Granby and Driver during the First Gulf War.
Flight Lieutenant PETE ASTLE - current Pilot with 622 Sqn, he has over 11,340 flying hours on Varsitys, Nimrods, Jet Provost Mks 3&5, Hercules CMk 1,3,4 & 5, Hawks, Jetstreams, and Bulldogs. Having joined the RAF 1974, he has also served with 120, 30, 24, 57(R), 242 OCU. ULAS and YUAS Sqns. Significant Ops include the Cold War, Falklands 1982, Gulf Wars 1 & 2, Balkan War, Afghanistan and Libya.
Flight Lieutenant JON MYHILL - current Navigator with 622 Sqn, following in the footsteps of his uncle who also served with the squadron. Having joined the RAF in 1984 he has over 6000 flying hours on Jet Provosts, Dominie, Hawks and Hercules with 24, LXX, 47 Sqns and 47SF Flight. Significant Ops include Gulf Wars 1 & 2, famine relief in Somalia, NATO Ops in the Balkans and Macedonia and Afghanistan.
Master Aircrew GERRY MAHER - current Air Load Master with 622 Sqn. He joined the RAF in 1976 and has 11,600 flying hours on the Wessex, CH 47 Chinooks, Sea Kings, Hercules C 130 K and C 130 J, C 17. Serving on 72, 18, 7 Sqns, 6 FTS, 24, 57(R), 47, 24 and 99 Sqns, some significant Ops include Northern Ireland, Corporate in the Falkland Islands, Hyperion in Lebanon, Driver during the First Gulf War, Iraq, famine relief in Somalia and Ethiopia, Angola, NATO Ops in the Balkans and Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq in the Second Gulf War and Libya.
Our guests are happy to sign items for customers and entry is FREE but STRICTLY by ticket only and we are currently taking bookings so please contact us now to reserve your place.