Routes of Remembrance

In July 1942 a Bristol Beaufort AW288 of 86 Squadron, departed RAF Portreath in North Cornwall, bound for RAF Gibraltar and then onto Malta.

Shortly after take-off the aircraft developed difficulties and had to attempt a return to Portreath, sadly it didn’t have the altitude and crashed into Roscroggan Chapel, north of Camborne, tragically killing all four of the crew.

In July 2022 The Veterans Charity attended the crash site memorial and noticed the similarity of the shape of the memorial stone to the north face of the rock of Gibraltar. It was felt fitting to finish the flight started 80 years earlier.

A plan was formulated to create a convoy from RAF Portreath to take the Routes of Remembrance wreath, under the operation name of “Fly to Freedom” (which was the motto of 86 Squadron), to the graves of the crew and the crash site. After this first leg the wreath was to be handed over to RAF St Mawgan for onward transport to RAF Brize Norton for a flight to RAF Gibraltar, in time for the Family Day at the base.

The wreath will then visit memorials and sites on the Rock before being laid to rest on Armistice Day.

Two of the crew, Flt Sgt Atkinson and Pilot Officer Day are laid to rest in St Illogan Church, Illogan, so were visited by the convoy. However, we did not want to forget the other two crew, the two Wireless Operator / Air Gunners. We located their graves; Sgt Taylor was buried in his hometown of Telford and Sgt Twelvetrees lays to rest in Lincolnshire close to Coningsby. The Armed Forces and Veterans and Breakfast Club of Telford (Malinslee) attended the grave of Sgt Taylor and Sgt Twelvetrees was visited by a team from RAF Coningsby so that no one was forgotten.

The vehicle carrying the wreath was an 80-year-old WW2 Jeep, driven by a veteran of the Camborne and Redruth AFVBC, with an escort of outriders and other veterans, with others meeting at the crash site memorial for a short service of reflection.

On completion of the convoy the team finished at the Veterans Charity hub near Hayle and handed it over to Flt Lt Lord of RAF St Mawgan who had arranged a handover to 24 (XXIV) Squadron, Royal Air Force at RAF Brize Norton. The Squadron took the wreath onboard one of their A400M Atlas aircraft that arrived in Gibraltar on the 6th of October ready for the Family Day on the 8th of October.

Later in the month The Veterans Charity will find out if they and their partners have won the Soldiering On Awards 2022 for the “Working Together” category.

Op Fly to Freedom is another example of the teamwork we undertake to keep remembrance “moving”.

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 55 years ago

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