More than 300 people attended a recent celebration event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Eagle Squadrons.
Made up of three RAF fighter squadrons and American volunteer pilots during World War Two, the Eagle Squadrons were celebrated at the Lincolnshire-based event, which saw the unveiling of a memorial provided by the Co-operative Funeralcare’s monumental masonry division.
The 45 inch high memorial is inscribed with the names of 10 American personnel, who died flying from Kirton, in honour of their service.
Though the squadrons flew from other bases, RAF Kirton in Lindsey is the only base from which all squadrons flew. The granite memorial marks 70 years since the three squadrons were transferred from the RAF to the USAAF, where they are still in existence today, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.
As part of the celebrations a Spitfire flew past on three occasions to commemorate each squadron. The Mayor of Kirton in Lindsey, Councillor Billy Boyd; RAF Scampton station commander, wing commander Richard Turner; wing commander Steve Blockley, officer commanding at No 1 Air Control Centre; and Phil Bonner from Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire attended the ceremony, along with representatives for the American Ambassador and Canadian Embassy and American personnel from Lakenheath Air Base.
Manager of the Co-operative Funeralcare in Scunthorpe Malcolm Angel said: “We recognise the bravery and sacrifices made by all of our armed forces and those of our allies. It is with this in mind that we were honoured to be involved in the production of the memorial to commemorate the sacrifices made by the Americans who flew for the RAF during the Second World War.
“It has been a privilege to work in partnership with Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire, Mayor Councillor Billy Boyd and the Council at Kirton in Lindsey on such a valued project.
“The memorial will be a permanent reminder to future generations of the Eagle Squadrons’ contribution and the heritage and history associated with the bases at Kirton in Lindsey, as well as Lincolnshire as a whole.”
Image: (L-R) Co-operative Funeralcare regional manager Brian Taylor; manager Malcolm Angel; and Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire’s Phil Bonner.