Second World War veterans reunite at Wolverhampton airfield - in video and pictures

Around 100 Second World War RAF veterans turned out to celebrate an annual reunion at an airfield.

Veteran rear gunner Clifford Watson, aged 96, of Cambridge, during an event at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport
Veteran rear gunner Clifford Watson, aged 96, of Cambridge, during an event at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport

Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport, in Bobbington, South Staffordshire, saw reunions of those who served as air crew for the RAF during the Second World War – with some travelling from as far as Dundee.

Organisers Project Propeller helped celebrate part of their twentieth anniversary year as veterans took to the skies and reminisced about their time serving.

Graham Cowie, 47, air operations manager from Project Propeller, said: "Project Propeller is an annual reunion for veterans who served in the Royal Air Force as air crew.

Flying veteran Lancaster gunner John Cuthbert, aged 92, back home, is pilot Ruuben Wells, of Clacton-on-Sea, during an event at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport

"To serve as air crew you had to be a volunteer, they were all volunteers and nobody was forced to fly an aeroplane over Germany or wherever.

"The whole ethos of the project is today's aviators giving back a thank you to their aviating forefathers who flew when the skies were a lot more dangerous than the skies we fly in.

Flying back home WWII veteran Mike Igglesden, aged 94, of Surrey, following an event at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport..

"We got approximately 80 aircrafts in from as far afield as Exeter to Dundee in the north. Those that got here I'm sure have had a memorable day.

"We have had nothing but cooperation from the airfield. From the manager, down to the marshaller's, the firemen and the electrician on site – the cooperation has been absolutely magnificent.

Flying WWII veterans (centre) Mike Igglesden, of Surrey, and (right) William Neilson, aged 94, of Southampton, back home, is pilot (left) Gareth Fearn, of Surrey, following an event at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport

Many veterans were in attendance despite testing weather conditions to watch aircrafts taking off and landing – including a Lancaster bomber.

One of those, RAF veteran David Williams Fraser, 97, from East Sussex, travelled to the West Midlands especially for the event.

People attend an event, for veterans, at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport..

The gunner, who served from 1939 to 1946 and was based at RAF Upavon, was gunned out of the sky in Hamburg on May 10, 1941.

Mr Fraser said: "There is always a chance of meeting old friends. This is my third time at this airfield.

Veterans leave, taken back home in small planes, following an event at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport..

"I joined the RAF at the age of 17 in 1939 before the war. With all my ambition to fly I thought I will get into the service and I became air crew in 1940 as a rear gunner.

"I only did four operations and then I was shot down in Hamburg in 1941 by a Messerschmitt 110. It rendered the hydraulics nil and so I couldn't fire my gun or move my turret – I was locked in with just enough space to get my parachute and bail out.

Veterans leave, taken back home in small planes, following an event at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport..

"I was so incensed at not being able to retaliate. I was really annoyed and angry."

Another veteran visiting the airport, Clifford Watson, of RAF squadron 227 and 150, said it was 'the event of the year'.

Mr Watson and his son John, 66, were flown by pilot Mark Hadley from Peterborough Conington Airfield to Halfpenny Green Airport for the event.

A Lancaster bomber flies past, during an event for veterans, at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport..

The 96-year-old from Cambridge, who served between 1939 and 1946 and did two tours in North Africa, said: "It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. It is the event of the year."

Son John Watson said: "Dad had a stroke last October and it has taken the wind out of his sails really.

"A day out here today has been amazing, made very special by our pilot."

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