Village memorial to RAF personnel in Warmwell Church

Village memorial to RAF personnel in Warmwell Church

Colin Bell

A village of just 100 people has managed to raise £12,500 towards a permanent memorial to RAF personnel who were based there during the Second World War.
A £22,000 project to install a new stained window at Warmwell church is underway, with the remaining money to be raised at a series of talks and fundraising events planned for the summer.
The installation is to be completed in time for the Armistice Day in November.
Immediately before the war in 1937 an RAF station, RAF Warmwell, was developed on land just north of Warmwell, in what has subsequently become the village of Crossways. During the Battle of Britain it was the base for Spitfire and Hurricane Fighter squadrons, which protected a sector of the south coast that included the important naval port of Portland. Later in the war it was also the base for a wing of USAAF P-38 Fighters. The site was closed in 1946, and there are now few visible signs of the airfield, with the old runways and hangars largely built over or pulled down with the ongoing expansion of Crossways.
In the churchyard are the graves of 24 air and ground crew killed while serving at RAF Warmwell. The graves are now maintained by the War Graves Commission.
The village, with an adult population of about 100, wanted to commemorate this history – of the personnel and the place, with a memorial window in the church – formerly the Garrison church for the base.
Talks and donations from individuals and charities has raised about £12,500 towards the window, which will be made by Andrew Johnson, a stained glass window expert from Exeter who has undertaken a number of prestigious religious and secular commissions. His design is currently on display in the church.
The first fundraiser is a talk is being given by two Second World War veterans – Flt Lt Colin Bell DFC, (aged 103) a Mosquito pilot in Bomber Command, and Flt Lt Desmond Curtis DFC aged 99, a Mosquito Navigator in Coastal Command.
Tickets are already sold out, but to add your name to the waiting list and for more information, please contact either David Walsh (07770 343441 or davidpwalsh or Gerry Gerrard (01305 852320 or ggerrard99

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