After lunch with the prime minister, tea at the Town Hall - Bomber Command veterans recognised by Barkingside councillors
PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 April 2013
After finally being honoured at the national level, two Second World War veterans who flew in the RAF’s Bomber Command were recognised in Redbridge yesterday too.
Maurice Conway, of Cranbrook Road, and Leslie Temple, of Beehive Lane, both 88, were guests of prime minister David Cameron last month, when they also received clasps recognising Bomber Command.
And following their trip to Downing Street, the two men, who flew perilously dangerous sorties over occupied Europe during the Second World War, met their Barkingside councillors at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford.
The friends were guests of Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince and his ward colleagues Cllr Ashley Kissin and Cllr Tania Solomon for a tour of the town hall and tea.
The bomber squadrons carried out raids across Germany to halt the country’s industrial production, but their role has been the subject of historical debate ever since because of the targeting of heavily-populated cities.
And while other sections of the armed forces were recognised immediately after the global conflict in 1945, those in Bomber Command were treated differently.
Cllr Prince said: “I think it’s a great shame it took [successive] governments so long to recognise their contribution.
“We live in a democracy and I have the privilege to be leader of the council and that’s because of their efforts.”
Cllr Kissin added: “They have done a great job for the country. It’s not something I would have liked to have done.”
Mr Conway, a flying officer and air gunner in the Canadian 420 squadron, said it had been “fantastic” to meet the prime minister, while Mr Temple, who operated equipment to listen in on enemy transmissions with the 101 Squadron, joked it had not been “as dangerous as flying”.
Mr Conway said: “I met people I hadn’t seen for ages.”
Hetty, Maurice’s wife of 65 years, described the town hall as a “lovely building”.
And regarding the visit to Downing Street, she said: “It’s marvellous really, and about time. It’s taken all these years.”
The clasps awarded to the two men are worn over their 1939-1945 service medals.
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