Saturday, April 09, 2005

Hero’s Return

John and Margaret Malkin recently visited RAF Gibraltar as part of a Hero’s Return Programme to commemorate 60 years since the end of the Second World War.

Their visit was partially funded by the British National Lottery.

For the 60th Anniversary of the end of the war around £22million was set aside by the Lottery to send ex-servicemen who had seen action during the war back to where they were based and where they fought.

John was an RAF Warrant Officer based in Gibraltar during the war. He acted as wireless and radar operator as well as air gunner on Ventura aircraft. Having completed his operational training and gunnery school in Egypt, his crew was then posted to Gibraltar to serve with 22 South African Squadron. He flew from Gibraltar between July 1944 and June 1945.

The Ventura’s primary role was to hunt for submarines, but it also carried out strafing runs against shipping and search and rescue for missing aircrew.

John is also a member of the “Goldfish Club”, to qualify for which you need to have had your life saved by an inflatable dinghy. He attained his membership on a training flight in Egypt when during a practice strafing run at 400 feet, his aircraft suffered a double engine failure forcing the pilot to ditch into the sea.

John and Margaret were taken round various sections of RAF Gibraltar including the Air Traffic Control Tower and the MET Office.

They were also treated to an EOD display from the RAF Bomb Disposal Team led by Sergeant Boundford. The tour ended with a trip around Gibraltar to show them how much it had changed over the years.

Related Links:

RAF Gibraltar by Tony Fairbairn

Forces ReUnited - RAF Gibraltar

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