December 10 2013 Latest news:
James Schofield, Reporter
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
An ex-serviceman who was stationed at RAF Hornchurch in the 1950s travelled across the globe to pay a flying visit to his old base and to see old friends - nearly 60 years on.
Peter Holland, a British ex-pat living in Adelaide, Australia, was recently on a trip to the UK and stopped by the former airfield to see the site of where he was stationed 57 years ago.
During his visit, he stayed with former RAF pal David Caddy, of Kenilworth Gardens, Hornchurch, with whom he was stationed.
It was the pair’s first meeting since 1956, when they worked together in air crew selection, putting potential pilots to the test.
The pair fondly reminisced on times gone by as well as having a drink in their old local, The Good Intent, in South End Road.
The pub was popular with aircrews during the airfield’s operation.
Mr Caddy said: “The pub was very close to the airfield, and it was almost impossible to get in back then. It was much smaller in those days.
“We were considered ‘jammy beggars’ – it was rare to be posted in your hometown, and we could be home by four or five on most days!”
Mr Holland was dismayed to find that a memorial stone, laid to commemorate those that served at Hornchurch, had been largely forgotten.
He said: “It took a long time to find it as it is hidden behind a fence and bushes. I would have thought that a memorial like this would have had a more prominent position and would be more accessible to the public.
“It leads me to think that this is a part of history that should be forgotten - I hope I am wrong.”
After the Second World War, RAF Hornchurch became a training centre for pilots and aircrew, before closing for good in 1962.
A 41-year-old man has been stabbed at an address in Harold Hill.