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Letter: 'My dad was among the 'madmen' in the Wellingtons'

PUBLISHED: 16:50 05 February 2019

An overhead view of an RAF Bomber Command Vickers Wellington bomber in flight. Picture: PUBLIC DOMAIN

An overhead view of an RAF Bomber Command Vickers Wellington bomber in flight. Picture: PUBLIC DOMAIN

Archant

I saw with disgust the result of the paint-throwing morons at the bomber memorial in Green Park, London.

My dad was personified in one of those figures. He took part in 71 operations, mostly in the Barnes Wallis wooden wonder, the Wellington.

He saw the better part of two squadrons shot down from around him whilst he served with 75 New Zealand Squadron flying out Feltwell and then various other East Anglian airfields.

I could never get a serious word out of him as regards the Second World War, but the amusing stories from him where unbelievable concerning the ‘madmen’ in Wellingtons!

On the night of my birth mum had no idea where he was and had not seen him for a week or more, She turned on the radio and found that he was over Essen. I came a little early.

Last year I was lucky enough to be chairman of North Norfolk District Council and stayed at the naval club adjacent to Green Park, and so visited the memorial. Within seconds I was reduced to tears.

To see those young airmen gazing up in all their flying gear was a tremendously moving experience,and to think that dad was one of them was altogether too much. We have so much to be thankful for, Just remember 53,000 of them died to free Europe!

In 2004 dad passed away. Since his flying service he had permanently suffered from tinnitus and claustrophobia but he rarely complained, and the whole town of Sheringham mourned the passing of ‘Shep’.

His medals including his DFC were on his coffin. There is a road called Shepherd Close named after him and he and the others should never be forgotten. Love you dad.

From me and brother Derek for our free lives.

RICHARD SHEPHERD

Waterbank Road

Sheringham

-Do you have a family memory you would like to share? Email nnn.letters@archant.co.uk

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