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RAF Bridgnorth memorial work to mark anniversary

Bridgnorth | News | Published:

A memorial erected to honour the RAF's role in a Shropshire town is set to be restored – in time for the 50th anniversary of the station's closure this summer.

Corporal Shaun Murphy and Corporal Matt Allen at the memorial

The RAF Bridgnorth memorial plaque stands in the Stanmore Country Park, which was the site of the town's RAF station between 1939 and 1963.

Corporal Shaun Morley and Corporal Matt Allen, instructors at RAF Cosford, have been named custodians of the plaque.

Mr Murphy said it was their aim to ensure restoration work was carried out on the memorial in time for 50th anniversary of the closure of the station, which is due to take place on June 1.

He said: "It's part of an ongoing community relationship commitment between RAF Cosford and Bridgnorth Town Council.

"We assist with general tidying duties and landscaping work around the monument.

"The task has been passed to Corporal Allen and myself during the last couple of months and it's our job to keep it to a decent standard.

"We have been clearing weeds and trimming hedges, but our aim is replace the RAF sign and the Union Flag in time for the 50th anniversary events.

"We are trying to involve local companies, which may be willing to lend materials. We will be contacting local building firms."

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Five decades after the last recruit marched out of its gates, major plans are in the pipeline to mark 50 years since the closure of RAF Bridgnorth. The base at Stanmore attracted up to two million men for national service over its 24 years.

Former 'square-bashers', two of whom include entertainer Des O'Connor and comedian Ronnie Corbett, are being urged to come forward to share their memories about their time spent at the airbase.

A memorial day is being organised by Bridgnorth Town Council and will include a service at St Leonard's Church, a parade and a trip to the former base, which is now the Stanmore Industrial Estate.

The base opened in November 1939 and the first 'married quarters' house was occupied in April 1949.

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On Armistice Day in November 1949, a massed parade of 3,400 men was led by the mayor and in April 1950 the Freedom of the Right of Entry was given to RAF Bridgnorth. Although the station closed on February 8, 1963, the memorial will take place on June 1 to coincide with the National Service RAF Association Parade, at RAF Cosford, the following day.

A memorial service will start proceedings at St Leonard's Church from 2.30pm, followed by a band-led march of veterans down the High Street, where the salute will be taken.

The march will continue to the Bridgnorth war memorial in the castle grounds park where wreaths will be laid.

It is hoped community transport will be laid on to take people up to the former base for a moment's quiet reflection.

For further details contact Bridgnorth Town Council on (01746) 762231.

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