End of an era for air crew

The final meeting of the East Midland Ex Air Crew Association which was held at Sherwood Forest Golf Club on Monday.'The association formed 50 years ago by Ron Brown started life with 150 members but the years have taken a natural toll and membership is now down to just five members.'Pictured are, Seated Ian Linney, Standing from the left are; Jeff Hildreth, Ron Brown, Andre Russell and Tom Calladine.
The final meeting of the East Midland Ex Air Crew Association which was held at Sherwood Forest Golf Club on Monday.'The association formed 50 years ago by Ron Brown started life with 150 members but the years have taken a natural toll and membership is now down to just five members.'Pictured are, Seated Ian Linney, Standing from the left are; Jeff Hildreth, Ron Brown, Andre Russell and Tom Calladine.
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IT IS the end of an era for Mansfield man Ron Brown as the ex-aircrew group he formed more than 50 years ago has been disbanded.

Ron (91), of Berry Hill, served as an engine fitter and flight engineer during the Second World War flying Lancaster bombing missions over Holland, France and Germany.

He formed the East Midlands Ex-Air Crew Association in 1950 as a way of keeping in touch with his former comrades.

Said Ron: “I flew 64 missions - it should have been 68 but we got hit over Cologne and lost an engine and we had to do a wheels-up crash landing at Woodbridge, on the Suffolk coast

“As we all scrambled out of the plan the fuel tank exploded and made us all deaf.”

Speaking about the war in general, Ron said: “It was rather traumatic and you were constantly coming back and seeing empty beds.”

The association used to meet every month at Mansfield Woodhouse’s Blue Boar pub and Sherwood Forest Golf Club and were regular Lancaster Bomber exhibitors at air shows.

Said Ron: “We are down to 25 members now and have lost many due to health and mobility problems.

“Most of us are in our 90s now so it’s just not possible to keep going anymore.”

Father-of-one Ron said he enjoys a game of snooker at his golf club now and hopes to live a bit longer.

Ron has published an autobiography called Per Ardua Ad Astra which tells of his experiences.

It costs £10. Email him at ron4merlins@virginmedia.com for a copy.