Clear memories of Czech and Polish aircrew on a grey November …

The strains of three buglers playing the Last Post faded away and the only sound during two minutes of silence was the smattering of raindrops on autumn leaves. Earlier heavy rain cut the attendance at this year s tribute to Czech and Polish aircrew who flew Wellingtons from East Wretham airfield during WW2 and are buried in a corner of St Ethelbert s churchyard but approaching 60 people stood in the damp greyness of a November morning to honour their memory. This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In a ceremony staged by Thetford branch Royal Air Forces Association, the Rector (the Rev Canon Bob Baker) led a short service at the war memorial before Mayor of Thetford Robert Kybird led wreath laying. The parade, with six standards from Royal British Legion, RAFA and ATC then moved to the war graves, where poppy crosses were planted. In his address, Canon Baker recalled those who had and were laying down their lives but urged that prayer should also be offered to diplomats from all countries trying to bring lasting peace in the world.

The last post was sounded by three buglers from Stowmarket Boys Brigade band. Wreathes were laid by representatives from the Czech, Slovak and Polish embassies, Free Czech Air Force, RAF Honington, RAFA, RBL, ATC, Wretham Parish Council and Thetford Town Council. Later in the village hall, RAFA chairman John Macpherson handed engraved tankards to the three representatives of the embassies involved and thanked everyone for their part in the morning.

Flying in from the Czech Republic especially for the ceremony was Pavel Hamberger, whose grandfather is among those buried in the Wretham war graves He placed a wreath on the grave.