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Presentation was recently made of the ‘Bomber Command Clasp’ to Melksham Royal Air Forces Association member, Flt.Lt (Rtd) Des Hawkins. DFC, MID.
Des was born in Warminster, moved to Melksham when he was six. He went to school at Fitzmaurice Grammar School in Bradford-on-Avon. Des joined the RAF in 1941 and after an initial ‘Square Bashing’’ was sent across the pond to No1 Air Observer School in Toronto, Canada to learn navigation, bomb aiming, basic meteorology and morse code.
On returning to the UK, he did his operational training on Wellingtons, followed by two months training on a heavy bomber conversion unit.
In 1943 he was posted to Lancaster Bomber Squadrons, firstly No44 (Rhodesia) Squadron at RAF Waddington, completing 27 operations successfully, mainly over Germany, including Berlin, and a few operations down to Italy.
Then on to 630 Squadron at East Kirby to complete his first ‘Tour’ of 30 operations. The last three missions were all to Burling; finally 625 Squadron, for his second ‘Tour’ between January and May 1945, completing 18 operations successfully on this Squadron.
Des was awarded the DFC and Mentioned in Dispatches and remains proud to be one of Sir Arthur Harris’s “OLD LAGS.”
The presentation took place in the Kings Arms in Melksham on Friday 6th June with Air Vice Marshal Patrick O’Reilly, The Royal Air Forces Association, Area President, making the presentation.
Members of the Branch were present, along with many friends of Des, the presentation was followed by a buffet lunch.