Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C


Woodbridge/Ipswich: Quest to reunite RAF 152 Squadron members yields latest discovery

09:55 17 January 2014

RAF veteran Douglas Chaplin and squadron researcher Rob Rooker.

RAF veteran Douglas Chaplin and squadron researcher Rob Rooker.


An eighteen year quest to reunite RAF squadron members from across the world has yielded its latest discovery - at an east Suffolk retirement home.

RAF veteran Douglas Chaplin pictured in March 1946 on the last Spitfire flown by 152 Squadron.RAF veteran Douglas Chaplin pictured in March 1946 on the last Spitfire flown by 152 Squadron.

RAF veteran Douglas Chaplin read about the efforts to locate members of his former 152 (Hyderbad) Squadron in the Ipswich Star recently when he recognised the distinctive black panther emblem pictured on the side of a Spitfire.

The 89-year-old veteran contacted Rob Rooker, the Ipswich security worker who has spent years researching 152 squadron and the two arranged to meet in Woodbridge last week, near Mr Chaplin’s home.

Mr Chaplin said he enjoyed looking at Mr Rooker’s squadron scrapbooks and reminiscing about his time posted in the Far East during the Second World War when he was an engine fitter 2E.

“We were a happy squadron,” he said. “I would like to have spent more time with them - I loved working with Spitfires and Rolls Royce engines were a pleasure to work on. I had three great mates and we used to enjoy ourselves the best we could.”

Mr Chaplin left the RAF in 1947 after time in Malaya and Burma and took a job with an engineering firm in Suffolk.

Although his friends from the squadron are sadly too frail for reunions, Mr Chaplin has praised Mr Rooker’s efforts in bringing together so many other 152 veterans.

“I think he has done a wonderful job reuniting people from all over the world,” he said.

Mr Rooker also welcomed the chance to meet another of the veterans he has spent so much time researching.

“It’s always nice to hear their stories,” he said


Groups of ‘thugs’ went on a destructive rampage on Norwich Road in Ipswich at the weekend - kicking down garden walls, smashing bins and leaving the area looking ‘like a bomb site’.

Couples seeking help in conceiving are invited to an open day at Ipswich Hospital to meet fertility experts.

Volunteer teachers are working to transform the lives of migrants and refugees in the most deprived areas of Ipswich as part of a newly established charity.

There is slow traffic on the A12 in Suffolk this afternoon because of a broken down vehicle.

How well do you really know Ipswich?

Previously two schools, Northgate High School is currently the largest high school in Ipswich with 1,700 pupils on roll.

A man in a black T-shirt with white writing on who spoke to Corrie McKeague in Pizza Mama Mia, Bury St Edmunds, on the morning he disappeared has now been traced and spoken to.

With a love for cuddles and having their tummies tickled it seems unlikely these furry friends could be evil omens or harbingers of doom.

A former angling club secretary appeared in court yesterday charged with dishonestly abusing his position to make personal financial gains of more than £10,000.

Lucky groups of youngsters are being treated to an adventure up the River Orwell and Stour estuaries - learning about the wildlife on Suffolk’s coastlines on board a sailing boat.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24