Historic anniversary to be marked

TALKS are under way to mark the 50th anniversary of one of the most important events in Felixstowe's history.Next year it will be half a century since the RAF were given the Freedom of Felixstowe - the right to march through the town with bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and bands playing.

TALKS are under way to mark the 50th anniversary of one of the most important events in Felixstowe's history.

Next year it will be half a century since the RAF were given the Freedom of Felixstowe - the right to march through the town with bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and bands playing.

To mark the 50 years, it is hoped the RAF will once again exercise their right as part of a day of special events.

“The RAF have such an important part in the history of Felixstowe and the town council wants to make sure the anniversary is commemorated in the most appropriate way,” said town clerk Susan Robinson.


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“We have only just started preliminary talks on what the celebrations should involve but we are all very excited and looking forward to the occasion.”

The force's long association with the town was marked this week with a special presentation of a framed copy of the Felixstowe Story, giving a history of the RAF's connections with the resort, which stretch back to 1913.

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Mayor Joan Sennington received the framed story from Pamela Meichan on behalf of the Suffolk branch of the RAF Regiment Association, in memory of Mrs Meichan's husband John and George Laing, who were both founder members of the association 21 years ago.

Mrs Sennington said the story would hang in the Town Hall on display.

“This is part of the continuing story of our links with the RAF and will add to the history that we have and which we will celebrate next year,” she said.

The mayor's chain is the only one in Britain to contain the badge of the RAF.

Do you have memories of being involved with RAF Felixstowe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: RAF Felixstowe

Felixstowe was commissioned as a seaplanes base in 1913 and during the first world war aircraft from the base patrolled the coast from Southwold to Clacton looking for German U-Boats and by the end of the war was the largest station in the world.

In 1924 the base - which was where the port now stands - took on a new role as the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment.

During the following years more than 250 types of seaplane and flying boat - military and civilian aircraft - and others were tested and designed at Felixstowe.

The base was responsible for inventing the technology which led to the development of Concorde and also the space shuttle.

Those who served at RAF Felixstowe included Flying Officer Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, and Aircraftsman 1st Class TE Shaw, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

The station's special high-speed flight also won the world famous Schneider Trophy for Britain three times in a row.

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