Association Review 2008

It would seem that for the past couple of years January has brought nothing but bad news regarding veterans of the Squadron and January of 2008 proved to be no different. First we were informed of the death of former 198 pilot Byron Lumsden (NZ) on the 24th only to receive news a few days later that Raymond "Cheval" Lallemant (Belg), who also served as a pilot with the Squadron, had died and that the Belgium authorities were arranging a full military funeral for him on the 5th of February.

During March and April two limited edition books were produced by the "Association". The first, containing many rare and previousely unpublished photographs, was Tony Hallett's "Flying Memories" which traces his wartime RAF career from the time he signed up and until he left 198 in November 1944. The second book was "198 Squadron RAF - The Photographs, 1942 to 1945". Containing well over two hundred photographs, many again previousely unpublished, it also contained a Squadron history and a list of those who had given their lives while in its service. (Several copies were autographed by Squadron veterans for presentation purposes.)

Also in March we heard further from David Walker who had contacted us last year with a photo of Denis Sweeting's TP.A - MN951, "The Uninvited". David had produced an accurate looking model of Denis's aircraft based on this photograph and sent us others showing his model of it.

On the 13th March we received from Michel Rainfroy in France newspaper cuttings, photographs, and documentation regarding the continuing search for the remains of Flt/Sgt Francois Bonnet, Free French, who had been shot and killed while serving with 198 during August 1944. (See "History - Remembered" and "Notes - 198 Notes")

For some unknown reason the Association received several unsolicited holiday leaflets and other bits and pieces during April and May, most notable was a silver medallion marking the 90th Anniversary year of the Royal Air Force.

An enquiry regarding Flt/Sgt Ronald Frederick Broad RAFVR was received during May from Northern Ireland. Flt/Sgt Broad was killed on the 20th September 1943 while serving with the Squadron but outside of entries regarding him in 198's Operations Record Book (ORB) we had little to offer in the way of first hand information as the Association is not aware of any surviving veterans who were serving with the Squadron at the time.

An hour long recorded interview with 198's Arthur Bryant took place on the 15th May in which he recalled his war-time RAF service and the dangers of attacking ground targets with rocket firing Hawker Typhoons which often resulted in the Squadron losing pilots to anti aircraft fire.

Author Stephen Darlow wrote to us on the 5th June requesting information on Sqn/Ldr Idwal James Davies DFC who had been killed while Commanding Officer of 198 Squadron on the 22nd June 1944. Enquiries were made of several surviving veterans and information already held on Sqn/Ldr Davies was duly passed on to Mr Darlow.

On the 18th of June a previousely unknown photograph showing 198 Squadron RAF pilots at B.77 Gilze-Rijen during January 1945 was discovered and archived for later use.

Following contact with the Aircrew Remembrance Society on the 20th June they kindly sent us a good quality photograph of Flt/Lt Robert Deugo RCAF who had been killed on the 23rd July 1943 while serving with 198. The photograph was most welcomed, especially in view of the fact that the one we had prior to this was of poor quality.

On the 29th June 198's website editor, John, and his wife, Jan, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

It was saddening to hear that Tony Hallet's wife, Barbara, had died on the 30th June, especially as only a couple of months earlier Tony and Barbara had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Although Barbara had not been in the best of health for some time whenever the occasion arose to speak to her she was always most pleasant and engaging. Our deepest sympathies were sent to Tony and his family

Although not due until the 20th August this website's hosting was renewed on the 26th July. As seems to be the case with most things these days that it had gone up by a exceedingly large amount (50 percent) which if continued next year will probably mean trying to find less expensive hosting elsewhere.

On the 1st of August hosting matters were once again to the fore when it was notified that the two satellite websites built as spin-offs to this one were to be discontinued due to changes in their hosting facilities. As they are not strictly relevant to 198, and placements for their content have already been found, this will cause little in the way of problems although it will be rather sad to see them go, having been on the web for over six years

From France we received a newspaper cutting from Bertrand Goucovitch on the 5th of August regarding a Remembrance Ceremony for 198's P/O Donald Mason RAAF that had taken place at Boulon during June 2008. A photograph with the item appears to show a propellor blade that had been later recovered from the wreckage of P/O Mason's Hawker Typhoon aircraft.

Contact with Belgian author Peter Celis during September regarding his anticipated book "Runways To Victory Part 2" leads us to believe that publication has now been put back to around the end of 2009.

Sadly we heard on the 9th October that F/O James Arthur MacDonald's RCAF oldest brother, Donald, had died in Canada during August this year at the age of ninety four.

Shortly after Remembrance Sunday we received a photograph of 198's Gerald Coleshill attending a local memorial service near his home town in the company of local Air Training Corps (ATC) members.

198's Operations Record Book (ORB) claims that on the 1st July 1945 Edward Kirk RAAF was "posted back to his native Australia" but following correspondence in December with Edward it would appear that he was posted to 451 Squadron RAAF for the occupation of Berlin, and not sent home as the ORB seems to state.

In mid November a decision was made to revamp the "Association's" website. This was started at the end of December.

The Association of 198 Squadron RAF
January 2009