RIBCHESTER war veteran Thomas Dugdale made a flying visit to Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn to hand over a very special framed photo of the treasured Lancaster Bomber he piloted during the Second World War.
Tom, who lives in Dutton Manor, chose to donate the nostalgic photograph after the leading northern brewery supplied a very special reunion with some free beer – with a famous name.
Inscribed on the back of the photo, Tom, who turns 85 in June, writes: "This picture is given to Thwaites Brewery in recognition of their provision of Lancaster Bomber beer for the final dinner of the Manchester Branch of the Bomber Command Association."
He added: "The crates were gratefully received for what was probably the last meeting before the group disbands next month. Donating the lovely picture was the least I felt I could do in return."
The photo of the Lancaster A4E of 'C' Flight, 115 Squadron (Emily) was taken alongside the Control Caravan by the runway at RAF Witchford, near Ely, at sunset on a night raid to Stuttgart in July 1944. It will now be put on display in the brewery museum.
By the time Tom had successfully finished his tour in November 1944, for which he was awarded the DCF, the "lucky" aircraft had completed 90 operations.
The father-of-two, who joined the RAF at 19, trained as a pilot in Pensacola, Florida and got his "lovely golden" American Navy Wings at the age of 21.
After leaving the forces in 1961, he became a flying instructor at the Lancashire Aero Club – the oldest in the country – and was appointed president in 1991. He still goes out flying today with his daughter, but piloted his last flight in 1985 after developing heart trouble.
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Weather for Longridge
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South west