Image of Imperial War Museums Logo Image of Historic Duxford title

Duxford is very lucky to have an active veterans association. The ‘Old Dux’ are ex-Duxford personnel of all ranks and trades. They meet twice a year, here at Duxford, and communicate regularly via a newsletter.

I am very pleased to say that the Old Dux have given us permission to put some of their stories here on our blog for everyone to see.  Many of them have been included in the newsletter over the years and I have really enjoyed going through them and picking out some extracts to share. The stories of the men and women who served here are vitally important to Historic Duxford and so it’s only fair they feature on the blog too!

I thought this poem was a good way to start:
Go pin your medals on; be proud they’re yours to wear,
Pull your shoulders back a bit and let the youngsters stare.
They are yours by right of war; by service to the crown.
They are symbols that you did not let your side down.
Wear them proudly on your chest and let all who will deride.
They are yours by right of war, so carry them with pride.

It is not known who wrote this poem but it reminded me how behind every set of medals worn by a veteran is a wealth of stories and experiences. Duxford’s veterans are no exception.

Do you know anyone who served or still serves in the armed forces? What are their war and peacetime stories?

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Brian Lane IWM neg no CH001391

Following on from our last post, this is another, but very different, photograph of Brian Lane. Lane was No. 19 Squadron’s fourth Commanding Officer in less than 12 months. Of his predecessors, one was posted away, one was shot down and made a prisoner of war, and one was killed. Lane was extremely well-liked by his men, and was a very gifted fighter pilot. He wrote a book about his experiences in the Battle, Spitfire!, which was published in 1942.  Tragically, Lane was killed in December that year. He was 25 years old.

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During the Battle of Britain at Fowlmere IWM Neg no CH 001366

This was taken during the Battle of Britain at Fowlmere, Duxford’s satellite station. Walter ‘Farmer’ Lawson (left), Brian ‘Sandy’ Lane (centre) and George ‘Grumpy’ Unwin (right) had all been in heavy combat that day. Lawson and Lane were both killed in combat later in the war, but ‘Grumpy’ Unwin survived.

What do you think was going through Lane’s mind when this photograph was taken? How do you think he feels?

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