Last Saturday, Armed Forces Day, saw the unveiling of a new remembrance memorial at RAF Wing Airfield, which our agriculture team has helped fund. This memorial was created to commemorate the thousands of men and women who’ve flown and served from there, and to remember the airfield’s vital contributions during World War II. We have a direct link with Wing Airfield through our farms – Avara has three farms in close proximity to the airfield and it’s important to us to contribute to the communities in the Wing, Stewkely and Cublington areas.
The airfield has a prestigious military history, having seen over 1,000 aircrew trained there for operational duties during World War two as part of the No.26 Operational Training Unit. The dangerous work of this unit saw significant casualties, with around 200 men and women tragically losing their lives while training. It’s also the location where 33,000 allied ex-prisoners of war, from 21 nations, were repatriated to in 1945, during operation Exodus as the war ended.
Despite its rich history the site has never had a memorial to honour the sacrifices made and the important part the airfield and its personnel played in the war effort. Championed by Stewkley, Wing & Cublington History Group, the fundraising campaign to build one gathered plenty of support, with over 170 people including farmers, local residents and airfield tenants getting involved. The memorial was built earlier this year, from bricks sourced from the original RAF buildings on site, with new engraved plaques referencing mission Exodus and remembering those who lost their lives. It was unveiled this June on Armed Forces Day, to an audience of Armed Forces representatives, local Members of Parliament and residents from the area.
As a local employer and a business with a shared history in the area, understanding the community where we live and work and the issues closest to them is key. When approached about supporting the memorial we knew how important this was to the local people and were happy to get involved. Supporting military history also complements our current day Armed Forces commitment. We signed the Armed Forces Covenant back in 2019, underlying our support for the Armed Forces community.