At the National Air Force Museum of Canada, Trenton, Ontario, a Dedication Ceremony was held for our Squadron Monument honouring all who have served, and are currently serving with 400 Squadron R.C.A.F.
This monument was the idea of Col G.M. (George) Georgas when he was President of the 110 Squadron Society Fund. It took many years (1999 to 2011) of planning to settle on the design, wording, location, content and production. Carl Mills did a tremendous amount of work, fully researching and documenting those shown on the Honour Roll .
The 400 Squadron Historical Society, which has replaced the 110 Squadron Society Fund, undertook the planning and organization for the Dedication Ceremony. The ceremony was arranged under the leadership of President Gerry Gilroy. Barry Stewart and CWO John Quilty assisted by Bill Bishop who prepared and coordinated the invitations; produced the souvenir program and organized the reception at 404 Wing RCAFA. Carl Mills wrote the 400 Squadron Mini History document which was handed out at the reception along with a photo quality poster of the squadron aircraft. Carl also spent numerous hours on the phone tracking down family members of the Honour Roll and of past Commanding Officers.
On March 28th, 2012, invitations were sent by email to all addresses we had for 400 and 411 Squadron Members and family members of those on the Honour Roll. Gerry Gilroy sent invitations by snail mail to those he knew did not have computers. Everything on the invitation was correct except for the year. (We had to make one mistake just to prove we're not perfect)
A registration form on our PropWash News Centred received 140 positive responses, many from the families of those on the honour roll.
As we were about to send out our final confirmation email, we were made aware the Highway of Heroes Motorcycle Ride, would start at 1100 at CFB Trenton, follow the Highway of Heroes route and pass right by the Air Park on its way to the 401 to Toronto. We expected a fair amount of noise and some traffic congestion until the end of the motorcycle ride. An organizer of the ride suggested the motorcycle stream may last 2 hours.
An email was sent late in May to all registered participants advising them of this and that the ride would be dispatched 25 riders every minute which should allow other traffic to use RCAF Road. It was suggested prudent guests and participants allow themselves extra time to arrive at the Museum.
The revised schedule for the Monument Dedication Ceremony was:
Registration table to be staffed from 10:30 to 12:30 hours
Ceremony to commence at 12:45 hours
Reception and buffet at 413 Wing to commence at 14:00 hours
While this last minute 'hiccup' caused us some concern, everything worked out just fine. The ride ended just before our ceremony started as did the rain showers which were prevalent during the early morning. Many guests did arrive early and took the opportunity to tour the Museum and stand by the road to support the ride. The last of the Highway of Heroes Ride participants passed by the museum about 12:20 and the sun came out, along with a huge sigh of relief from the organizers.
VIDEOS OF THE COMPLETE CEREMONY
Many thank to Bill Bishop's grandson, Stephan Bishop-Lambert for taking the video, without the aid of a tripod ... oh his aching arms. The wind noise during certain parts of the audio track were unable to be removed and we apologize for its interference.
Message from Mrs. Grace Alexander Sparrow.
The following is a brief message from Mrs. Grace Alexander Sparrow, widow of Honour Roll member F/L Orlin Ronald (Jake) Alexander who was a pilot.
F/L Alexander was killed when his Mosquito aircraft (MM277) endeavoured to overshoot after the initial approach to land and crashed on the airfield at RAF Station Odiham, Hampshire, England. P/O Cosoff (navigator) and an RAF member of the groundcrew, on the ground, were also killed.