12th September 2003

Colour code for spoken words

Officiating Chaplain                      -  The Revd Tony Wood, Rural Dean

Association President                   -   Gordon Dyer

Ex-543 Squadron Commander     -   Ron Mudge


We have come today to remember those who served with No. 543 Squadron, in World War II (between Oct 42- Oct 43), and in the post-War period (1955-1974) - especially remembering those who lost their lives in Service. In paying this tribute we remember the skill and courage of those who took part in World War II shipping and U-boat reconnaissance from St.Eval, and those who were based at Benson and Mount Farm and were involved in pre and post-attack reconnaissance of targets in Europe, including the Ruhr dams and the Tirpitz.

We remember:

Robert Luepke                                   - 27th October 1942

Anthony Hill the first squadron CO   - 12th November 1942

Frederick Pritchard                            - 20th November 1942

George Greenwood                            - 14th Feb 1943

Robert Donaldson                              - 26th Feb 1943

Charles Evans                                    - 28th Feb 1943

Herbert Rothwell                                - 3rd July 1943

We also remember those who lost their lives serving with the Squadron in The Cold War as part of the strategic reconnaissance element of the V-force who undertook intelligence and survey photography, and radar reconnaissance around the globe including the Arctic, the South Atlantic (Tristan da Cunha), East Africa, and the Pacific and Far East.

Those of our own colleagues well known to us.  We remember:

Dutch Holland Harry Walsh Roy Norman Ken Smith

          who we lost in Jun 1966

We remember:

 Steve Stevenson John Musson Dick Swain Keith Quinney John Philips John Gibbs

         who we lost in 1973

As we reflect we take this opportunity to remember all those who served their country well through service on 543 and who are now no longer with us.

Let us also extend our thanks and remember those who supported all these 543 colleagues on the ground and in their homes, their families and friends.

HYMN 247

Praise My Soul the King of Heaven

Opening Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God as we gather to dedicate a tree as a lasting memory to all those who served with 543 Squadron, and those who supported them, we give thanks for the deeds and example of those, who have served our nation especially those who died in the cause of justice, freedom and peace whether at home or abroad, in the air, or on land. In their name we dedicate ourselves to the freedom which they guarded. Reverently and gratefully

We will remember them                                                                                                       We will remember them (response)

A reading from Ecclesiasticus Chapter 51

I shall give thanks to you, Lord and King

I shall praise you, God my Saviour

I give you thanks because you have been my protector and my helper. Rescuing me from destruction, from the traps laid by slanderous tongue and from the lips that invent lies.

In the face of my assailants you came to my help; in the fullness of your mercy and honour you rescued me from gnashing teeth waiting to devour me, from hands that threatened my life, from the many troubles I endured.

From the choking fire enveloping me, form the flames I had not kindled,

From the deep recess of the grave, from the foul tongue and lying word.

On every side I was surrounded and there was no one to help; I looked for human aid and there was none.

Then I remembered your mercy, Lord, that you did in days long past; you deliver those who put their trust in you and free them from power of their enemies.

And this is the word of the Lord.


A prayer of thanksgiving

Let us give thanks for the enrichment gained by so many of us from our unique experience both in the air and on the ground. For the many places seen and the strong bonds forged with other people. In particular let us thanks God for the comradeship and fellowship that binds those who have served in the Royal Air Force.

We give thanks for the memories we share, for the support provided by our association one with another and for the help and succour provided by our wives and family and friends

For those serving in the Royal Air Force

Almighty God who makest the clouds thy chariot, and walkest upon the wings of the storm, look in mercy, we beseech thee, upon all who serve in the Royal Air Force. Help them to do their duty with prudence and fearfulness, confident that in life or in death the eternal God is their refuge.


For those who serve upon another shore

O God, we thanks you for the lives of those thy Servants who, having fought a good fight, have finished their course in thy faith and fear and we ask that their courage and example may inspire us to walk the path towards Thy eternal kingdom.


HYMN 244

O God, our help in ages past


Go forth in to the World in peace;

Be of good courage

Hold fast to that which is good;

Render to no man evil,

Strengthen the faint hearted,

Support the weak,

Help the afflicted,

Love and serve the Lord.

And may the joy of the day be yours

The joy of the years ahead be yours

The joy of friends and memories shared be yours

And may the joy of the Father, the joy of the Son and the joy of the Holy Spirit be with you and those you love this day and for ever more.



said at the tree and by all present

We dedicate this tree as a lasting and living memorial to all who served with 543 Squadron.

Let this tree stand here as a symbol of loyalty to the Crown, our Country and our Comrades, and in a perpetual honour of bravery, steadfastness and sacrifice.

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