MP's tribute following death of three stalwarts of borough RAF Association.

  Posted: 04.05.20 at 19:55 by The Editor

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THURROCK’S MP Jackie Doyle-Price has paid a personal tribute to three much-loved and respected of the borough’s ex-service community who have passed away recently.

Over the weekend Thurrock Nub News reported on the deaths of three members of the Thurrock branch of the Royal Air Force Association, whose local HQ is on Southend Road, Grays.

Long-serving member Linda Callander passed away after a long battle with illness just prior to the coronavirus pandemic but Reg Kingham, 89, and Frank Elliott, 95 have recently passed away.

Reg was being cared for in a home in Bedford near his family, but Frank, a D-Day veteran and a holder of the French Légion d'honneur still lived locally.

Frank flew with Bomber Command in the Second World War on special operations. On D-Day his mission was to fly up and down the French coast using anti-radar technology to baffle the German defences as the Allies’ armada approached.

He served on many other missions and was highly decorated for his service. His funeral will take place on Monday, 18 May at Corbets Tey. The cortege will past the RAFA Club where club members will pay tribute.

Sad loss to club. Three much-loved and respected members of Thurrock RAFA, Frank Elliott (centre), Reg Kingham and Linda Callander are pictured with MP Jackie Doyle-Price and RAFA Standard bearer Colin Stevens on a club trip to the RAF National Memorial a

Reg's funeral will also take place on Monday, 18 May.

Ms Doyle-Price is a keen supporter of the services and a welcomed supporter of the RAFA Club. She has joined members of several of their trips to service events, most recently to the Cambridge American Cemetery at Madingley in Cambridgeshire last year for the commemoration of D-Day.

She knew all three of the members who have passed and said: “I am so sorry to hear of the deaths of Linda, Reg and Frank.

“All three were stalwarts of the RAFA club and will be sorely missed.

“One of my pleasures is to join the members in the club bar on a Friday lunchtime. Linda would be there cheerily dishing out local newspapers while the boys all put the world to rights.

“Reg and Frank were both true gentlemen. Reg was quietly dignified and charming and it was lovely to see so many people turnout to his farewell party when he moved to Bedford.

“As we approach VE day later this week and we celebrate being free, we remember the courage and service of men like Frank to whom we owe so much but who modestly got on with their lot. At times like these we should take inspiration from those who went through so much. I am pleased to have known them.”

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