Poet’s national service to be remembered at RAF reunion

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POET Ted Hughes is to be remembered during a reunion at the former RAF base where he did his national service.

Hughes, who was born in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, in 1930, served as a ground wireless mechanic from 1949 to 1952 at RAF Patrington, near Withernsea.

Pupils from Withernsea High School have been invited to select two of the former poet laureate’s poems to be included in a service at the camp on Sunday, June 23.

The original building where he worked, known as WWGCI Happidrome, is still standing in a farm field near the base, which is now a leisure park.

The reunion will also feature a parade and the unveiling of a sculpture being created by pupils at South Holderness Technology College in Preston in honour of the more than 16,000 personnel who passed through the camp between 1942 and 1975.

The sculpture will be blessed by the Bishop of Hull, Richard Frith.

RAF Patrington became a master radar station responsible for the air defence of the United Kingdom and western Europe and played a significant role in the Second World War and the Cold War.

The former camp at Patrington Haven was sold at auction by the MoD in 1985.

It was bought by the Sparkes family and developed into Patrington Haven Caravan and Leisure Park.

Speaking about the memorial sculpture, a spokesman for the leisure park said: “As far as we are aware it is only aircrews that have been recognised and never the ground crews and associated technical crews, so we feel we are honouring those that served on the technical side and those serving as cooks, chefs and admin, the medical centre – they are being given some form of recognition which we feel they really deserve.”

Hughes, who died in 1998, was described as a “prince amongst poets” when he was honoured with a permanent memorial in Westminster Abbey in 2011.

The memorial stone – placed at the foot of the memorial to Hughes’s mentor TS Eliot – includes an extract from his work That Morning, which reads: “So we found the end of our journey, So we stood alive in the river of light, Among the creatures of light, creatures of light.”

To attend the reunion, call Geoff Barry on 01964 562490.