War veteran gives medals to RAF station where he served

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HE WAS one of the many who served on some of the most iconic aircraft that took to the skies during the Second World War.

And Doug Petty has presented a Yorkshire air base with his wartime medals as a lasting tribute to the crews who fought in the conflict. Mr Petty, who lives in York, visited RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire where he was stationed with Canadian 429 (Bison) Squadron during the Second World War.

The former Flight Engineer, who worked on Halifax and Lancaster bombers during the conflict, was “One of the Many”, the name given to the crews of Bomber Command whose bravery and dedication were recognised by the Government this year in awarding a clasp which is worn on the 1939-45 Star medal.

Mr Petty, who served as the second pilot on the bombers, said: “It was always assumed the pilot would be fit on take off, but my job was to land if he was wounded.”

The medals will now be kept at the Historical Training Facility (HTF) which includes displays, information and a library highlighting more than 70 years of service by personnel at RAF Leeming. A large area is given over to recording the events of the Second World War when the base was home to Blenheim fighters even before the airfield officially opened.

Flight Lieutenant Alfie Hall, a friend of Mr Petty who founded the HTF, said: “Doug’s chance of surviving his tour of duty was less than one in three, and the presence of these medals will serve as a constant reminder.”

RAF Leeming was officially opened on June 3, 1940, and is now used to train for, deliver and support the nation’s air operations.