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‘Not forgotten by a friend’ – RAF Marham helps Australian pensioner pay tribute

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Officers from RAF Marham stepped in to help a pensioner in Australia pay a touching tribute to his childhood friend.Tony Marche sent a letter to the West Norfolk airbase all the way from his home in Queensland, asking for help laying some flowers on the grave of Flt Lt Leslie Hawkins and members of his crew.The 89-year-old included £25 to pay for the flowers, writing: “I hope this is enough.”

Memorial service pictures: Ian Burt

Radar navigator Flt Lt Hawkins was tragically killed in May 1964, aged just 30, when the RAF Valiant he was on board crashed and exploded in Lincolnshire.In his letter, Mr Marche said: “Leslie and I were the best of friends and so I have always remembered him.“It would also be lovely if a small article could be put in a local paper saying that the crew has not been forgotten by a friend who now lives in Australia.“I still have a letter I received from Leslie dated 27th January 1964, the year the RAF Valiant crashed at Market Rasen in which he was tragically killed along with fellow crew members.” The other crew members were Flt Lt F.C. Welles, aged 26, Flt Lt G.A. Mills, 28, Flt Lt J.R. Stringer, 37, and Sgt R. Noble, 25.On Monday RAF Marham’s Station Commander, Group Captain Fred Wigglesworth, and current personnel from 207 Squadron took part in a small memorial service at Marham cemetery – placing Mr Marche’s flowers in line with his wishes.

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