Avro Lancaster bomber (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight)

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Blue Plaque for Dam Busters in Chepstow

On Thursday 17th May 2018, Chepstow Town Council will be hosting a ceremony to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force and the 75th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid.

Flight Sargent Bill Townsend, pilot of Avro Lancaster bomber “O for Orange” in the WWII Dambusters raid, grew up in Chepstow and attended Monmouth School from 1932 to 1940 where he served as a prefect and monitor.

Flight Sargent Bill Townsend, later promoted to Flight Lieutenant, led the final wave of six Lancaster Bombers on the dams of the Ruhr Valley in Germany. His aircraft was one of the last of the three formations on the epic six hour raid and the last to leave the dams area. For his part, he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal and Distinguished Flying Medal in recognition of his wartime accomplishments.

Following the war Bill led a quiet live and settled in Bromsgrove with his wife, Eileen, and their children. At one point he and his wife owned a pub, but he later worked as a civil servant, including a spell in the Department of Employment in Bromsgrove until he passed away in 1991.

To mark the 75th Anniversary of the raid a Blue Plaque will be unveiled in his honour at his former home in Hardwick Avenue at 6.15pm, followed by a fly-past by a Lancaster Bomber timed for 6.40pm.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

The plaque has been designed made and donated by one of the the town councillors for the ward which includes Hardwick Avenue, Ned Heywood MBE. Ned, a past mayor of Chepstow, is a Potter with a workshop in Chepstow who professionally produces ceramic blue plaques for many organisations including the Corporation of the City of London and English Heritage.


14 May 2018