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For my family, 2023 was a very strange year! It started on a high note with my mother’s 100th Birthday in March but ended on a low note with her death aged 100 and an injury to my husband’s ankle which meant he was unable to drive and has been hopping about using one leg and crutches for several weeks now. One consequence of these events is that my usual Christmas Newsletter has been delayed and I am writing this on New Year’s Day. I hope everyone had a happy Christmas and that Santa was good to you. On a much happier note: Hugo Trotter (Course 11) who was 100 in May met Anne Hughes again in November (see page 4) and Eric Denham (Course 13) who is 102 wrote to me enclosing some photos which will be in the March 2024 Newsletter.

Many readers will remember that in 2016, I arranged for a new plaque to be installed at the 5BFTS Grove of five birch trees (Five for No 5) at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) to replace the original plaques which were almost unreadable as a consequence of time and the British weather. Adjacent to our grove is a tree and a bench donated by 1BFTS in 2006. The Falcon Field The Next Generation Association which is continuing the work started many years ago by the 4BFTS Association, realised that 4BFTS is not remembered with either a tree or a plaque – this is now being rectified and 5BFTS is helping 4BFTS to achieve this aim. Please see page 4. One of the reasons, Number 5 could help Number 4BFTS is our wonderful archive which told me everything I needed to know about the original dedication of the trees at the NMA. But it is mainly still a paper archive, and this is just one reason why we need to build and maintain the 5BFTS digital archive at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) so that these stories, and the many documents and photographs that have been collected over the years, can be preserved for future generations. People are asking what their grandfathers/great-grandfathers/great-uncles, did during WW2. Thanks to ERAU, if they became a pilot at 5BFTS, their descendants will be able to find out! A Happy and Peaceful

New Year to everyone.



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