Today I met a man called Dave Cheetham… he popped over to our house with a painting that he’d acquired back in the 1990s at a RAFA function.
When Dave came around it was clear that he and Tony (my husband) had a great deal in common… having both been officers in the Nottingham police and I was regaled with stories about things that had happened and listened whilst they remembered former colleagues and senior officers with their strengths and foibles.
Dave is an archivist for 7 Squadron and has a wealth of knowledge and information about the squadron and the crews who worked and flew at Oakington back in the dark days of WWII. His mother’s brother was on 7 Squadron, a rear gunner on Lancasters, who lost his life in the war and about whom Dave has done considerable research. He told me that keeping the records for the squadron sometimes seemed like a full time job… but he enjoyed it.
All too soon he had to go… but he remembered that dad was a man who was able to talk ‘quite a lot’ and who was a real character and he’d enjoyed listening to his stories. The last time he saw him was in 2001 at a Squadron dinner in Oxford… sadly, by the following year dad died in June.
However, the painting is a detailed and atmospheric piece and clearly depicts the man’s former plane, MG-L, at Oakington, the home of 7 Squadron. It was painted by Geoff How on 1 Nov 1997.
The reverse shows the various signatures of Bill Goodman (dad), Charles Lofthouse, Fred Wills and another that I couldn’t decipher. Perhaps someone reading this will know and recognise the signature!! Do get in touch if you feel you know.