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Memorial Tower Project
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Memorial Tower Project Record.

The Aircrew Remembrance Society is launching a campaign to save The Finmere Control Tower. It will involve the creation of a new society to attract as many supporters as possible. It is feared that the tower may soon disappear from the airfield skyline, as plans to develop the airfield are now in progress. It will be a big project that will take a lot to achieve through many stages, but in can be done with enough support. Please join us to pledge your support now. There will more details regarding research into the site already under taken on our Facebook page, with news updates on future development plans for the preservation of the tower, as a lasting memorial to all those aircrews lost during training from O.T.U. Groups 6, 7, 91, 92, and 93 in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties, as well as H.C.U.’s, L.F.S.’s and all other training units in other parts of the country. Detail of future plans to incorporate a heritage learning centre, museum, archive record centre and memorial garden will follow.

David King - Chairman and Historian. (Archivist Allied Section)

Alexander D King - Webmaster and Historian. (Society Collection Archivist)
Melvin R Brownless - Vice Chairman and Historian. (Archivist Luftwaffe Section)

Please sign our Petition to save Finmere Watch Tower
Here.

Facebook page can be found
Here.

18th October 2019 (Tower Update)


Most recent letter to Lone Star Land developers and their reply -

Email sent to Loan Star Land 10th July 2019 at 10:39

Finmere Airfield Control Tower Preservation.

Dear Andy,

You may recall that at the beginning of last year I wrote to you explaining our interest in preserving the Finmere airfield Control Tower.

On 21st February 2018 you were kind enough to reply with the following.

“David, thank you for making contact and for taking the time to explain the background and context to your interest. It makes fascinating reading and is something that should very much not be forgotten. Whilst we are at an early stage, we will do what we can to remember the relevance and importance of this email and to ensure that we continue our dialogue at the appropriate time.”

Nearly eighteen months have now passed during which time we have set up a group to support the preservation of the tower. We now have 159 members and over 400 people have signed a petition we have set up to save the Tower.

We are now at the stage where we feel we have enough support to move forward with this project and will be setting up a trust fund and charity, to raise money with the aim to purchase the tower building and an area of ground around it, plus additional funds for the towers restoration and preservation.

I wonder therefore if you could assist us with any of the following details that would be most helpful to us at this stage. Firstly, how does the tower currently fit into your current development plans? For instance is it in the general area you are planning development for, and if so are there plans for the ground it stands on to be developed, with the view to the tower being demolished?

As I am sure you are aware the tower itself is in close proximity to a large radio mast, (We assume this area must be leased to someone?) and therefor unlikely to be an ideal area to erect a new dwelling, we would therefore be interested to know if the tower area would be somewhat outside your development plans, and may be a separate plot available for purchase? If so it would be most helpful if you could give us some sort of ballpark figure relating to the current cost of a plot of land, such as that the tower stands on, to help us in establishing a feasible estimate that such a purchase would demand for this initial part of the project, and if such a purchase would be feasible at this stage? Also does the close proximity of the mast have any bearing on the suitability and value of the land the tower is on?

We fully appreciate there may be a conflict of interest in our proposal and the sites overall development, and would therefor like to work in unison with you, as we feel both our interest could work in favour of each other, and that our preservation of an historic building and its part in history, along with your new development for the future should go hand in hand.

Any other details relating to your progress with the site development plans would of course be of interest to us. Many thanks again for your support in this matter, best regards,

David. (David King, Chairman, Aircrew Remembrance Society)

Reply from Lone Star Land Ltd. 10th July at 13:28

David, good afternoon.

Your original correspondence has not been lost or forgotten about but formulating plans like this, can and indeed does take an eternity. Unfortunately Planning works in geological timescales!

Rest assured we understand and do appreciate your interest in the preservation of the Control Tower and this is not lost on us. We view the site’s heritage as being very important and our work will seek to reflect this and your input will be requested at the appropriate time - please bare with us for the time being. How the heritage angle comes out in the plans, only time will tell, but we will happily share and consult with you as and when we have something tangible to look at.

Please do keep in touch as these things always take longer than we all would like, but do sleep easy in that we understand and appreciate your concerns.

We will be in touch in due course. Many thanks & kind regards

Andrew Wilkins

Managing Director

Lone Star Land Ltd

You will see in this reply that although the developers appear to still be favourable and considerate, that none of the 8 questions I had asked were addressed.

((1) How does the tower currently fit into your current development plans?)

((2) For instance is it in the general area you are planning development for, and if so are there plans for the ground it stands on to be developed, with the view to the tower being demolished?)

((3) As I am sure you are aware the tower itself is in close proximity to a large radio mast, (We assume this area must be leased to someone?)

((4) and therefor unlikely to be an ideal area to erect a new dwelling?)

((6) we would therefore be interested to know if the tower area would be somewhat outside your development plans, and may be a separate plot available for purchase? )

((7) If so it would be most helpful if you could give us some sort of ballpark figure relating to the current cost of a plot of land, such as that the tower stands on, to help us in establishing a feasible estimate that such a purchase would demand for this initial part of the project, and if such a purchase would be feasible at this stage?)

((8) Also does the close proximity of the mast have any bearing on the suitability and value of the land the tower is on?)

My reply to Lone Star Land Ltd. 12th July 08:02

Hi Andy,

Many thanks for your reply and reassuring comments. Please do keep in touch as any updates however small in detail that you are able to divulge would be most reassuring to us, in that the tower would not appear suddenly one morning as a pile of rubble at the end of the runway.

Many thanks again for your interest and support.

Best Regards from all at the society,

David.
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3rd August 2019. (Finmere Airfield)

Following our successful visit to the Shelswell festival on the 13th July, on the 3rd August we decided to spread the word at the towers home itself by attending the Saturday car boot fair, to enlighten those there of the threat to our Tower and their car boot activity. A large number of visitors visited our stall and offered support and the willingness to sign our on line petition. It was also a great moment to meet with Char Owen a dedicated supporter of our cause on this site, who also kindly took the opportunity to make a personal donation to the Tower project. In closing I must also thank my son Alexander, who painstakingly approached all stall holders which must have totalled over 100, to present them with a leaflet and take time to explain the plight of our Tower.

David King. Chairman, Aircrew Remembrance Society.
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13th July 2019 Shelswell History Festival.

Following the kind invitation from show organiser Alice Goodall, with the view to promote awareness of the tower project. A great deal of interest was created by the display we put on relating to crash investigations, the remembrance of aircrews and our quest to save the tower as a lasting memorial. Banners were also purchased for the show along with two sets of leaflets and many of these were distributed at the show. This along with a number of interesting contacts relating to crash sites, numerous people showing interest and pledging to sign our petition. Perhaps the most interesting contact on the day, informed us that he knew a gentleman who had saved the internal fixtures and fittings from the tower, when they were removed to make more space in the building, including the doors. He believes he still has these stored and we hope soon to be able to make contact with him. I would like to thank all those who attended and pledged support, and I must also take this opportunity to thank Simon Hill who is a supporter and member of this face book group, for producing two 13 O.T.U. Blenheim profiles from our records relating to crashes in the area, which created great interest at the show.

David King, Chairman, Aircrew Remembrance Society
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14th June 2019

On the 13th July the Society has been kindly invited to attend the Shelswell Festival, by the Rector at Diocese Oxford Alice Goodall. In preparation for this posters and flyers have now been produced and we have now collected a consignment for distribution.
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28th January 2019.

Work behind the scenes on our Finmere Tower Memorial project has continued over the Christmas period, on our presentation package for use with all relevant bodies that need to be further addressed, Local Government, Local Historical and archaeology groups, local news, potential sponsors and other fund raising options. Over the last six months 343 of you signed our petition to save the tower, we still need many more. If you have already signed we thank you, if not please take the time to sign now! Help make this memorial tower a reality for all those unknown airman who were lost in training accidents, no medals or praise for them, but they too gave their all! https://www.thepetitionsite.com/…/protect-our-local-herit…/…
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11th December 2018.

As two weeks had passed since my email to Andy at Loan Star Land, I phoned him today to see if he could supply me with any of details I had requested in my email of 28th November 2018. We spoke at length and he informed me that the development plans for Finmere airfield were still at their early stages. I mentioned a few key points in the email I had sent him, in particular that the tower was in close proximity to a large radio mast, and that this would seem an unlikely location to build any future dwelling of any kind, and that there for this site could well be available for separate purchase for our memorial and learning centre project. He could not confirm this but agreed that this could well be the case. He was also kind enough to invite us to contact him through future emails and promised to keep us updated with any relevant progress in development plans he is involved in.
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11th December 2018 (Alice Goodall Festival Inviatation)

I am wondering if the Society would like to be involved in the Shelswell History Festival next summer? Two possibilities - firstly could do something in May / June, like take people on tours to look at the Watch Tower - we will advertise it in the Festival brochure which will go to all houses in the Shelswell villages (including Stratton Audley, Stoke Lyne, up to Juniper, Mixbury, Finmere -and all points inbetween). And / or secondly do a display at the Festival site on 13th July? Could be some good publicity. Let me know - happy to give more details / talk it through.
Alice Goodall

https://www.shelswellhistoryfestival.org.uk
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28th November 2018. (Email to Loan Star Land.)

Dear Andy,
You may recall I contacted you back in February this year regarding our interest in saving the Finmere Control Tower as a living memorial. A great deal on interest and support has now been generated, following a Facebook page and petition we have set up in aid to its preservation.
I wonder therefore if you could give us any updates with regard to the development plans of the airfield, and be kind enough to assist us with any details you may have relating to the following. We are aware that the airfield itself is owned in part by a number of individuals and also leased to others, I wonder therefore if you could confirm who owns what sections, and in particular the area that you are planning development for belonging to Mr Tredwell. If you have a map of the site that shows owner occupation you would kind enough to share with us, or any details of where we could obtain one that would be most helpful. As I am sure you are aware the tower itself is in close proximity to a large radio mast, (We assume this area must be leased to someone?) and therefor unlikely to be an ideal area to erect a new dwelling, we would therefore be interested to know if the tower area would be somewhat outside your development plans, and may be a separate plot available for purchase?. Many thanks, best regards, David. David King, Chairman, Aircrew Remembrance Society
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9th November 2018. (Last Letter Home)

Poem for memorial Tower.


read-more copy
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7th November 2018. (How she could look!)
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31st October 2018 (Buckingham Rocks)

So we have a thing called 'Buckingham Rocks' here. So again another way we can get the word out about Finmere Watch Tower. Now it just needs to be 'planted' around Buckingham somewhere for someone to find it

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28th October 2018. (Aircrew Remembrance illustrated to increase awareness for the need of the Memorial Tower Preservation.)

P/O Karol Jan POLANIN (pilot) PAF. Killed in the crash of Mosquito DZ291, 13 O.T.U. Dived into ground Twyford Bucks. 16.3.1945. We Will Remember Him.

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13th October 2018. (Aircrew Remembrance illustrated to increase awareness for the need of the Memorial Tower Preservation.)
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12th October 2018. (Please help us Preserve Finmere Control Tower)
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12th October 2018. (Aircrew Remembrance illustrated to increase awareness for the need of the Memorial Tower Preservation.)

Crews from many nations flew from Finmere including a large number from the Dutch Naval Air Service, most of these destined to join 320(Dutch) Squadron flying Mitchell’s with the 2nd T.A.F. The crew of North American Mitchell II FL194, were killed on the 15th February 1944, when the aircraft crashed at Buckingham Road Gawcott when an engine failed on take-off from RAF Finmere. Officer. Henri Joseph Pierre Janson RN, Korp. Jan George Egter van Wissekerke RN, Sgt. Henri Jean Boots RN. P/O David Hudson RAF. We will remember them.

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11th October 2018. (Aircrew Remembrance illustrated to increase awareness for the need of the Memorial Tower Preservation.)
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11th October 2018. (Aircrew Remembrance illustrated to increase awareness for the need of the Memorial Tower Preservation.).
Leslie did his conversion training onto Bostons and Blenheims, after training at 13 O.T.U. Bicester and Finmere. He later flew with 88 Squadron 2TAF and was on the dangerous low level smoke laying operation over the Normandy beaches on D Day. As well as being marked with black and white invasion recognition stripes, their aircraft also had their noses painted white as further recognition, to prevent them being fired on by our invasion craft, but they were still fired on by small arms fire. We are most Honoured that Leslie’s son Dudley, has kindly signed our petition save Finmere Control Tower.

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6th June 2018.

D-Day 6th June 1944. We Remember the Finmere boys who flew with 2nd Tactical Air Force!

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1st June 2018.

Our campaign to save The Finmere Tower started just a week ago today, many thanks to all who have commented, liked and shared. Thanks also to the 65 who have so far signed our petition at this date and time,18.00 1st June 2018. Thanks also for the many excellent comments on the petition page. Please keep sharing or sign the petition if you have not yet done so, this is just the beginning, remember “team work makes the dream work”! Warm regards to all, David. “WATCH THIS SPACE”

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25th May 2018. (Petition to save tower established)

Your support would be most welcome, Please sign the Society's Petition
Here.

Thank you.


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24th May 2018. (Facebook Page set up)

Facebook Page set up to create awareness of tower preservation project.

Facebook page can be found
Here.
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24th May 2018.

The Aircrew Remembrance Society is launching a campaign to save The Finmere Control Tower. It will involve the creation of a new society to attract as many supporters as possible. It is feared that the tower may soon disappear from the airfield skyline, as plans to develop the airfield are now in progress. It will be a big project that will take a lot to achieve through many stages, but in can be done with enough support. Please join us to pledge your support now. There will more details regarding research into the site already under taken, with news updates on future development plans for the preservation of the tower, as a lasting memorial to all those aircrews lost during training from O.T.U. Groups 6, 7, 91, 92, and 93 in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties, as well as H.C.U.’s, L.F.S.’s and all other training units in other parts of the country.
David King. (Chairman, Aircrew Remembrance Society.)

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21st February 2018. (Reply to Andy)

Hi Andy,

Thank you for your reply and we look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Our society has many supporters worldwide regarding all our remembrance activities; we are however working on raising interest and additional support in the media towards this particular venture, i.e. the tower preservation, memorial and historical centre.

We have also looked into possible grants from English Heritage towards the tower restoration in this venture, and also considered putting a preservation order on the tower, as at present in the U.K. only 26 historic towers across the U.K. have orders on them, which makes Finmere’s status really due for one.

We would not of course want to tread on anyone’s toes regarding any development proposed for the overall site, and would of course be interested in your views on the subject, but if there was a niche on the site for the tower preservation, I am sure this kind of support for such a site by any future developers, would of course add some form of credibility if incorporated in their development plans, in preserving this now well know landmark on the historical Bernwood Jubilee Way created in 2002, the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, as part of the ‘Bernwood Ancient Hunting Forest Project’.

Many thanks for your interest from all at the society.

Warm regards.

David King.

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21st February 2018. (Reply from Andy at Lone Star Land)

David, thank you for making contact and for taking the time to explain the background and context to your interest. It makes fascinating reading and is something that should very much not be forgotten. Whilst we are at an early stages, we will do what we can to remember the relevance and importance of this email and to ensure that we continue our dialogue at the appropriate time.
Please don’t hold your breath though - the planning system works in geological timescales!
We will be in touch. Thanks again.
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8th February 2018. (Email to Lone Star Land)

Now having Lone Star Land email address I forwarded our details and aims as sent to Jeff Tredwell (see 8th January 2018)
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8th February 2018. (Phone call to developer)

I phoned Andy and he was in France! He said he had received my contact details that Jeff had sent him, and asked if I could send details of our interest by email, and that he would get back to us in two weeks when he returned to U.K.
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8th February 2018. (Reply from land owner)

Phone call from Jeff’s secretary giving me details of the man involved with Finmere development, Andy Willkins, (Lone Star land) and his mobile telephone number.

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1st February 2018. (Phone call to land owner)

By the end of January I had received no response from these appropriate people, that Jeff Tredwell had sent our details to, so on the 1st February 2018 I phoned Jeff to ask if he could give me their contact details so that I could contact them direct. Jeff was not available so they said they would pass on my message and get back to me.

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16th January 2018. (Reply to land owner)

Dear Jeff,

Thank you for your kind support in this matter.
Best regards from all at the society,

David King.
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16th January 2018. (Reply from land owner)

Dear Mr King,

Thank you for your email regarding Finmere control Tower. There are changes going on in the near future on the aerodrome site and I have forwarded your email to the appropriate people.

Kind regards

Jeff Tredwell.
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8th January 2018. (Letter to the land owner)

Dear Mr Tredwell,

Further to your conversation with my son Alexander King, I am writing to explain in more detail our interest in the preservation of the Finmere control tower, and its potential as a living memorial to the thousands of airmen lost during training, in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties.
I have been involved in the remembrance of falling airmen for 47 years, searching for the missing and the recovery of World War II aircraft.(Aviation Archaeology). I was the founder of The Booker Aircraft Museum at Wycombe Air Park (R.A.F. Booker) in 1982, and I am Co-founder (1994) and current Chairman of The Aircrew Remembrance Society.
Over the years we have been involved in the construction of many crash site memorials and assisted many relatives of the fallen, in their search for information and their quest to remember their loved ones. During this time we have amassed thousands of documents, photos and other memorabilia, including a vast amount pertaining to those killed in Buckinghamshire.

We have for some time been searching for a poignant location where this documentation could be housed, as part of a permanent memorial to these men, there are numerous impressive memorials to those lost serving with Bomber Command and Fighter Command, and we are all well aware of their great endeavours, and of many named individuals such as Guy Gibson and Douglas Bader, but there is no fitting memorial to the thousands of unknown who died in Operational Training units, operating from airfields in Buckinghamshire and the surrounding counties. Many of those died locally and are buried in local cemeteries close to the many airfields, there are also 461 airmen of the second World War buried at the regional cemetery at Botley, Oxford, where I am a volunteer giving guided tours on behalf of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the vast percentage of airmen buried there are from commonwealth countries lost in a foreign land on the other side of the world.

To be able to preserve the Finmere tower as a lasting memorial to these forgotten boys would be a fitting tribute to them, this along with our local historical archives and research material collected over six decades, which includes all losses operating from Finmere and all surrounding airfields, Finmere being unique as the main training airfield for crews converting to tricycle undercarriage aircraft from the U.S., such as the A-20 Boston and B-25 Mitchell, destined for the 2nd Tactical Air Force in support of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe.
There are other features we would like to include like a garden of remembrance, learning centre and hall of remembrance, which would include historical artefacts and educational features, not forgetting of course the preservation of the tower itself, which deserves to be saved as part of our nation’s heritage.

Best Regards,

David King.
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7th January 2018. (First contact with control tower land owner)

First contact established by telephone call to Jeff Tredwell by the society webmaster Alexander David King, with a view to save the Finmere Control Tower. Request from Mr Tredwell to forward further details of our interest and proposal.
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