The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede commemorates by name over 20,000 airmen who were lost in the Second

 World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe, and who

have no known graves. They served in Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training

and Maintenance Commands, and came from all parts of the Commonwealth.


The above detail from “The Runnymede Memorial”, England

Extract from; Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Volume 5, 1944

by W R Chorley, published by Midland Counties Publications (1997) ISBN 0 904597 91 1


“The Lancaster bomber holds a special place of affection mingled with a great deal of pride in the hearts of British and Commonwealth citizens. The evening sight and sound of streams of Lancasters ‘heading out’ toward the heartland of the German Reich was the ultimate translation of a war-weary people’s will to see the Nazi military and industrial machine, the source of colossal suffering for so much of the world, battered into oblivion.” (

The following two pragraphs are from a statement by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur T. Harris, Bt GCB, OBE, AFC, LLD. Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Bomber Command. February 1942-September 1945.

"The Lancaster beyond doubt, was a major factor in beating the Nazi enemy down to defeat - as even the enemy admitted. No aircraft can be an effective weapon of war unless the aircrew that man them are of superlative quality.

This country, and its allies owe these young men, the many that died, the few that survived, a debt that can never be met in full. It is due to them and their kind in other Services, that Britain is not a mere slave market in a Nazi Empire.

Never forget it."


“Wherever and for as long as freedom flourishes on the earth, the men and

women who possess it will thank them and will say they did not die in vain.”

(HRH Queen Elizabeth II in dedicating the

Runnymede War Memorial 17/10/1953)







Martha Rose Fayle was widowed in 1895 and re-married John Wall in 1898

(Ernie’s Paternal Grandmother)

I recall the occasion in 1944 when the telegram arrived advising that Ernie was ‘missing in action’.

It was later revealed that his aircraft had failed to return from a bombing raid on Leipzig, Germany and that no further information was available.

I was eight years old at the time and I remember how the family tried to keep the news from Grandma (Martha Rose Wall). However, she sensed what was wrong and so she cornered me in the bathroom a day or two later and made me ‘spill the beans’.

I have a faint recollection of Ernie standing on our back verandah dressed in uniform, saying goodbye to Grandma just prior to his departure from Australia (October 1942).

Commemorative wording has been incorporated on Martha Rose’s headstone in the Hay Cemetery.

Bruce Wall

22nd April 2009




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