This weekend, RAFA Luxembourg held its annual Wings weekend in support of the Association’s 2018 Wings appeal.
The weekend started on Friday night with a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Léuxembourg, John Marshall, at his residence in Luxembourg city. The Ambassador was joined by a hundred and fifty guests and included serving members of the Royal Air Force from both UK stations and military units across Europe as well as members and friends of the Association from the Grand Duchy and the UK.
The Ambassador welcomed his guests and thanked them for coming. Ambassador Marshall then stressed the close links that the Royal Air Force has with the Grand Duchy especially during the 1940-45 period and he highlighted the airmen who gave their lives during the Second World War; 26 of these servicemen are buried in different municipalities across the country. Ambassador Marshall went on to thank the local municipalities for the continuing care and attention that they put in to looking after the graves of the RAF airmen. The Ambassador continued by recognising the presence of the serving RAF personnel and he stressed the importance of remembering the sacrifice that their young predecessors had made in the liberation of Europe.
In reply, Air Commodore John Maas RAF thanked His Excellency for the support that he and his Embassy team provides to the Luxembourg branch of RAFA. Air Cdre Maas went on to thank the serving members of RAF especially from RAF Cosford and Coningsby for coming to support the RAFA Luxembourg Wings weekend. Air Cdre Maas finished his speech by highlighting to the audience the ever-evolving capabilities of the Royal Air Force and the speed of these changes.
On Saturday morning, a remembrance parade was held in Hollerich cemetery to remember the 2 aircrew that lost their lives in 1940 and the 7 aircrew that also were shot down in 1943. General Duschene and the Director of Police represented Luxembourg Ville and laid the first wreath. This wreath was followed by ones laid by His Excellency Mr Marshall, the Canadian Consul Honoraire Ms Goller, Air Commodore Maas and Wing Commander Kirkhope.
The Ambassador and RAFA members and guests then drove north to the municipality of Wincrange to hold two further remembrance parades in and around the village of Boxhorn. The first parade was at the crash site of a RAF Hudson of 161 Squadron, which was shot down in March 1945. At the site, in the Héiseboesch forest, 3 RAF airmen of the Hudson crew are buried together with 3 Belgium Special Operations Executive (SOE) who were being flown to parachute into German territory. The Mayor of Wincrange, together with the British and Belgium Ambassadors to Luxembourg, Air Cdre Maas and Wg Cdr Kirkhope laid wreaths to commemorate their sacrifice.
A final parade took place at the Monument Aux Morts in Boxhorn village. Here the focus was on the Luxembourg losses sustained during the 1940-45 period. These were sombre ceremonies with the key goal of remembering those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice both RAF and Luxembourgish nationals.
The Wings weekend culminated in a Gala Ball hosted by the Luxembourg branch of RAFA where His Excellency John Marshall was the guest of honour.