Widow honours husband’s wishes with medal handover at Flixton museum
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The war-time memorabilia of a former member of the famous 617 Squadron has been handed over to an aviation museum honouring one of his final wishes.
Alan Garrod, who was born in Henstead and lived in Stalham, was a flight engineer on Lancaster bombers during the Second World War and joined the famous Dambuster squadron shortly after the raids in 1943.
He died last year aged 89 and one of his wishes was that his medals, commemorative badges, log book and other memorabilia be donated to the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton, near Bungay.
His widow Wendy joined family members, friends and members of the Potter Heigham branch of the Royal Air Forces Association at the museum on Tuesday to hand over the items.
Mrs Garrod said: “He came here all the time and loved coming here.
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“He always said he wanted his things to come here and they include a photograph of him taken at the museum about two years ago.
“We are also leaving a copy of the story he wrote about his life.”
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Mick De’Ath, treasurer of the Potter Heigham RAFA branch knew Mr Garrod since he joined the branch in 1999.
He said: “One of the most significant objects here is his flying log book which detailed every flight he was on during the war.
“He was in the 617 squadron, shortly after the dam raids. Obviously they lost quite a few air crew and he would have been one of the ones who came in to replace them.”
After leaving the RAF, Mr Garrod went on to become a mechanical engineer and among those attending the hand over ceremony was Bernard Rowland who served as his apprentice at Constitution Motors in Norwich.
The 68-year-old from Rackheath in Norwich said: “I started working as Alan’s apprentice aged 15 and we always kept in touch.
“He did talk about his time in the RAF at tea break times but he didn’t glorify the war at all - it was just something he had to do.
“He was just a lovely guy and life came full circle because when he became older and he couldn’t do too much, I used to help him with his car.”
Mr Garrod had a love of vintage cars, in particularly Morris cars and was a member of Wymondham Old Timers car club.
Paul Hawkins said: “He was a lifelong member and he was always there to lend a hand.
“If you had a breakdown he would never drive past, he would always stop.”
Ian Hancock, museum chairman, accepted the donation and said: “They are obviously treasures and something that mean a lot to all.
“They will be secured, protected and placed on display and Alan’s name and story will be seen and read by our many visitors, including youngsters from local schools following a programme that we initiate.
“We explain what happened in the World War Two and while they don’t always understand they do get impressed by what was given by the individuals - what they gave up, very often their lives.”
Do you have memorabilia handed down by a relative? Email email@example.com or call 01502 712060.