Steve Darlow, grandson of Bomber Command pilot Arthur Darlow, and a team of six friends will be doing a sponsored 20-mile walk on 17 and 18 August to commemorate the Peenemünde raid. Steve tells us more about why he decided to organise the walk.
My grandfather Arthur Darlow served with the RAF Bomber Command as a pilot during the Second World War. He began flying operationally in September 1943 (shortly after the Peenemünde raid), with No. 427 Squadron and then midway through his tour he was posted to No. 405 Squadron to take up Pathfinder duties.
Arthur flew through the entire Battle of Berlin period but on his 32nd operation, on 8 and 9 May 1944, attacking a rail yards in support of the forthcoming D-Day invasion, his Lancaster was shot down. Arthur ended up as a POW at StalagLuft III and saw out the war behind barbed wire.
Arthur remained in the RAF after the war and took up flying duties with Transport Command in the Far East, but was lost in February 1947 when the Dakota, in which he was a passenger, went missing over the South China Seas.
I was looking for a way to commemorate the aircrew sacrifice on the 70th anniversary of what I consider to be one of the most, if not the most important Bomber Command operation of the Second World War.
I also wanted to raise the profile of this extraordinary raid and raise funds for the Bomber Command Memorial. A fundraising walk came to mind and the notion of conducting the walk overnight, matching the operational hours of the crews, began to develop.
I will be walking from the Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede to the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park. I spoke to Peenemünde raid veteran George Dunn DFC about the idea and he gave it his full support.
I successfully tested the walk out on a hot day in London then I quickly set about getting a team of walkers together to represent a seven-man Bomber Command heavy bomber crew.
The other people taking part in the walk are Martin Wintermeyer who served for 16 years as a navigator with the RAF; Tiny Russell who joined the RAF in 1987 and served as an Assistant Air Traffic Controller with the Harrier Force; Air Cadet Michael Wintermeyer; Hayden McEwen who has served in both the New Zealand Army as infantry and military police, and in the RAF Police for over 15 years; Steve Temple who joined the RAF in 1982 and served for 15 years in the RAF Regiment and ex-RAF personnel Howard Warburton.
Now all that's needed is to gain some momentum for the fundraising, complete the walk, and raise awareness of the sacrifice of those who failed to return 70 years ago.
By Steve Darlow
To support Steve and his team's walk, you can sponsor them by visiting their Justgiving page http://www.justgiving.com/PeenemundeCommemorativeWalk