Tribute to Heroic Airman

In November, 2020, Wing Commander Stuart Talton, Deputy Inspector RAuxAF, read in his local Lincolnshire paper that Spalding Council intended to dedicate a Memorial to Plt Off George Furniss who, whilst manoeuvring his stricken Meteor away from the built-up area of Spalding, ejected at too low a level to save his own life. The Memorial would be located near to where the aircraft crashed.

Spalding Council’s initiative was prompted by a request to the Council from Plt Off Furniss’s twin daughters – who were less than one year old when he died – for any information it could provide on their father’s heroic action. Wg Cdr Talton, suspecting that Furniss, being only a Plt Off, might therefore be a RAuxAF pilot, contacted the Chairman of Trustees of the RAuxAF Foundation, Gp Capt Richard Mighall, who confirmed that Furniss was indeed an Auxiliary Officer and a member of 616 Sqn and whose name was recorded in the RAuxAF Roll of Honour held in the RAF Church of St Clement Danes.

Recognising that this was a significant event in RAuxAF history in which the Foundation and the RAuxAF should be involved, Gp Capt Mighall contacted Angela Newton, a Councillor on Spalding Council responsible for the dedication arrangements, who agreed that light blue involvement and presence at the Dedication Service would be very welcome.  Accordingly, the Foundation arranged for the presence at the Service of representatives from the RAuxAF hierarchy, 616 Sqn, 7644 Sqn (who provided media coverage), a RAuxAF Chaplain, and the Foundation.

The Service, which was led by a RAuxAF Chaplain. the Revd (Flt Lt) Philip Johnson. was held at noon on 27th September 2021 exactly 68 years to the day after the tragic accident occurred. During the Service, the Memorial to Plt Off Furniss was dedicated by the Chaplain and, in poignant moment, unveiled by his twin daughters, Sheila Reynolds and Gillian Akers.

Sheila and Gillian with Father 1953

Sheila and Gillian at Father’s Memorial 2021

Following the Service, Spalding Council arranged a reception at a local Hotel for all attendees.

A copy of the Order of Service can be seen here.

A copy of the address given by Plt Off Furniss’s twin daughters can be seen here.

A Photo Gallery of the event can be seen here.

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Posted in News.