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 Royal Air Force Sylt Association

 

 

The Return

"We Came! We saw! We didn't have to conquer!  An intrepid band of 43 representatives have just returned from the Holy Land with many trophies to show, pictures to display and memories to tell. We approached the island by the causeway railway as before. The natives knew we were coming and made us very welcome. We were received with open arms and Union Jacks all over the island. We met some old colleagues who served at the base, widows of past members of staff and made new friends of those who greeted us so well. Various fantastic mementos were presented to our Association (to be displayed at the AGM) and your Secretary prepared framed trophies for exchange.

Westerland has seen much development since our days at the airfield, with the inevitable commercialism, particularly in the pedestrianisation of Friedrichstrasse and its environs.  But the character of the seafront, beaches and the thatched villas still make it a beautiful and impressive place to visit.  Over a period of four days the party visited List and other villages, the Munkmarsh, Rathaus (Council House), airfield and the old camp, most of which remains untouched except for some new billet blocks.  Some drinking did occur amongst other ranks but generally they were well behaved.

Special radio interviews were made and extensive reports and pictures appeared in the local paper.  At this stage it only remains to thank Geoff Rawson and Alan Smith for the research and arrangements made and to express our indebtedness to Heinz Johannson for his internal preparations and conducted tours.

Below is a translation of an article from the local Sylt newspaper "Sylter Rundschau", which details the visit of the Syltonians to the island.

VETERANS OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE RE-UNITED WITH OLD FRIENDS ON SYLT

"Yesterday, veterans of the RAF met again in Westerland at the old airport, which used to be RAF Sylt.  Between 1945 and 1961 most of the 41 comrades served there. "1955 is the middle and therefore we celebrate a meeting after 50 years", said Heinz Johannsen from Rendsburg, who organised this re-union.  The former airmen, most of them with their wives, arrived in Westerland on Monday, returning to the UK on Friday.  They spent their first day at Westerland searching for old, familiar places.  Many of them were amazed to see how much the island had changed.  "But so have the comrades", said Mr Johannsen.  "They will visit several other places on the island and certainly find more changes".  In the reception area of the Hotel von Stephan, where the veterans are staying during their visit on Sylt, is an exhibition of 80 old photos (A4 format) on which they can find themselves, and the places, from 50 years ago. These photos are gifts and will be taken back to the UK by the veterans.

Not all the veterans will return to the UK.  Roy Hicks served in 1958 at RAF Sylt and met his wife Ingrid during this time. They both said that it was love at first sight. They have lived since 1974 in Westerland on Sylt."

LATEST SYLT VISIT

The latest Sylt visit has been another resounding success. The party were greeted on arrival at Westerland Station with a large home made banner proclaiming "Welcome Syltonians".  A farewell party, complete with bottles of champagne, barrel organ and accordionist playing 'Auf Wiedersehn' sent them on their way.  During the visit two parties were held in private residences, resulting in a stroll through Friedrichstrasse at 2:30 am to reach the Hotel.  Many promises were made to return again.

Photos by Ilka Weinecke, Sylter Rundschau.


THE PHOTOCALL


THE SERGEANTS MESS

The old notice board.


THE BANNER

Which was presented to the Association.


THE ASTRA
Remember the back row? 
All together now!


A Happy Group!

Below are some scenes from  "A Postcard from Sylt". This is a short film made by by David Martin after a visit to the island where, accompanied by Geoff Rawson, they visited many of our old haunts both on the camp and the surrounding countryside. Those wintry scenes at Keitum, List and Westerland will bring back many happy memories, enjoy the atmosphere at the Wenningstedt Community Centre and songs by the Sylt Shanty Choir. 

If you would like to acquire a full copy of the film then just contact David.  

You can contact us by sending a message on the 'contact us' page of this website 

or directly by phone or letter to:

David Martin, 2 Cumbrian Croft, Halesowen, West Midlands, B63 1HG   Tel 0121 550 8899

or any of the Committee whose details you will find on the first page of the website.