Queensland Supper – February 2009

“I thought you would like to know that we had a very successful “Queensland Supper” the other day when 4 OF’s and their spouses gathered at Twin Waters Golf Club.

The picture shows (left to right) Peter Simpson (K32-40), Alison Marsh, Peter Bailey (K34-38), Hettie Simpson, Joyce Bailey, Ruth Gates, John Gates (S44-48), Neville Marsh (S53-61).

I am pleased to report that all are well and three of us will be making the trip back to Blighty this year (John, Peter Simpson and myself). Of particular importance is Peter Simpson’s trip “home” as he will be attending the 90th birthday of his brother John (also an OF and part of the great dynasty of Simpsons) who lives in the Alms Houses, in Station Road, Framlingham. His birthday falls on 31 March and we believe there will be a celebration in Brandeston Village Hall on 4 April.

The Peter’s told us two great wartime stories which I think should be reproduced on the webpage:

Peter Simpson – the only Framlingham boy to be bombed by Adolf Hitler

Peter told us how one day he wanted to walk home to Easton (in the early 40’s) and started off down through the lower gate along College Road. He was wearing his bright yellow prefect’s cap. Quite suddenly and without warning, a Dornier bomber came out of the low cloud and proceeded to drop a stick of bombs in Peter’s direction. Peter was able to take cover and avoid injury but sadly, there was damage and loss of life. He reckons that the bomber was on its way back to Germany and the pilot saw what he thought was a worthwhile target for the unused bomb load. Peter’s bright yellow cap must have looked like a windsock or some other military structure! Needless to say, he made all haste back to the College having abandoned his stroll home. Can anyone verify the attack in question?

Peter Bailey – finds his fellow pilot after 60 years
Peter told us how he was flying DC3’s the night after D-day, re-supplying troops who had landed on the Normandy beaches. A plane next to him, piloted by his friend Errol Wood, was badly hit by enemy fire and went down in flames. Peter watched hopelessly as it plunged earthward. Wind forward 60 years and the phone rings in Peter’s house: it is Errol’s son-in-law who is doing some family history research wanting to get in touch with his father-in-law’s RAF colleagues. Peter explained how he saw Errol’s plane shot down in flames and had believed all these years that Errol had perished to which the response was, “Well, you will never believe this but Errol got out and is now living in Tasmania!” It appears that his DC3 crash-landed on the Normandy beach and the whole crew got out with minor injuries but before they could make their escape across the water, they were captured and spent the rest of the war as POW’s. Errol survived this ordeal and eventually emigrated to Australia, to live a (long) stone’s throw from Peter Bailey unbeknown to either of them. They have since met up and had the most joyous of reunions.


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