Thornaby RAF Centenary Tree Planting Service, 1 April 2018

The Stockton & Thornaby Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association marked the RAF Centenary celebrations on the 1st April with the planting and dedication of a Royal Oak Tree and commemorative plaque alongside the Airmans Statue in Thornaby. The Mayor and Mayoress of Thornaby Cllrs Steve and Sylvia Walmsley and the Mayor and Mayoress of Stockton Cllr Maurice Perry and Mrs Laraine Perry were all in attendance as were representatives of local veterans organisations who also paraded their Standards and also members of the public. The Mayors were invited to plant the oak tree by Denis Grub, secretary of the RAFA branch, who also invited the guest of honour Group Captain Andy Cooksley, Officer Commanding Number 90 Signals Unit at RAF Leeming to unveil the plaque which was blessed by Father Harry Hopkins the recently retired vicar of St Paul’s Church in Thornaby and himself a former Royal Navy submariner.

It was good to see that Royal Air Force blue was very much on parade thanks to the cadets of Number 266 (Stockton) Squadron Air Training Corps who were led by Warrant Officer Shaun Stevenson and Flight Sergeant Steve Ringwood with Cadet Sergeant Cameron Murphy laying a wreath. Well done one and all!

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

4 thoughts on “Thornaby RAF Centenary Tree Planting Service, 1 April 2018

  1. I am ex 608 airman and worked in the sqn registry as a civilian clerk. Ex cadet of 1261 Thornaby ATC Sqn & then became the SWO moving to Kent in 1968 transferring to Kent Wing ATC then became a Flight Lieutenant after serving as OC of several sqns., doing 38 years in uniform before retiring. Kept in touch with my very dear friend John Pollock over the years that followed, came up for the unveiling of the Airman Statue at Thornaby in 1997. Fight Lieutenant John Pollock was of course the man behind it all in remembrance of his beloved Royal Air Force & 608 R Aux A F Sqn and all those who served at RAF Thornaby “Per Ardua ad Astra” to the next 100 years. Thanks John.


  2. Glad all went reasonably well. From first suggesting it last September to the Council about RAF100, apart from being cold everyone seemed pleased the way things went.
    I think the icing on the cake was when I told everyone that I had written to the Queen and had had a reply and read it out at the end of the tree planting. That made my day and I was very proud that I had written to the Queen, and got a reply. The council at my suggestion are having a floral display in Ropner Park this year as well.
    That now is five trees that I have had planted for the RAF, and the Queen’s Jubilee.
    Will have to think of another one. Ha! ha.
    I would like at this time to say thank-you to all who helped me to put this Commemoration together
    Denis Grubb,
    Branch President.


    • Denis Grubb you were always a great goal keeper for Newham Grange and Stockton Boys Denis, it now appears as though you are a very astute and capable President of the R A F Association, well done Denis. Your old football captain Ben Brown. By the way your goalkeeping understudy Tony Hutchinson has been poorly lately, I am sure he would appreciate a phone call from you. Not many of the old team left Denis, may five of a 14 squad.


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