Postbag: In praise of all the conscripts

PUBLISHED: 11:56 06 January 2006 | UPDATED: 13:21 28 May 2010

IT was interesting to read of Dot Whittington s plans to write a book about Pilot Officer Jim Hocking, the brave captain of a Stirling bomber who sacrificed his life in 1944, by guiding the aircraft away from March town. I am a member of the National Serv

IT was interesting to read of Dot Whittington's plans to write a book about Pilot Officer Jim Hocking, the brave captain of a Stirling bomber who sacrificed his life in 1944, by guiding the aircraft away from March town.

I am a member of the National Service (Royal Air Force) Association in the Cambridge area. Our association is open to all ranks conscripted from 1939 to 1960 and is nearing a membership of 3,000.

We have a recruiting officer for the UK, and recently one was appointed for USA, Canada and the West Indies, in which branch there are now 100 members after a recent start.

When I consider the large number of people who have emigrated to New Zealand and Australia since the 1960's I hope a branch will soon be founded in Dot Whittington's country.

The contribution made to the three armed forces in post World War Two by national servicemen has been under valued by many citizens of all age groups. During and after the war there were a considerable number of conscript aircrew. For example we had a Varsity aircraft staffed by four conscripts. I am told Lord Tebbit was a National Service pilot.

I will advise our area organiser that Dot Whittington is preparing a book about Jim Hocking's short and sacrificial life.

If anyone would be interested in joining the National Service (RAF) Association please write to me, and I will be glad to provide details.

JOHN GRAVES, 9 Upwell Park, March

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