The Royal Air Force Connection

 

The Church has a strong connection to the RAF going back to the 1939-1945 war.     Around the Church lie the remains of the Coastal Command airfield of RAF St Eval where up to 2000 personnel kept a constant vigil against German U-Boats during the Second World War.  The Church became the RAF St Eval Station Church for about 20 years and then the RAF St Mawgan Station Church until 1981. 

In 1989 a memorial was dedicated for RAF St. Eval to mark the 50th anniversary of RAF St Eval.  The fund was started by Sqn Ldr Jim Greenaway who donated the first 1000 in memory of all his colleagues who served with him at St Eval.  Over 12000 was raised through the efforts of both the local parishioners and the RAF.  The memorial included a stained glass window in the Lady Chapel, a Book of Remembrance for air and ground personnel who lost their lives whilst serving at St Eval and additions to the squadron plaques on the walls of the church.  

Through their fund-raising the RAF St Eval (CC) Association financed  a memorial to all the personnel who served at St Eval and this stands just outside the Church gates.  This was dedicated at a special service on 10th April 2005.  

In September 2005 the Newquay & St Columb branch of the Royal Air Forces Association closed  and their ensign was laid up in the church.   This hangs in the North corner of the church together with the ensign of RAF St Eval which has been in the church since the station closed.

In October 2005 the Church was 'adopted' as the Spiritual Home for the Coastal Command & Maritime Air Association.   This was marked by a special service led by The Venerable Brian Lucas, a retired Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force and also a previous padre at RAF St Mawgan during the time when St Eval was also the station church.  During the service a facsimile edition of the Coastal Command Book of Remembrance, the original of which is housed in Westminster Abbey, was placed in the church, together with a wreath, which is the wreath placed by HM The Queen in Westminster Abbey during the service in 2004 dedicating a memorial to RAF Coastal Command. 

There are several other items of interest with RAF connections. One is the cover on the font which was presented by 205 Shackleton Sqn to the Church in 1971 when the RAF left Singapore.  It had been the cover of the font in the station church at Changi.  The second is the wooden cross on the southern wall.   For the story behind the cross follow the link. December 2008 was the 50th anniversary of the crash of Shackleton VP254 in the South China Sea with which the Cross is linked. A special Commemoration Service was held on 6th December to mark this anniversary that was attended by nearly 90 people including several family members of the lost crew. A booklet with the story of the Cross has been compiled locally and a copy can be obtained by emailing Gill Lovegrove at [email protected]

At the same service the church was presented with a facsimile of the Shackleton Register by a representitive of the Shackleton Association. This register lists all those personnel who have lost their lives flying Shackleton aircraft. The original is held at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire.

The Rood Screen was restored as a memorial to XV Squadron (Tornados) to mark it's service in the Gulf Conflict and in memory of one of it's members Flt Lt Stephen Hicks who was killed in action on 14th February 1991.