Tracing father’s footsteps

Bryan Wild, far left

Bryan Wild, far left

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Blackpool’s popular air show has finished for another year, but among the fighter jets and stunt planes the resort also welcomed two special guests.

Elizabeth Halls travelled from Herefordshire in her 1935 Singer Le Mans Sports Special as part of a one-woman, nationwide tour of 60 airbases, to remember ex-Flight Lieutenant father Bryan Wild’s military career with the RAF during the Second World War.

Elizabeth Halls travelled from Herefordshire in her 1935 Singer Le Mans Sports Special as part of a one-woman, nationwide tour of 60 airbases, to remember ex-Flight Lieutenant father Bryan Wild's military career with the RAF during the Second World War.

Elizabeth Halls travelled from Herefordshire in her 1935 Singer Le Mans Sports Special as part of a one-woman, nationwide tour of 60 airbases, to remember ex-Flight Lieutenant father Bryan Wild's military career with the RAF during the Second World War.

Elizabeth visited Monday’s air show and Blackpool Airport on Tuesday.

While on the Fylde coast she also travelled to some of Bryan’s old haunts, including Fairhaven Lake, Fairhaven Hotel, Andsell and the Art Deco Café at Stanley Park.

She also visited the spot where her father’s close friend and gunner, Stanley ‘Ack’ Greenwood, was killed during an air training exercise.

She told The Gazette: “This county is particularly poignant for me on account of Ack Greenwood’s death here.

“He was something of a father figure to my Dad, who was away with the Airport Transport Auxiliary when he was killed.

“Dad was devastated by his death, and haunted by the fact that had his friend been flying with him, rather than another pilot who was flying erratically, he would not have been killed.”

Bryan Wild flew 14 different types of aircraft during his career, and saw action over Britain, North Africa, the Mediterranean and Germany.

He was stationed at RAF Squires Gate – now Blackpool Airport – 256 Squadron, between November 1941 and June 1942, flying Boulton Paul Defiant and Bristol Beaufighter aircrafts to defend north-western cities from night-time bombing raids.

Through her tour she is hoping to raise the profile of the RAF Benevolent Fund, who helped her father, when he contracted Parkinson’s Disease at the end of his life.

Her guides for this part of her tour included Russell Brown, 256 Squadron Squires Gate historian, Joe Bamford, aviation historian and Graham Berry, second cousin of Sqn Leader Joe Berry, who was also based at Squires Gate.

The ‘Where They Served’ Tour coincides with the 70th anniversary of the end of Second World War. You can follow Elizabeth’s trip on www.wheretheyserved.com and donate at www.justgiving.com/wheretheyserved