The Air Cadets at 866 (Immingham) Squadron recently received from the RAF Elsham Wolds Association notification of the death of their Chairman John Funnell.

The editor of the Association’s newsletter also sent a photograph showing Immingham cadets with John Funnell at their last year’s reunion.

John was a Lancaster bomber navigator and flew with 103 Sqn from RAF Elsham Wolds during WW2. We have been given permission by the photographer – Marina P – to publish the photo as we felt it was a very poignant image. When the photo was taken the photographer wished to show John leading the cadets forward to a future which he and his colleagues fought for during the war. Many of his friends in the Lancaster aircrews lost their lives in ensuring that the young people of today have a future in a free country.

The cadets in the photo knew John and are saddened by his passing. They know that if it wasn’t for the sacrifices that those airmen made – many not much older than themselves – then they would not have the future that John is leading them to.

We at the Squadron will miss him, particularly at the next reunion in August. We live in the “Bomber County” of Lincolnshire and know that every year cadets from our Wing honour those who flew from the many airfields in the county. The photo and its message is, therefore, just an example of how much we all owe to those veterans.