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WWII veteran gifts history to RAAF Base Edinburgh

written by Jake Nelson | January 8, 2024

WW2 Bomber Command veteran Ray Merrill, centre, holds a photo of his crew from WW2, while Air Commodore Adrian Maso, left, holds a memento for Mr Merrill and Wing Commander Mark Sweet holds the General Eisenhower signed letter at the RAAF Base Edinburgh officers’ mess. (Image: Sergeant David Cotton/Defence)

An Air Force veteran has gifted mementos from his service in World War 2 Bomber Command to RAAF Base Edinburgh.

Ray Merrill, 101, donated a signed letter from General Dwight Eisenhower – later the 34th US president – as well as framed photos and a biography to the base, which have been placed on display in the officers’ mess.

Merrill, who enlisted in 1943, served in Britain as a tail gunner with the Royal Air Force’s 218 Squadron, completing 36 missions for Bomber Command including diversionary operations for the D-Day landings in 1944.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in one mission, which saw him jump from his position to free enemy incendiary bombs from his aircraft’s fuselage and throw them from the plane.

“It was a great opportunity to compare and contrast the evolution of Air Force culture after having Ray share his experiences with his old unit,” said Flight Lieutenant Robin Karumba, from 462 Squadron.

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“Ray’s escapades and ability to relate to aviators who have a different mustering made him the most interesting person in the room.”

A conference room at RAAF Base Edinburgh is named after Merrill, with Commanding Officer 462 Squadron Wing Commander Duncan Scott saying his visit and the mementos were an important reminder of the history of the squadron.

“It gives us the need to honour the service and sacrifice of our past serving members,” said Wing Commander Scott.

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