Sunnybank House care home in Eastleigh arranged a special flypast from a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster Bomber as early birthday celebrations for two residents and RAF veterans, Willetta Woodley, age 101 on 16 September, and Bryan Wardell who will be 102 in November.
Bryan Wardell joined the RAF as an LAC engine fitter in 1941 and was posted to No 74 Squadron (Spitfires) at Biggin Hill just after the Battle of Britain. He went on to train as a Flight Engineer and completed an operational tour on No 50 Squadron (Lancasters) at RAF Swinderby. He then became an instructor on No 7 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Waddington. His final tour was as the Senior Test & Evaluation Air Engineer at Boscombe Down.
Willetta Woodley served during World War Two in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. She helped make gliders and other useful pieces of equipment to support those in the regular service and is very proud to have served the Country during wartime.
Kay Mitchell, General Manager, Sunnybank House said, “The flypast was arranged to honour two of our very special RAF veterans, Bryan and Willetta. We are extremely grateful to the RAF for flying over our care home. It meant so much to Bryan, Willetta and our other veterans at Sunnybank House.”
Bryan Wardell said, “I have such wonderful memories every time I see the Lancaster Bomber fly.
Some of the best days of my life were aloft with my crew.”
When asked about turning 101, Willetta Woodley – who will be celebrating her birthday at Sunnybank House with her four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren – said,
“Am I really 101? I feel like 80!“