15 November 2018
What a privilege to welcome such an amazing man to Abingdon School.
Lawrence ‘Benny’ Goodman, now 98 and the last surviving 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron pilot, opened the School’s new flight simulator suite kindly donated by Tony Edwards, OA (1962).
The Headmaster, CCF cadets and staff listened in awe as Tony recounted the bravery of Benny Goodman’s Lancaster crew who flew 10,000 lb bombs for over 13 hours, encountering enemy planes and flak, to reach their targets.
Born in 1920, Benny Goodman joined the Royal Air Force in 1940, and the renowned 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron in 1944. He took part in 30 operations including two to sink the German battleship the Tirpitz known by Churchill as ‘The Beast’.
A modest and humble man, Benny said he was honoured to come to Abingdon and to meet the young cadets and see the new simulator suite.
The simulator suite is an outstanding training addition to the School’s RAF Division of the CCF. It will not only benefit the boys at the school but also students at other local schools with an interest in flying. Cadets from the CCF, led by cadet Flt Sgt John Dickson, spent the summer clearing the space to house the simulator and undertook the complex build and configuration project by themselves.
Speaking at the event, Tony Edwards said, “As a pupil at Abingdon in 1960 I helped set up the RAF section of the CCF and it gives me great pleasure to be back here now to see this simulator being enjoyed by today’s cadets.”
Tony also donated a portrait of Benny Goodman painted by renowned artist, Jeremy Houghton who, to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force, is drawing four surviving RAF Battle of Britain pilots.