Squadron pay tribute to WW1 Aviator by tending to his grave and laying a wreath

Laying the wreath. Revd Bottley, Flt Lt Hall, MACR Brewster and MACR Marshall
Laying the wreath. Revd Bottley, Flt Lt Hall, MACR Brewster and MACR Marshall

As a tribute to their formation 100 years ago, number 45 (Reserve) Squadron from Royal Air Force College Cranwell tended a WW1 Aviators grave in Blyth.

A working party from the Squadron paid a visit to a cemetery, to tend to the grave of Major John Charles Bradley Firth MC, a WW1 45 Squadron Ace with 11 victories to his name.

Major Firth died in 1931 at the age of 37 and has no known relatives.

The team from 45 Sqn included Flight Lieutenant Tony Hall, Master Aircrew Jason Brewster, Master Aircrew Ian Marshall and Mr Alex Power. The Head of Blyth Parish Council, Mr Martin Grocock represented the council and the Historical Society and Museum.

Rev Kate Bottley conducted a service at the graveside.

The members of the Squadron paid homage to the devoted aviator by clearing and cleaning his headstone, prior to laying a wreath and observing a one minute silence.

Flight Lieutenant, Tony Hall, said: “We had the honour of remembering the life of Major John Firth, and the heroic role he played in the history of 45 Squadron while serving as a fighter pilot in France and Italy during World War One.

“Following his RAF service he became a highly respected and active member of the local community in Blyth, and it was heartening to witness that same community actively supporting our commemorations.”

The members of the Squadron were shown around Spital House, now a care home for the elderly, which was once the residence of Major Firth after the war. They presented the Manager of Spital House, Alison Hunt-Siwy, with a framed print of a King Air flying alongside Major Firth in his Sopwith Camel and also assisted with planting a flower bed in the gardens of Spital House in memory of Major Firth.