RAF Cardington Memorial Unveling May 18th 2019.

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Jacek Bernasinski from the Polish Ex-Combatants Association also attended.

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Guests looking on during the speeches

On Saturday morning 18th May 2019 a memorial stone was dedicated to RAF Cardington in front of the former Station HQ. This was only made possible by Bellway Homes who have been working on the site to turn it into a residential development. They not only financed the memorial but also designed it. There were strict guidelines to adhere to from the RAF in that any stone had to be sympathetic to the surrounding buildings. Local authority regulations had to be followed re height restrictions due to the proximity of the memorial to residential buildings

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Guests included representatives from nearby RAF Henlow, Dave Hodgson, the Mayor of Bedford, Susan Lousada the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, and Jacek Bernasinski from the Polish Ex-combatants Association amongst others. The memorial was unveiled by Mr Michael Lousada a son of Group Captain Lousada who was CO at the station from 1956-1959. In July 1959 Group Captain Lousada had the honour to receive the Freedom of Bedford on behalf of the station in a full ceremony in Bedford so it was quite fitting that his son should unveil a memorial stone almost 60 years later.

Prior to the service guests met up in the Shorts Building where history stands from Beds and Luton Archives, The Shuttleworth Collection, The Balloon and Barrage Reunion Club, The Airship Heritage Trust, Bedford RAFA and RAF Cardington Camp History Studies were on show. Half an hour later guests were directed outside to the front of the building and gathered around the memorial stone.


Sqn Leader Emrys Rogers, the Deputy Station Commander from RAF Henlow opened the ceremony with a welcoming speech. Henlow had strong historic links to RAF Cardington so it was most appropriate that the station was represented here. Next came an interesting talk from Stuart Hadaway from the Air Historical Branch (RAF) outlining the history of the station which enthralled all guests. He then handed over to Michael Lousada who bravely carried on despite a sudden downpour. He regaled everyone with tales of his father’s time at the station much to the delight of all present. Mr Lousads then unexpectedly invited shocked local historian Jane Harvey (me!) to join him in unveiling the stone and together we removed the Union Jack. Flowers were then presented by Air Cadets from the Air Training Corps 134 Sqn (this Squadron is still based on the site but now in a new purpose built HQ) to Mr Lousada and also to Susan Lousada. The memorial was then formerly blessed by Dawn Colley, Rev (Sqn Ldr) Station Chaplain at Henlow.


Now thoroughly drenched guests returned to the Shorts Building for a chance to dry off and mingle before moving on to the nearby Air Cadets HQ for refreshments served by two Shortstown ladies. To seal a great morning locals at Shortstown were treated to a Flypast at 14.06 of a Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight team.

Sqn Leader Emrys Rogers, the Deputy Station Commander from RAF Henlow opened the ceremony.

Stuart Hadaway from the Air Historical Branch RAF gave a very interesting talk about the history of the station.

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Michael Lousada invited a surprised local historian Jane Harvey to help unveil the memorial.

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Flowers were then presented to Mr Lousada by a local Air Cadet.

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Michael Lousada spoke about the station and his father who was C.O. of the station from 1956-1959.

The memorial was then formerly blessed by Dawn Colley, Rev (Sqn Ldr) Station Chaplain at Henlow.

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Susan Lousada Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire was also presented with flowers.

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Staff from nearby RAF Henlow.

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Local Ex-RAF residents from Shortstown.

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Guests at the RAF Cardington Camp history table in the Shorts Building.

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Wayne Jackson from the Bedford and District Amateur Radio Club broadcasting live from the ceremony to fellow members.

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Stuart Hadaway from the Air Historical Branch RAF (left) and Peter Garwood from the Balloon Barrage Reunion Club.

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Members of Bedford RAFA inside the Shorts Building.

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The Lord Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson in discussion with Alastair Lawson from the Airship Heritage Trust.

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Guests studying the RAF Cardington history boards.

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Campbell Wilson-Apperson from Shortstown pointing out some of the photographs on the walls of the Shorts Building to Michael Lousada.

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Members of the Lousada family examining some of the history boards.

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Guests looking at samples of balloon fabric at the Balloon Barrage Reunion Club stand.

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Susan Lousada Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire viewing some of the items at the Airship Heritage Trust stand.

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Refreshments were later served in the nearby Air Cadets HQ.

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Rita Wilson-Apperson of Shortstown getting ready with refreshments for the guests.

Carol Cain of Shortstown having a break from preparing the refreshments.