A Catford woman is to walk 130 miles in honour of her dad and his fallen crew mates on the 75th anniversary of his capture as a prisoner of war. Linda Meredith is to walk from London’s Bomber Command Memorial to the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to raise funds for the upkeep of the memorial and for the RAF Benevolent Fund. The 56-year-old who is hoping to complete her trip in 11 days is undertaking he trip to honour her dad William White who served with the RAF during the Second World War and his crew mates. She also wants to pay tribute to the 125,000 men from around the world who volunteered to serve in the Bomber Command of which 55, 573 never came home. She said: “My father was a rear gunner on Wellington bombers. “He was shot down on only his second operation whilst still at the operational training unit in Upper Heyford. Three of his crew mates lost their lives in the crash. “My father, his pilot Frank Lowe and his second pilot Patrick Langford survived and were taken as prisoners of war. Patrick was later one of 76 men who escaped from the Stalag Luft III prison camp in March 1944, but was recaptured and shot by the Gestapo. The operation was later the subject of the 1963 film The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen, and Richard Attenborough. Mrs Meredith is to start her challenge on Saturday July 29, the 75th anniversary of her dad’s capture. She and her son Paul she will lay a tribute to her father and his crewmates at the memorial in Central London. The member of the Memorial’s Upkeep Fund is dedicated to raise funds for the group which is also raising funds for the IBCC centre and its Ribbon of Remembrance memorial stone to honour all those who served. She said the project is also “giving our veterans a voice to tell their stories and building a repository for precious documents and artefacts from those not here to speak”. She is keep to support the RAF Benevolent Fund “because of the wonderful work they do, looking after our personnel, veterans and their families.” She said: “The reason for my walk is simple. “It’s for my father and the 125,000 who volunteered from around the world to serve in Bomber Command. “For the 55,573 who never came home. To raise funds and awareness for two very worthy charities who between them are taking such excellent care of those who deserve it. “We owe our veterans such a debt. This is my own tiny part payment.” If you would like to support Linda, please follow her @memorials_walk.
Reporter | Resident of Lewisham for more than 25 years and studied sociology at Goldsmiths. Previously worked for many years as a picture researcher for book and part work publishers and joined The Mercury after studying for a NCTJ at Lambeth College. Big yoga and walking fan – not just in the country but also along the River Thames. Love South East London and wander around Lewisham town centre, Deptford High Street and Greenwich Town Centre at least once a week. Mandy has worked for the Mercury for 14 years.