Squadron’s DIY SOS style project aims to give back to inspiring RAF Mildenhall veteran

Servicemen from RAF Mildenhall get together to help 95 year old Noel 'Red' Dunningham with his garden in Red Lodge. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

Servicemen from RAF Mildenhall get together to help 95 year old Noel 'Red' Dunningham with his garden in Red Lodge. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

Richard Marsham - RMG Photography Tel - 07798 758711

A 95-year-old RAF veteran posted to Mildenhall after beating an American general at squash during the Second World War is having his garden transformed thanks to a DIY SOS style project.

Tristin Martin from RAF Mildenhall hels 95 year old Noel 'Red' Dunningham with his garden in Red Lodge.
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM Tristin Martin from RAF Mildenhall hels 95 year old Noel 'Red' Dunningham with his garden in Red Lodge. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

Noel ‘Red’ Dunningham flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in the RAF after training as a pilot in 1939 – when he had just turned 17.

His career took off in the cockpit of a Harvard in South Africa and ended with a stint as RAF Mildenhall’s weapons and explosives officer.

Now retired and living in Red Lodge the 95-year-old, who was squadron leader at the west Suffolk base from 1972 to 1974 and ran marathons up until a few years ago, continues to inspire the next generation of servicemen.

In fact, his illustrious career in the air force and “bright as a button” character has charmed one squadron so much they are transforming his back garden which he can no longer maintain.

Tristian Wycuff from RAF Mildenhall hels 95 year old Noel 'Red' Dunningham with his garden in Red Lodge.
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM Tristian Wycuff from RAF Mildenhall hels 95 year old Noel 'Red' Dunningham with his garden in Red Lodge. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

Members of the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron, including Red’s neighbour Staff Sergeant Brian Nichols, said they wanted to give something back. The group met at Red’s home at the weekend to make a start on the project.

Welcoming them, he said: “First of all I would like to thank you from my heart for doing this today. As you can see I cannot help you with what you are doing.

“I am 95 and have had a long and hard life. I have also messed up my knees from running marathons and playing squash.

“When I was 17 in 1939 I trained as a pilot and was lucky enough to fly Hurricanes and Spitfires. I still think the Spitfire is the most beautiful aeroplane ever made and if it wasn’t for these two aeroplanes we would all be sitting here speaking German.

He continued: “After I joined the RAF I was posted to headquarters we had in north Germany. I remember one day I had no-one to play squash with. I found this one man and I beat him almost every time I played him. It turned out he was the commander in chief!

“I kept beating this very important American general at squash and he told me I should go to Mildenhall because I got on so well with Americans. So that’s where I went and met so many wonderful people. I am so lucky to be sitting here now.”

Brambles, roots and overgrown plants were cut away as the group made progress on the project this weekend. Once it is finished, it is hoped Red will be able to sit and admire his garden.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 19:33

Eight week closure of the A1101 from Shippea Hill to Littleport will start from Monday February 19 as part of a major campaign to repair more than 40 miles of drought damaged roads.

Yesterday, 21:51

When you’re a group of youngsters enjoying regular football as everyone knows the costs can soon mount.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Allegations against Wisbech councillor Simon King of inflating mileages, claiming for going 85 miles to Rugby but not on official business, and once claiming return mileage of 10 miles for a meeting a mile from his home, have been revealed.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Oxfam has cancelled an official opening of its new city centre store in Ely in the light of the continuing crisis over Haiti.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter