The fascinating series of Sunday afternoon talks at The Wing organised by Trustee Andy Simpson continues on 12 May at 2.30pm, when Wing Commander Sophy Gardner MBE RAF (rtd) – a fellow Trustee – will speak on “The RAF and Memorials”.
Sophy, who has been granted access to the Royal Archives relating to the RAF Memorial and has delivered a paper at the National Maritime Museum about the Naval Memorial, will talk about memorials after the First World War.
Her talk will explore the challenges facing the RAF and Royal Navy after the conflict, given that the focus was very much on the Army and the Western Front, and will discusss the functions and meanings of memorials at the site.
Sophy Gardner is in the final year of her PhD studies at the University of Exeter in collaboration with the RAF Museum. A former RAF Wing Commander, she is researching the early politics of air power and the networks of power in Whitehall and Westminster in the inter-war years.
Sophy’s twenty year RAF career included serving as the Military Aide to the UK Component Commander during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, deployments to the Congo and Afghanistan, two years working in the MOD’s media and communications department and a tour on exchange with the Royal Navy on HMS Invincible. Her final posting was in command of Operations Wing at RAF Valley in Anglesey. She was awarded an MBE for her support to operations in Afghanistan in 2002.
Sophy’s talk will be followed on Sunday 28 July by a talk from Andy Saunders on “Battle of Britain Oddities” and by a recent addition to the list – Jim Nicolson on “James Nicolson VC DFC”.
Jim, who will be at the site on Sunday 29 September, again at 2.30pm, is the nephew of James Nicolson, the only Fighter Command pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the whole of the Second World War.
Jim Nicolson retired as Assistant Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Police after a 30-year career which covered such diverse events as the Watford rail crash and the Knebworth music festivals. He is a keen historian and regularly delivers talks about his uncle.