East Lindsey District Council and Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire will commemorate two RAF Officers, who served with distinction during the Second World War, with a tree planting ceremony at the District Council’s offices in Manby.
The tree planting will celebrate the life and achievements of Wing Commander Leonard Harrison and Flight Lieutenant John Dowland. Both men were based at RAF Manby, where East Lindsey District Council is now based, and played vital roles in high profile bomb disposal incidents during World War II.
Wing Commander Harrison became renowned for his work in bomb disposal and was one of the first people in the country to be awarded the George Cross. He earned the accolade for his involvement in disarming an unexploded 250kg bomb which hit a ship in Immingham. He then went on to repeat the feat, disarming another bomb aboard a ship in Grimsby.
Flight Lieutenant John Dowland, a pilot and armaments instructor, assisted Wing Commander Harrison in disarming the bombs at Immingham and Grimsby for which he was also awarded the George Cross. Though Flt. Lt. Dowland would not survive the war his legacy lives on in the brave work both he and Wg Cdr Harrison undertook.
Rob Barlow, East Lindsey District Council Chief Executive, said: “We’re honoured to be able to take this chance to commemorate these two remarkable individuals. East Lindsey has a rich aviation heritage and being situated at a former RAF base provides us with a unique opportunity to celebrate that history. I’m grateful to Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire for making us aware of Wing Commander Harrison and Flight Lieutenant Dowland and hope that this gesture goes some way to commemorating the lifesaving work they both did.”
Dave Harrigan from Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire commented that this heartfelt acknowledgment by East Lindsey District Council of the bravery of these two individuals, who had somewhat been forgotten in history, is a fitting and lasting tribute to them and the work they did to preserve life.