Family ‘invasion’ with flying boat treasure trove

27 Aug

Family members turned out en masse when medals and artefacts of a former Sunderland flying boat engineer were presented to the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.

Thirty people – spanning four generations in the family of the late Bill ‘Sandy’ Sandiford – were on hand to view a special collection which has been entrusted to the Centre’s ever expanding archive.

Heading the ‘Sandiford Invasion Crew’ was Sandy’s son, also named Bill, and his wife Ruth, their children and grandchildren, plus nieces and nephews.

“It was a unique occasion for family members to view my father’s collection before it was handed to the centre and we made it a very enjoyable family weekend,” said Bill, who lived at Stranraer Road when his father was stationed locally.

“Dad flew nearly 2,000 hours in Sunderlands during a long RAF career. We are so pleased to donate his campaign medals, logbooks and other memorabilia to the Centre where the RAF flying boat story is featured in such a unique way.”

One of the Sandiford family shows off the medals.

Receiving the collection were Centre Volunteers John Evans and Steve Fletcher. Said John: “Steve and I got chatting with Bill and Ruth on their visit to the centre earlier in the year and this is the result. It is a remarkable collection of one man’s long involvement with the Sunderland, from 1944 to 1955.

“I had the great pleasure of meeting Sandy when he attended flying boat reunions in the town in the 1980s and 1990s and remember him well. He was a flight engineer and took part in the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and for a long time was a member of the Sunderland test flight at Wig Bay in Scotland. His logbooks are a treasure trove of flying boat history.”

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