An Australian couple made a special
pilgrimage to Pembrokeshire to remember a countryman who
was killed in a wartime air crash.
Ruth and Doug Hastings, of
Melbourne, Victoria, were honoured guests at events
organised by the Pembrokeshire Aviation Group to mark
the 70th anniversary of the crash of a
Wellington bomber at Milford Haven.
Five Australian and one British
airman died, including 29-year-old pilot Ken Steinbach
from Queensland. Ken, his wife and little daughter had
close connections with Ruth Hastings’ family.
Ruth read a prayer as Royal British
Legion, RAFA and Aviation Group members joined civic
representatives at the memorial on Hamilton Terrace,
close to the site of the accident in the former fishing
docks. The story of the crash was related by the PAG’s
John Evans and John Morgan read the Roll of Honour.
A wreath was laid by the Deputy
Mayor of Milford Haven, Councillor Yvonne Southwell,
along with floral tributes by Ruth Hastings and PAG
Chairman Geraint Pynn.
Last Post and Reveille were played
by Jill Byrant of Milford Haven Town Band and the Legion
Standard Bearer was Robert Duncan.
At Milford’s Royal British Legion
Club the guests were welcomed by Branch President
Colonel Doug Joyce and refreshments prepared by Branch
Secretary Jean Stammers were enjoyed. Guests included
Mrs Leigh Smailes, President of 592 (Haverfordwest)
Branch of RAFA, and RAFA member Garfield Evans.
Later at Pembroke Dock’s Military
Cemetery, where the five Australians are buried, a
wreath was laid by town Mayor Councillor Peter Kraus.
Kevin Jones, Chairman of the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock
Branch, Royal British Legion, and Standard Bearer Gareth
Jones were present at the cemetery.
A memorable day for Ruth and Doug
Hastings continued with visits to the Flying Boat Centre
at Pembroke Dock - a town with strong Australian
connections through a wartime Sunderland squadron - and
to Carew Cheriton Control Tower. Here they were welcomed
by John Brock, John Harris, Peter Davies, Pat Gibby and
And, to round off their county
visit, the couple called the following day at the
Spitfire Museum, Haverfordwest.
Ruth and Doug Hastings were
joined at Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery by town
council, Royal British Legon, RAFA and Aviation Group
PICTURE: Graham Roberts.
From: John Evans, Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust,