RAF war veteran, 99, is special guest at Lossiemouth’s friends and family day

RAF war veteran, 99, is special guest at Lossiemouth’s friends and family day
Veteran Bill Shepherd was a special guest at RAF Lossiemouth (RAF Lossiemouth/PA)

A Scottish Second World War veteran came face to face with the modern equivalent of the aircraft he flew in during the conflict.

Former warrant officer Bill Shepherd, 99, was a special guest at RAF Lossiemouth’s friends and families day during Lossie Fest on Saturday.

He watched an air display by an F-35 aircraft, a precision bomber similar to the Lancaster Mr Shepherd had flown in as a member of No 156 Squadron during the war.

He also took a salute from the RAF Falcons Display Team as they landed.

Veteran Bill ShepherdBill Shepherd observes an RAF aircraft (RAF Lossiemouth/PA)

During the war Mr Shepherd was on the last of his 40 missions over the Essen region of Germany when his aircraft’s oxygen system failed.

He revived his crew, including the pilot, entirely by himself, while defending the aircraft from an oncoming enemy fighter.

He was subsequently awarded the George Medal.

The RAF heard he had lost his original medal and presented him with a replica in a special ceremony earlier in the week, when he was also awarded honorary membership of the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess.

Mr Shepherd, who went on to work in agricultural sales, has lived in Forres, Moray, for the last 15 years.

His story came to light after he befriended SAS veteran Tommy McLeod, who informed RAF Lossiemouth of his achievements.

Mr Shepherd said: “I’ve had such a wonderful day. The RAF has changed a lot but there are still things that are recognisable to me, and it has been nice to see how much the station has grown since I was here during the war.

“It was wonderful to see the F-35 and the Typhoon flying displays – they both move very differently to a Lancaster.”

Veteran Bill ShepherdBill Shepherd watches RAF troops parachuting during Lossie Fest (RAF Lossiemouth/PA)

Mr Shepherd was also the sole survivor when his aircraft was shot at over France and exploded after landing at its Cambridgeshire base, killing everyone on board except him.

Group Captain Jim Lee, station commander of RAF Lossiemouth, paid tribute to Mr Shepherd and his generation.

He said: “The RAF of today, and the nation, owe a great deal of gratitude to the men and women of Bill’s generation.

“The technology has changed but the most important thing of all is our people. That’s why Bill’s exploits in the air continue to inspire us and are as relevant today as they were 80 years ago.

“It was RAF Lossiemouth’s honour to have him here.”

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