War memorial finds new home

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A Second World War memorial to the men of Swinton who fought and died in the conflict has been unveiled in a new home this week.
The tall metal plaque previously stood in the room which became the children’s library at Lancastrian Halls on Chorley Road, before the library relocated to the new Swinton Gateway. 

 Now, thanks to the Royal Air Forces Association and the ward councillor for Pendlebury, Councillor Bernard Lea, it will have a new, permanent home at Swinton Gateway across the road. 

 And it will be displayed alongside a painting of a Battle of Britain scene showing Spitfire pilots waiting by their plane to be scrambled into action. The picture was presented to the city of Salford by the former Swinton and Worsley branch of the RAF Association. 

 Local councillor Bernard Lea, whose uncle and step-father both served for more than 20 years in the RAF, contacted the Association to help move the plaque which commemorates airmen, merchant navy sailors, army and navy personnel who fell in the 1939 to 1945 conflict and was unveiled in 1948.  

 “It’s a simple but lovely tribute to their sacrifice and with the Lancastrian Halls now closed, I wanted to see it in a new location where people can stop and pay tribute to these brave men,” he said. 

 “I’m pleased that we can show the Battle of Britain painting alongside it. I believe the Battle of Britain was as important in British history as Agincourt, Waterloo and Trafalgar as we came so close to defeat in World War II. Without the bravery and sacrifice of so many, we would not have prevailed.”

Martin Watkins, Northern Area Chairman of the RAF Association, said: “Councillor Bernard Lea contacted me earlier this year about the memorial so we worked together to find it a new home. We both wanted to make sure that it was saved for the community now and for future generations.”

 It is believed that the plaque was installed in 1976 by the Swinton and Worsley Branch of the RAF Association, which closed 10 years ago. 

 Martin added: “We are keen to reinstate the old branch, so I would encourage anyone who was a member to join again. The Association would also welcome anyone who has served in the RAF and their family, as well as those who have an interest in the RAF.”