Two World War Two veterans who travelled from the Caribbean to join the RAF have been recognised at a special ceremony.

Ralph Ottey, 98, and Alford Gardner, 96, were presented with their campaign medals at RAF Marham, Norfolk. A plaque was also unveiled for Ulric Cross, one of the most decorated West Indian servicemen of the conflict.


Commander at Marham, Gp Capt Frederick Wigglesworth, said the ceremony highlighted "incredible achievements".

Mr Cross, from Trinidad, flew 80 missions for the RAF, many of which were out of Marham. He was credited with helping prevent 200 bombers from being shot down in a bombing raid over Germany in 1943. He died aged 96 in 2013.

Gp Capt Wigglesworth said: “The event was about recognising there were minority groups out there doing incredible things that are often overlooked. “Those serving at RAF Marham should take inspiration from the amazing achievements by ordinary people in times gone by".

Mr Ottey, originally from Jamaica, said he was posted to RAF Woodhall Spa, near Coningsby, Lincolnshire, during World War Two, where his "first official job in the RAF was to be a driver." He said: "The sergeant said to me 'I've got another job for you' and I became the chauffer for the senior technical officer".

Mr Gardner, also from Jamaica, joined the RAF as a motor mechanic and was stationed at Weeton near Blackpool, Lancashire. He said: "I had a whale of a time, when I was young and fit."

Gp Capt Wigglesworth said it was "extra special" to unveil the plaque and award Mr Ottey and Mr Gardner with their medals during Black History Month. "For me to be able to do that as a station commander with African heritage of my own is just the cherry on top," he said.