A Bomber Command Clasp has been awarded to a Farnborough man who served in the Second World War
Seventy years since risking his life in the air, a Farnborough veteran has finally received recognition for his bravery.
Maurice Stoneman, 89, of Victoria Road, has received a Bomber Command Clasp for his service during the Second World War.
Mr Stoneman, who served as flight lieutenant with 57 Squadron in the RAF, said he felt elated and terrific to get the award out of the blue.
He said: “I never expected it. I have put it on the wall with my other medals.
“The clasp has been presented to those who operated during the war and deserved more than just a medal. I am very fortunate.”
Mr Stoneman finished 30 operations of which nine were to Berlin during his 18-year stint in the armed forces. He said he was lucky to be alive.
“If you got through three Berlin operations you were damn lucky and I got through nine,” he said.
“I was one of the lucky ones and I am blessed. We got hit many times but we only crash-landed once.
“We crashed off the wash near Hull. No one was injured, just a bit wet. We got in our dingy and headed to shore.”
The clasp has joined a collection of five war medals on display in Mr Stoneman’s home. His accolades include a 1939-45 star, an aircraft Europe star, a 28-day service medal and a defence medal.
He received a United Nations volunteering award presented by Aldershot MP Gerald Howath in 2001.
Mr Stoneman’s army career runs in the family. His father was in the RAF as a flight sergeant and was posted on the R34 Airship which is now on display at RAF Hendon, London.
“I was able to touch through the window the very steering wheel that my father was behind when I visited the museum,” Mr Stoneman said.
“I remember we travelled quite a bit during my childhood as well.
Mr Stoneman received his call-up papers for the war on his 18th birthday and started preparing just 10 days later.
“When I finished flying lessons I was sent to parachute school as I was good at gymnastics, I liked it,” he recalled.
Married in 1945 to his wife Norah, 85, they have a son called Steffan, 60, who was in the Special Air Service and now lives in Farnborough.
The Bomber Command Clasp is granted to the aircrew of Bomber Command who served for at least 60 days or completed a tour of operations, on a Bomber Command operational unit and flew at least one operational sortie on a Bomber Command operational unit from the September 1939 to May 1945.