12:00PM, Tuesday 13 June 2017
More than 50 years after a lucky escape during the Second World War a 95-year-old from Bray was invited to Buckingham Palace for being part of the Goldfish Club.
Richard Baldwyn joined the RAF in 1940 and on September 28, 1944, was in a light aircraft that came down in the middle of the Adriatic Sea.
He was part of a small outfit called the Balkan Air Force and was in a Ventura medium bomber with five other men.
Only four survived when they came down in the water after the engines cut out.
Richard struggled to open the exit door and could feel the aircraft sinking when the door was opened by the co-pilot who was in a dingy with the pilot.
As Richard pulled himself up, the plane started to go under and the door slammed on his left foot.
The big flying boot he was wearing protected his foot which slid out as the plane sank.
They were rescued by fisherman and a few years later Mr Baldwyn received a waterproof membership card to the Goldfish Club in the post.
It is a worldwide association for those who crashed into or parachuted into water.
On Tuesday, May 30 he went to a garden party for veterans at Buckingham Palace and was chosen to meet Prince Harry.
“He asked me what the Goldfish Club was,” said Mr Baldwyn. “I think he is doing a splendid job, he was a very relaxed person and he was taking great trouble to talk to all the 50 or so people.”
Richard’s wife of 47 years Lin, 77, went with him on the day. The couple who live in Ferry Road, Bray have been in the village for more than 40 years and between them have five children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
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