A 94-year old WWII veteran, who has lived in Coulsdon since he was four, was given a standing ovation on VE Day. Ken Raffield’s carer, Sue Peterson, posted on a local Facebook group that he would be walking down Caterham Drive, wearing his medals, on 8th May, and a group of over 100 local residents came out to applaud him.
Ken learnt semaphore as a young boy in the Cubs, and Morse code in the Scouts. He continued using these skills with the 285 Squadron Air Cadets, before joining the RAF at 17 as a Communications Engineer, a role which involved sending Morse code landing instructions to arriving planes. His first post was to Tangier in Morocco, before moving to Leghorn (Livorno) in North Italy, where he coincidentally met up with his brother on the frontline.
Ken recalls his time in the military with fondness. He retains remarkably vivid memories of his past, including his Morse code expertise: something he can still use fluently to this day!