Peter "Spud" Spowage
(pays tribute to: Fl Lt Edward George BRETTELL )
Peter is the leader of the team and who came up with the idea of remembering with pride the Great Escape in this way, for the benefit of our charities, The Royal British Legion and Help for Hero's.
Peter is a serving Metropolitan Police Officer and a keen motorbike rider. Peter is now of the age where he should ‘hang up his helmet’ but continues to ride his beloved ‘Josephine’ (a Triumph Tiger motorbike) around the country both for pleasure and to raise money.
Peter's father was in the RAF and served during World War II. Flight Lieutenant W.F. Spowage D.F.C. was a Lancaster Bomber pilot and earned his DFC in World War 2 for landing a fully bomb-laden aircraft that was on fire.
He is a member of the ‘Royal British Legion Riders Branch’.
David "Smudge" Spowage(pays tribute to: Sq Leader Ian CROSS, DFC)
David is the youngest member of the escape committee; he will only be 26 years old, the closest age to that of the original escapees.
David is an experienced biker, having learnt many skills from his own dad and uncle. Biking has always been in the family and his earliest pictures are of David with a bike either near him or of him on the tank.
David takes a keen interest in history and when asked to join his dad on this event, he jumped at the chance. He has visited the war graves in the Somme, France and spent time at the Normandy coast, examining the remains of the D-Day landings. Although he has seen the film “The Great Escape”, learning about the trip and the men who dug the tunnels, history is coming alive, and this journey will be one to tell his children and grandchildren alike.
David has been chosen to ride the Steve McQueen replica Triumph.
Flt Lt Kevin "Dog" Donaghue RAuxAF
(pays tribute to: Fg Off Stanislaw Z KROL)
Kevin was invited to the team by “Spud” as a result of hosting “Spud” and his brother when they stayed at Valley on their fundraising event (in the links page) circumnavigating the coast of Britain. Kevin has served for the Royal Air Force for over 20 years from Airman to Flight Lieutenant in various Trades and Branches and is currently the longest serving Adjutant on 19(F) Squadron at RAF Valley, Anglesey, North Wales. As an accomplished linguist Kevin will be the Team’s interpreter as well as Deputy Road Captain for Dave Muckle and the serving Royal and Royal Auxiliary Air Force Representative for this journey.
In his spare time Kevin spends most of his time as butler to his 16 year old Border Terrier and like his Terrier is a keen biker. Not only do the pair live their life on two wheels day to day but Kevin has also accomplished numerous self-supported European tours and more importantly a couple to the dunes of the Moroccan Sahara; one with a friend and one leading a group of six. He is looking forward to this historic and memorable fundraising event in support of Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion; celebrating its 90th Anniversary this year. Both charities close to his heart.
Kevin is honoured to pay tribute through this event to Polish Air Force P0237 Flying Officer Stanislaw Z Krol, born the 22nd of March 1916. Stan served with 74 Sqn which until a few years ago was based at RAF Valley alongside 19 Sqn. The Sqn has now been subsumed into 19 Sqn which also coincidentally recently had a Flt Lt Krol in its ranks. Stan Krol was unfortunately shot down on the 2nd of July 1941 whilst flying his W3263 Spitfire Vb (the same Spitfire as 19 Sqn at the time). He was captured at Oels and eventually sent to Stallag Luft III. Stan was executed at Breslau on the 14th of April 1944, probably by Lux and cremated at Breslau.
Kevin is a member of various bike clubs including the ‘Royal British Legion Riders Branch’.
John "Cookie" Cooke
(pays tribute to: Flying Officer Robert C Stewart.)
John is the founding President of the Blue Knights England XIV Chapter, but currently serving as the Secretary and Webmaster. You can see everything about the Chapter on their website.
He was a police officer with Avon & Somerset Constabulary for 30 years before retiring as a Sergeant in April 2004. During his service, he spent 10 years as a Traffic Officer, now called Roads Policing. He did four years as a traffic motorcyclist at Bath enjoying every minute of it before being promoted. He then went on secondment to the Regional Police Driving School at Devizes as an Instructor. The Regional School has long since been closed and is now a brand new building.
Since retiring he and wife Tina have spent time touring Europe on their current motorcycle, a BMW K1200LT, both on their own and with Blue Knight friends. They seem to have friends everywhere! Unfortunately, Tina has been forced to give up riding, so John has now changed his bike to a Honda Pan European ST1100 with a single seat, and no prizes for guessing the markings!
John has returned to work for the Avon and Somerset Constabulary as an Internal Auditor. He is able to keep up with his friends and still gets involved in lots of projects, just like this one! The Blue Knights "Up and Down" ride in aid of "Child Victims of Crime" raised £25,418.18 in 2009 and which he is profoundly proud of.
John is also a member of the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.
Richard "Muddy" Waters
(pays tribute to: Peter "Hornblower" FANSHAWE, RN)
Muddy joined the Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm) in June 1965 and served until March 1976. In April 1976 Joined the Ministry of Defence Police at R.N.A.S. Yeovilton on CID, in 1997 became a Police Dog Handler, 1998 became a Police Dog Assessor, and in 2000 an ACPO Accredited Police Dog Instructor Licencing Police Dogs throughout the West of England. He Took early retirement in April 2007 when he couldn't squeeze any more pension out of the job.
He has ridden motorcycles, Lambretta Scooters (YES he was a MOD, as they got all the good looking birds in the sixties!). He gave up motorcycling for eight years (couldn't get the wife and kids on the back of the bike) then in the seventies, bought a Honda Super Dream, CX500 Custom and an HD Sportster. Then in 1990 he became an active member in the Bridgwater Chapter of HOG.
Muddy joined The Blue Knights England IV Chapter in October 1993, and became their Secretary. In January 2006 deserted with John and helped form England XIV becoming the first Secretary / Treasurer and subsequently, the Vice President. Muddy has attended Blue Knights European rallies as well as several British ones. He takes a very active role in the organisation of Chapter events. Muddy was also involved with John in the "Up and Down" ride which raised £25,418.18 in 2009.
Muddy is also a member of the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.
Steve "Steamer" Smith
(pays tribute to: Flying Officer Albert Evans )
Steve was a Police Officer, initially with Staffordshire and then the West Midlands force retiring in 2008 having served for a total of thirty eight years.
Steve has been riding bikes since he was sixteen years old, starting with a Raleigh Runabout moped and has a varity of machines since then.
He and his wife, Allison, have toured Europe on a B.M.W. K100RS and have done two trips to the West Coast of the U.S.A. Firstly on a Kawasaki GTR and then B.M.W. R1200 RT.
Steve's son - Clive - is a sapper with 33 Engineer Regiment (E.O.D.) who has recently returned from active service in Afghanistan with life changing injuries.
Steve pays tribute to both Clive and his Uncle Albert, who was the pilot of a Lancaster bomber returning from Berlin on "the night of the strong winds" (24/25th March 1944). He was bought down over the Ruhr and now rests in the Reichswald Forest.
Steve is honoured to be a part of this team,raising money to assist out troops.
Pete "Gramps" Lambourn
(pays tribute to: Flight Lieutenant Leslie George (Johnny) Bull DFC, RAF)
Pete was a member of The Ministry of Defence Police for 37 years, 20 of those as a motorcyclist. He served at various stations around the Country, his last being in Central London where he served his last nine years carrying out VIP and special escort duties.
He is the current President of Blue Knights England XIV.
Sqn Ldr Bob "Kriegie" Ankerson
(pays tribute to: Wg Cdr Dave Bernard MBE)
Sqn Ldr (retd) Bob Ankerson has been a biker since 1966. Over the years he has owned AJS 14CSR , BSA A10, Sunbeam scooter(bit of a blip!), Kawasaki Z400, Suzuki B120P, R65 (post Gulf) R80RT and is currently riding a Yamaha Diversion 900 and has a 1956 Triton that needs some TLC!
He retired from the Royal Air Force in January 2008 having spent 34 years as an RAF navigator with flying tours in Vulcan and Tornado GR1 bombers. During the second Tornado tour while at RAF Bruggen in Germany, he deployed to Saudi Arabia during Gulf War 1.
Having ejected over Iraq he was captured and was a PoW until released in March 1991. While in solitary confinement one of the ways to use the time was to choose a bike to buy on returning home after 10 yrs without a motorcycle. The chosen bike was a Triumph Bonneville, which was never bought as it was too expensive, but now 20 years later he relishes the opportunity to take a Bonneville around Europe and to be part of this unique journey in support of our servicemen.
Dave "Pud Pud" Muckle
(pays tribute to: )
Dave "Dutch" Veldhoven
(pays tribute to: Flight Lieutenant Bram Van DER STOK)
My name is Dave Veldhoven and I am a self employed 45 year old electrician. During my spare time I trace war graves for people and I have acted as a guide with visiting relatives. I visit the graves on behalf of people who cannot travel and lay flowers, poppies or a token and photograph the memory for them.