RAF ExPOW Association - Cal Younger

in Loving Memory of


27th November 1921 - 1st January 2014

St Mary's, Great Bedwyn
1pm, 30th January 2014

Organ music before the service

Andrew Hutchison


Rev Matthew Cookson, Associate Priest


Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy

Cal - Friend and Kriegie

Address by Sqn Ldr Robbie Stewart MBE

This is a letter from Air Commodore Charles Clarke, President of the Royal Air Force Ex-Prisoners of War Association [and Chairman of Bomber Command Association] who is at Sagan [Stalag Luft III] in Poland at the moment. He is desperately sad that he cannot be here.

Charles writes:

Others more eloquent than me will write Cal’s obituary but to me he was my greatest friend and always the most dedicated member of the Royal Air Forces Ex-Prisoners of War Association. He was one of the founding members of the ex POWs and was responsible for me becoming involved many years ago.

Cal spent his life running the Association particularly as Welfare Officer, Kriegie newsletter editor and as the manager of the two charities for ex-prisoners and their families, and promising young musicians.

Cal was worthy of a National honour and it looked as if there would be a good chance of him being recognised on the next list. His worth has been recognised in so many other areas and he had recently been awarded a Commendation by the Soldiering On Through Life Trust.

From Poland I want his family and friends to know that you are in my thoughts on this day as you celebrate the life of my greatest friend Cal Younger.

Charles Clarke

Robbie continued:

The family have given me the privilege of speaking about my own friendship with Cal.

After returning from Baghdad in 91 at the end of the first Gulf War, I found that I, with the other Gulf POWs, had unwittingly joined a very elite club. They invited us to one of their reunions, mainly I think, to reduce the average age.

I met many wonderful people but one stood out. A reserved fellow, quiet, keeping well back, letting others go first to speak to us. Eventually I spoke to this Australian Navigator and formed an immediate bond. Initially Cal said little about his own wartime experiences, preferring instead to hear of my own exploits in the modern airforce.

That is, until one lovely sunny day sitting in our garden in Lincolnshire when Cal held my family mesmerised as he recounted in great detail his own wartime exploits -- pausing every so often to comment that he must be boring us. Needless to say we urged him on. Along with our son and daughter we felt privileged to share his company and his story that hot summer day.

In Jan 2010 I went with Cal to Sagan in Poland to commemorate the 65th anniversray of the Forced March from Stalag Luft III. Technically I travelled as his carer, although he did not need one. With temperatures at -25°C I wore a down jacket, thick gloves and leather walking boots. Cal wore a suit, normal shoes and coat, but no gloves. I tried to persuade him to wear gloves but he would just smile, take them off me, and slip them in his pocket to placate me. “It was a bit colder in 45” he would say.

Later that same year Tange and I took him to the RIAT airshow to see our daughter flying with the Red Arrows. It was a hot day and we needed to walk a good distance from the car park to watch the show from our deckchairs. He carried his fair share and made no mention that he was suffering from a painful knee. Tange and I felt very bad when we found out, even more so when we discovered later that he also got sunburnt. But that was Cal. He would rarely complain, took physical pain in his stride and would smile sweetly.

We had the good fortune to visit Cal just before Christmas. He looked relaxed and happy with his super fast zimmer frame that boasted a wireless doorbell and he seemed to be over the worst of his recent illness. In fact Cal was quietly delighted that day that at 91 years he had extended his original book, No Flight From The Cage by many thousands of words and it was selling well. He was also enthusiastically telling us about his planned future writings. To Tange and myself Cal was our literary gent. A title that over the years caused Cal many a wry chuckle but seemed to give him a quiet pleasure.

I tried to buy a copy of the new publication but true to his generous nature Cal insisted I should take one then kindly signed inside the front cover. He wrote To Robbie and Tange, Wonderful Friends. Love Cal.

We shall treasure these words and his friendship always.

Best not forgotten

Read by his daughter Amanda Canney

I think, no matter where you stray,
That I shall go with you a way.
Though you may wander sweeter lands,
You will not soon forget my hands,
Nor yet the way I held my head,
Nor the tremulous things I said.
You still will see me, small and white
And smiling, in the secret night,
And feel my arms about you when
The day comes fluttering back again.
I think, no matter where you be,
You'll hold me in your memory
And keep my image, there without me,
By telling later loves about me.

Dorothy Parker

Cal as a Grant-maker

Address by Peter Kilgarriff, former Chief Executive, LankellyChase Foundation

When I visited Cal in hospital last October he said “This is the first crack in the edifice”.

Cal was an edifice – not in a vainglorious or manufactured way but in terms of his strength and indomitable will. In the charity world where I knew him, he stood out from the crowd, not simply because of his long experience and wisdom but because of his realism and often self-deprecating humour.

Calton ran the Chase Charity and the Lankelly and Hambland Foundations from their unscripted beginnings in the sixties to his retirement in 1989. He started by learning from others and was particularly influenced by Merfyn Turner who founded the first Halfway House for ex-prisoners.

Cal’s ability to listen with an accepting gentleness was a constant trademark of the way he dealt with people who sought his help. But he was also very shrewd and quick to grasp the essence of an argument. And during that time, these grant-making charities developed a reputation for approachability, shrewdness and a focus on innovation. Cal, the most non-judgemental of people, excelled in sensing the potential in others and hence the charities tended to back people rather than ideas.

This was particularly true in the way they encouraged young artists. Cal’s partnership with Keith Grant, then the Head of the Art Department at Roehampton, resulted in a wonderful series of grants and scholarships for young artists which broadened their experience and helped them move to the next stage in their careers. Similarly, the charities’ long support of the Central School of Ballet, targeted at supporting poorer young dancers, was inspired by the determined commitment of Ann Stannard and her co-founder Christopher Gable.

And, of course, there is the Kirckman Concert Society which dates from 1962 – the very beginnings of Cal’s formal charity work. It was the first initiative of the newly founded Chase Charity - formed to give platform experience to up and coming professional musicians. These concerts were, and still are, mostly held in London but he arranged concerts in this very church more than once.

The breadth of Calton’s achievements was daunting. Whilst he was developing these new grant-making charities, his books on the history of Ireland’s Civil War and its aftermath were being published. He also published a biography of Arthur Griffiths and edited other publications – including The Kriegie – the journal of the RAF EX POW Association and – Trust News – the journal which shared good practice amongst grant-making trusts.

But for me, it was not the number of charities which Cal supported that was impressive – it was the way he supported them. Even after he moved to Great Bedwyn and right to the end of his life he rarely missed any trustee meetings, often dragging himself to London against the odds. He was generous with his time and his money. Many a time when faced with an appeal he could not put to the trustees, his personal reply would have a personal cheque attached.

Cal was a very balanced man; little fazed him; he had experienced the worst, the loss of comrades and freedom and these experiences seemed to give him a wonderful perspective from which to understand people. And all this serious work was laced with a gentle humour so exemplified in his wonderful cartoons.

Cal retired on a Monday and I won a private bet with myself when he appeared in the office on the Tuesday.

He always had lots of things to do and he told me then that he was a trustee of 13 charities, including the Hilden Charitable Fund and the Swan Mountain Trust. He always said he would whittle these down but this didn’t happen quickly. When he died he was still a trustee of at least seven charities. But his priorities were always the RAF Ex POW charities, including the Benevolent Fund and the Larry Slattery Memorial Fund. The latter was one of Cal’s favourites.

Larry Slattery was shot down on the first day of WWII becoming one of the very first POWs. In No Flight from the Cage, Cal recalls how he cheerfully encouraged the newer POW’s and helped keep spirits amongst the men. The fund was established in his memory to carry on the work of supporting young musicians to which Larry Slattery himself had attached so much importance.

Not, how did he die,
but how did he live?

Read by Rev Matthew Cookson

Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of his birth.
Nor what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with words of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?



I vow to thee, my country

Cal and his Family

This was given by his grandson Alex and will remain a memory of those who heard it as will the salutes given to Cal's coffin by Alex and his father Peter, both of whom have served in the Australian forces.

At Every Turning Of My Life

Read by Elise Younger (Cal's daughter in law)

At every turning of my life
I came across
Good friends,
Friends who stood by me
Even when the time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell My friends
I smile and
Bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears
For I need them not
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad
Do think of me
For that's what I'll like.
When you live in the hearts
Of those you love
Remember then
You never die.

Rabindranath Tagore


The Lord's Prayer

Commendation, Farewell and


By Cal Younger

Don't wait in the cold
Neath a moon growing old;
There's no use expecting us back.
Your faith in the kite
Will be shaken tonight,
She succumbed to the pitiless flak.

We took her in low
And she made a brave show,
But she never could live through that hell.
With viperish speed and insatiable speed,
Came shell after shell after shell.

But she justified
Your oft-expressed pride,
And her fate was no fault of her own:
Nor the fault of your skill,
Which you gave with a will,
The spirit you ever have shown.

So don't wait in the cold
'Neath a moon growing old
Go back to the warmth of a room:
Your faith in the kite
Will be shaken tonight.

Cal's family thank you for being here today and invite you to join them at The Cross Keys for light refreshments.

Donations may be sent for The Larry Slattery Fund (established by the RAF ex POW Association for young musicians)
c/o Dianne Mackinder Funeral Service, Wagon Yard, London Road, Marlborough SN8 1LH

Oliver Clutton-Brock is the author of Footsteps on the Sands of Time - RAF Bomber Command Prisoners of War in Germany 1939-45 and RAF Evaders, among many other RAF related books. He had hoped to be at Cal's service:

Cal Younger

I can’t remember when I first met Cal Younger, but I came across his name back in the 1970s when I bought a copy of his 1956 book No Flight From The Cage. Many years on, I was fortunate enough to meet this charming and unassuming man, and he kindly signed my copy of his book.

One hot evening in July 2006 I took Cal to a house near Swindon to meet the Czechoslovakian mad-keen RAF researcher and author Vítek Formánek, who was over on one of his mad whirls meeting as many RAF veterans as he could.

He was over the moon to meet Cal – see photo! and, to mix metaphors, they got on like a house on fire. But then that was just the sort of bloke that Cal was. He treated everyone the same – with the respect and the dignity that they deserved.

I suspect that my first contact with Cal was when I asked for his help over some matter when I was editor of the Bomber Command Association Newsletter (1996-98).

Cal and Vítek Formánek. Note the RAF ExPOW crest tattooed on Vítek’s left upper-arm!

Shortly afterwards (1999) I moved from North Devon to Wiltshire, and was thus living a dozen miles from historian Robin Neillands and twice that from Cal. At some point, Cal invited me to join him and Robin for the occasional lunch at a local hostelry, where a good time was had by all. Sadly, Robin fell ill, and later died, and that put an end to these happy times.

As I look back over my approaching three score years and ten I can say that I have, during that time, met only a few men whom I have felt truly privileged to have met. Cal was one such.


Obituary, Daily Telegraph 3 Feb 2014

Obituary, The Times 7 Feb 2014

The Age, 7 Jan 2014

No Flight from the Cage (Calton Younger, 2013 edition)

Ireland's Civil War (Calton Younger, 1969) - Review in The Tablet, 1969

State of Disunion - Griffith, Collins, Craig, De Valera (Calton Younger, 1972)

Arthur Griffith (Calton Younger, 1981)

Calton Younger - IWM interview 31m 04 secs

Calton Hearn Younger - MHSOBA

Lankelly Chase Foundation - Calton Younger 1921-2014 - Peter Kilgarriff

RAF ExPOW Association

If you have recollections of Cal, or have found other links that could be considered for this page please contact the website editor
Page created 2 Feb 14: updated 7 Feb 14