Bulls Head names lounge after 97-year-old RAF bomber pilot

By on November 20, 2018

All that was lacking last Saturday morning in downtown Lititz was a flyover by Spitfires and Hurricanes.

An extraordinary event took place at the Bulls Head Pub, celebrating both the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the 97th Birthday of one of its World War II heroes, Flt. Lt. Richard E. Boyd, DFC.

Visitors to the Bulls Head will notice the new door lettering.

Pub visitors may have noticed the RAF memorabilia on display there, on loan from Lancaster businessman Tim Trimble, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and also a private pilot. His interest in flying and the restoration of classic aircraft brought him into contact with Boyd and they became great friends. When the Bulls Head expanded, Trimble proposed permanently donating his collection, and management agreed to name the new room the RAF Lounge, and to dedicate it to Boyd.

Born in South London, “Dickie” Boyd was an accomplished footballer and an Eagle Scout. As the war came to London in the form of the blitz, he entered military service. Eventually sent to the US to complete his pilot training, safe from marauding German planes, he so excelled that he was chosen to stay and train American pilots after we entered the war. In 1943, he returned to Britain and flew 33 combat missions in four-engine Lancaster bombers, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in combat.

Lititz Mayor Tim Snyder (right) welcomes Richard Boyd (left) and Tim Trimble, who organized the event.

While his professional flying days ended with his RAF service, he went on to a long and successful career in airline management with BOAC, KLM and Swissair. His work brought him permanently to the US, where he and his Canadian wife and two daughters eventually applied for and received US citizenship. Spry, active and sharp as a tack, Boyd now resides at Willow Valley, south of Lancaster. His daughter, Kathryn, lives close by in Manheim Township.

Saturday provided yet another jewel in downtown Lititz’ crown of very special events. General Sutter manager and Bulls Head founder Paul Pendyck and Trimble pulled out all the stops in decorating the venue. Boyd entered the RAF Lounge to the skirling of a trio of bagpipers, even dancing a little jig to the music. On hand to greet him were a group of friends and several honored guests. Trimble opened with impassioned remarks, listing Boyd’s many accomplishments. Lititz Mayor Tim Snyder welcomed Boyd and praised his courage and service. Wing Commander Neville Clayton, an RAF officer attached to the British Embassy in Washington, spoke of the courage of men like Boyd who had saved Britain during its darkest hour.

To celebrate Boyd’s 97th birthday, the Trimbles organized an official RAF cake.

Boyd talked briefly, recalling just one story from his wartime experiences. On Christmas Day, 1944, sitting on a runway in Britain in his bomb-laden Lancaster, waiting to take off on another mission, he and his crew composed a wartime-themed Christmas carol, which he happily sang to the delight of all those present. Then there was the birthday cake, decorated completely in RAF colors and topped by a model of a Lancaster bomber, and, of course, pints all around. It was a simply delightful tribute to a simply delightful man.

Dave Bucher is a local freelance writer. His column runs each month in the opinion section of the Record Express.

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