Early in 2003, serious preliminary action was taken to develop a proposition that the sixtieth anniversary of the creation of 578 Squadron at Burn out of ‘C’ Flight, 51 Squadron at Snaith, in 1943 should be suitably marked, not only by a gathering of veterans, but by installing in Selby Abbey a portrait sculpture of ‘Wilkie’ who served as Commanding Officer to both.
To demonstrate the strength of feeling, an Appeal for written support was sent out to Association members, local people and to contacts worldwide. Over 600 letters were returned, including those from Air Force senior officers and associations, veteran organisations, Local Authorities and many others.
Before a formal submission could be made to the York Diocese, it was necessary to produce visual evidence of the quality of the sculpture and identify its placement within the Abbey. Accordingly, Hugh Cawdron set about the task of creating a portrait bust of his friend, based upon memory and aided by a photograph David had given him only a month before his tragic death in September 1944. The completed work in November 2002 and it was favourably received by Selby Abbey officials, architectural, heritage and historical preservation trusts and other environmental bodies nationally, as well as local people.
Negotiations with York Diocesan authorities then continued for two full years when the decision was made that a Faculty would not be forthcoming for the Bust to be mounted permanently in the Abbey as a reference to David Wilkerson already existed therin.
DETAIL : 18 INCHES HIGH : CAST IN BRONZE FROM CLAY ORIGINAL BY HUGH CAWDRON