WWII Lancaster mascot Mr Fox 'absent without leave'

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image source, Metheringham Airfield Visitors Centre
image captionMr Fox was dressed in red coat and jodhpurs, 15 inches tall, with the accomplished missions written on his leg

An RAF mascot which accompanied crews on bombing runs during World War Two has been reported missing.

Staff at Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre said the stuffed toy was loaned out last year, but was never returned.

Mr Fox is described as wearing a red coat and jodhpurs, and has details of some of the missions he was on written on his leg.

The mascot was on more than 30 bombing raids with 106 Squadron, including one the night before D-Day.

image source, Getty Images
image captionDuring the war, 59 Lancaster bombers and 300 air crew from the base at Metheringham were lost

Visitor centre chairman Andy Marson said the mascot, which belonged to Flt Sgt Bill Hovey, a navigator with the squadron, was a very important part of the airfield's history,

He said: "From March 1944 to August 1944 - Flt Sgt Hovey completed some 36 operations - which is quite something - so obviously Mr Fox was quite lucky for him.

"Mr Fox is the one surviving crew member from all those operations, and has gone absent without leave, and obviously we want him back."

'Jog memories'

The mascot went missing last summer when he was loaned out for a display, but due to a mix up with the paperwork it is not known who took him.

The error came to light as staff were preparing displays for the 2017 season.

Mr Marson said: "What's probably happened is he's got packed up after a display and is languishing in a store room somewhere."

He is hoping the appeal might jog people's memories.

RAF Metheringham, in Lincolnshire, was home to 106 Squadron from 1943 until 1946.

During the war, 59 Lancaster bombers and 300 air crew from the base were lost.

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