RAF Shinfield Park

Headquarters Flying Training Command 

(27th May 1940 - 1st June 1968)

Sonja Fehringer (nee Schimmel)

Memories of Sonja

Unfortunately, Sonja’s son Martin Fehrer, reported his mother’s death in early 2006 in Australia. 

Andre Francis (Webmaster) searched the old website and uncovered the following communications and information.

Martin sent these email messages on Jan 26/30th 2017.

My name is Martin Fehringer and Sonja Fehringer was my mother. My mother passed away eleven years on this day and I have been hunting for more images of her past whilst in the RAF and others years before we moved to Australia. My mother met my Father whilst they were representing their respective countries (RAF & Luftwaffe) and I have also followed their steps by joining the RAAF. I am so happy I have found your site and can see some more photos of my mother.If there are any photos I would love to see them as well.

My mothers name is Sonja Dorothy Schimmel. You have already a couple of photos of her in the album which was under other people's names from the 60s. I was hoping some of the friends she had than may be able to provide more data.    Regards,

Jacquie Kitson knew Sonja and contacted Martin. This is her email of Feb 15 2017:

Just to let you know I have written to Martin Fehringer, who was on the RAF Shinfield Website asking about his mother, the above. Well I knew and worked with her at White Waltham.

A few of us that knew Sonja wondered where she was now and had in the past tried to find her. Sadly that is impossible now but it was a shock to see the piece on the site news as I only looked at it to show my daughter, as she is looking at properties that way.

John South knew Sonja and has since contacted Martin. This is his email of April 10 2017:

Hallo Martin, Have just returned from a Shinfield Park reunion and went onto the website this evening to see the updates. I see that you are appealing for people that knew your Mother and that is why I am writing:-

I was at Shinfield Park from late 1965 to when the station closed in 1968 and can remember Sonja well. Such a popular and attractive girl and I was saddened to hear of her passing. I was one of her many admirers but really the only time I talked to her was in February 1968 - we were both in the RAF hospital at Halton where I was having my tonsils removed and she was in the nearby female ward - don't know why she was there but I have a note of the date and it was the 12th February 1968. 

One of her close friends was Pauline (Sandy) Sanderson and I think they must have worked together - they certainly lived in the same WRAF accommodation and were often seen together. Sandy seems to have vanished without trace and several people have tried to track her down without success. I have no photos of your Mum and no further information but I can remember what a bright and engaging girl she was. Best Wishes to you.

Received further information from Pauline on 30 Sep 2020 by email:

Some information regarding Sonja as requested (from her son Martin Fehrer):

"Just some Information regarding Mum and the family. Mum and Dad left Germany to Australia in late 1982. We have all lived here in Brisbane (surrounds) ever since. Mum passed away early in 2006 from cancer related illness. Mum survived a massive brain tumour in 1992 and continued on but was never the same "energy driven" person she used to be but still enjoying life. Even though Mum didn't rejoin the forces, she did work for QLD police as a civilian for about 20 years. I hope some of this history sheds a little light on what has happened with Mum."



Sonja

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Sonja and Jacquie

Pauline related her special memories of Sonja by email on 30 Sep 2020

Sonja and I had some special times together when we met at RAF Shinfield Park. She was fun to be with. We had many visits to London on our weekends off and participated fully in events both on and off camp. We loved dressing up for fancy dress dances both on and off camp at nearby Arborfield. When I left the WRAF from RAF Brampton, Sonja visited me in my home town of Middlesbrough. It was as if we were still serving together, we were both still characters! I never saw her again but I will always remember her with fondness. She met and married a German gentleman and eventually moved to Australia

Pauline sent the photos of Sonja at left on 30 Sep 2020

If anyone has any further information, please contact the Webmaster.

© Andre Francis 2020