Taken from Keysoe Road, Thurleigh, the control tower for the 306th Bomb Group of which my old man Cpl Leroy Lokey was a part on the ground crew. I had gone to photograph the Eighth Air Force memorial in Keysoe Road only to find that after over sixty years it had been moved to the 306th Bomb Group Museum in Thurleigh Aerodrome! The airfield was built in 1941 and on 7th September 1942 the 306th Group started to arrive with some of their B17s flying the following week. This Group were the first over Germany and from October 1942 the 306th mounted a long and arduous offensive suffering many losses. The Group completed their long war on the 19th April 1945 which was their 342nd mission, the second highest for any B17 Group. During its time at Thurleigh over 9600 sorties had been flown with the loss of 171 aircraft in action and over 22500 tons of bombs were dropped. In 1946 construction work began on the airfield to turn it into what became known as the R.A.E., the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Bedford. This is where a lot of test flying took place in the fifties and this included aircraft I used to hear about as a boy, living nearby in Sharnbrook, such as the Fairey Delta, and indeed many of the test pilots lived in our village and we went to school with their kids. Susan McCreith I know has died, and there was Pauline Larson whose father was killed in the "Flying Bedstead" accident in the late fifties and Mick Thurstan who was at Bedford Modern School with me. Where are you now Mick & Pauline?
Went back to photograph this memorial again only to find that after sixty years or more it has been re-located to the 306 Bomb Group museum in Thurleigh Aerodrome! It has been re-dedicated and I shall soon be paying the museum a visit. Watch this space!
And Sally B comes in with the Needles on the Isle of Wight in the background. The Needles are three distinctive stacks of chalk which rise out of the sea on the western extremity of the Isle of Wight close to Alum Bay. The Needles Lighthouse can just be seen on the right hand side of the Needles. Built in 1859 it has been fully-automated since 1994. The formation takes its name from a fourth needle-shaped pillar called Lot's Wife that collapsed in a storm in 1764. The remaining rocks are not needle-like but the name has stuck. And not a lot of people know that!!!
As popular as ever, the show opener! Spot the missing aircraft as Red 3's wife went into labour that day and so the Reds ran "one short"!!!
Our last surviving flying Lancaster with landing gear down. The only other flyer, Canadian Heritage's FM213, over here for two months, should have been displaying but she went defective on the day! RFA Argus is part of the Royal Navy. Italian-built she was formerly the container ship MV Contender Bezant. The ship was requisitioned in 1982 for service in the Falklands War and purchased outright in 1984 for use as an Aviation Training Ship. In 1991 during the Gulf War she was fitted with an extensive and fully functional hospital to assume the additional role of Primary Casualty Receiving Ship and in 2009 the PRCS became its primary function.
Thanks Geoff......... now back in Madeira.......... sweatin' cobs !
Cheers from Dave.
...........and to the rear two more of my "on the list" aircraft, a Hawker Hunter and a Hawker Sea Hawk!!!
Called in at Guildford en route to Dunsfold Wings & Wheels festival just up the road. This castle is thought to have been built shortly after the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror. After the battle William led his army to Canterbury sacking, (I love that description), towns along the Pilgrim's Way including Guildford. Later William or one of his barons built this castle. There is no record of it in the Domesday Book so construction probably started after 1086. The grounds look superb and I only wish I'd had more time to have a look around.
"Vera" as it is known is one of only two surviving flying Lancasters and this one is over here for two months performing at numerous displays with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flights PA474. This Lancaster wears KB726 in memory of Canadian Air Force VC winner Lt Andrew Mynarski whose Lancaster bore that serial and it was the one he was shot down in when he won his VC trying to save his rear gunner. He was badly burned trying to get his crewman out of the turret and was told to bale out and save himself. However he died of his injuries and ironically his rear gunner survived the crash, and the other five members of the crew having already bailed out, also survived. It is known as the "Mynarski Memorial Lancaster". This sight will never be seen in our skies again and it was a privilege to see this aircraft two weeks in a row having seen it at Shuttleworth the week before.
Two Boeing Stearman bi-planes here with two stunning women on top. The positions they can get into are mind-blowing and that's only on top of these aircraft!!!