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AviationPosted by Peter Smith Thu, November 30, 2017 22:38:48

Boxted was the last stop on our little tour last weekend with daylight almost gone. There is a small museum to go back to some day and a couple of buildings remain as pat of an industrial unit but this visit centred around the memorial which is at the end of one of the original runways.

The airfield was initially used by Marauders but then was home to the 354th and then 56th Fighter Groups which were the two most successful USAAF Groups in air to air combat in WWII.

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AviationPosted by Peter Smith Wed, November 29, 2017 22:54:16

Wormingford in Essex dates back to operations against Zeppelins in WWI but became properly active as a military field in 1942. Closed and sold off in the early 60's it is now home to a local gliding club. In the war it was home to the 362nd and 55th Fighter Groups and there is a memorial to the former. It is possible to walk a lot of the old peri track as it is a public footpath but parking nearby is not easy, we were loosing the daylight and still had one more port of call. So here's the memorial.

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Walmer re-born!

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Wed, November 29, 2017 18:13:19

I visited the former Walmer airfield nearly three years ago (see near the foot of this page to find that nothing really remains from its flying days, unsurprising since it closed in 1919. However, in May next year as part of a Vintage Air Rally the last airworthy Airco DH.9, flying from Belgium, will land at Walmer, the first aircraft to do so in 99 years. The last aircraft out of Walmer was also a DH.9!

I'll have to keep tabs on this smiley

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Kelvedon Hatch

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Tue, November 28, 2017 18:56:10

In full this is Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker which is just 6 miles down the road from North Weald. It started life post war as part of the Rotor Project which was the consolidation of former RAF radar sites in to 66 sites and Kelvedon Hatch was constructed on three levels largely underground with the façade of a bungalow to conceal the real purpose.

In time the site was converted in to a nuclear bunker with the holes through the plotting room floors replaced and the building being given the ability to be sealed from the outside world with its own water storage and general supplies to last at least three months for all service personnel inside which could number 600. It could have become a regional government HQ with the possibility of the Prime Minister being one of the occupants.

The bunker was deactivated about 25 years ago and is now a museum. It is quite sobering to visit and think about the purpose of the place. Basically the end of civilisation.

Here's a couple of pictures cribbed from the net as I was too tight to pay a fiver for a photo permit. Worth a visit if you are in the area.

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B-17G - Dry Gulcher

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, November 27, 2017 18:38:35

On 4th August 1944 whilst forming up for a raid on Peenemunde B-17 'Dry Gulcher' flying out of Ridgewell caught fire:

"Capt. Moore yelled at me to bail out and I didn't argue. I grabbed my chute from under the seat, buckled it on, and dropped down to the cat-walk. The engineer, S/Sgt. Carl T. Yankton, pulled the release handle and I kicked the escape door with my right foot and then the engineer bailed out. Then I hollered to the nose, and the navigator, 1st Lt. James W. Sneed bailed out next. The bombardier, 1st Lt. Charles Young wasn't ready to go, so I was third man to bail out." Capt. Moore said " I heard a sizzle, a rushing of air, and looking around saw a burst of flame in front of #4 bulkhead. The cockpit filled with smoke and due to the intense head, I yelled for Lt. Cupernall to bail out. I leaned over, rang the bail-out bell and called over the interphone as the ship started into a dive. I levelled the ship out, hooked on my parachute, opened the side window and stuck my head out so I could breathe. Opening the window made the flames burn all the more. By this time the entire cockpit was ablaze. I tried to pull the ship out of another dive, but realized that the cables were broken. I started to bail out but saw the bombardier fastening his chute. I yelled and motioned to him, he nodded, I grabbed his foot to be sure he was coming as I tumbled out of the escape hatch not realizing that the tail gunner, S/Sgt. Harold T. Norris was trapped in the plane by the cables."

Nine of the crew bailed out successfully but the tail gunner sadly perished in the crash as the aircraft came down, badly damaging Shalford Hall.

Today there is a memorial to the incident in Shalford village as I saw at the weekend.

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Earls Colne

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sun, November 26, 2017 19:02:14

Opening in 1942 this Essex airfield was under USAAF control by May the following year and was one of the first bases in England to operate the Flying Fortress. There is still a small flying strip alongside one of the original runways but most of the airfield is buried under a golf course and a business park.

We went to look at the memorial yesterday and then, by chance, went to the Marks Hall estate for a wander where we found a second memorial and some of the few WWII remains still extant.

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Fortress 43-38137

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sat, November 25, 2017 20:39:40

In the early morning of 15th October 1944 B-17G 43-38137 lost power on take off from Sudbury, reportedly due to a failed turbo on number 4 engine and crashed through a nearby farmhouse. A young occupant of the farm lost their life as did all of the crew apart from the pilot. Although the pilot survived he spent the rest of his life hospitalised until he passed away in 1976.

Today a commemorative plaque is on the wall at Tesco near the crash site, as I saw today. Propeller remains recovered in 1976 form a memorial at Barksdale, U.S.A.

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Sudbury revisited

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sat, November 25, 2017 18:58:27

A little over six years ago I visited Sudbury with Gaz on what was pretty much my first foray in to looking properly at old airfields. I went back that way today as there was 'unfinished business'. First port of call was in Sudbury itself. We previously visited the small memorial at the edge of the airfield but there is a much larger memorial to the 486th outside of St George's church in the town, so we paid our respects there. We then found the other end of the field from our previous visit where a hangar remains together with some peri track and the line of the main runway was also evident.

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Buchon flies

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sat, November 25, 2017 18:22:24

The ex Connie Edwards Buchon flew for the first time post restoration at Sywell yesterday with Richard Grace at the controls. It undertook a couple of flights and looked and sounded pretty good.

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Bruntingthorpe Jam 19-11-2017

AviationPosted by Gary Sun, November 19, 2017 17:36:42
The current status of Bruntingthorpe airfield as of 19-11-2017. Fiat 500 FG63-TKC and not TFC, has flown unlike Stephen Grey's Fiat which has not.smiley

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Bruntingthorpe OMG !! 19-11-2017

AviationPosted by Gary Sun, November 19, 2017 17:28:50
20 minutes away whilst visiting close family, I popped into Bruntingthorpe proving grounds in the vain hope of snapping a few aircraft with the box-brownie. However that was not to be the case and was staggered to see the amount of used and ex rental cars stored on the airfield. First thing that came to mind was the falling sales of new cars and to me it looks like the used car market is also falling into free-fall looking at all this on the airfield. Car transporters were turning up at the airfield whilst I was there and yes, a Sunday and all. Also it would appear the owners of the airfield are moving earth/grass to make more hard stands for the cars, so gives the expression that more motors are going to roll up soon and be there at Bruntingthorpe in the open for some time. No wonder one of the 'Cold War' jet event did not take place this year because it is wall to wall with stock. I looked and thought even at the £25 night photo-shoots you would need to work very hard to not get cars or vans in your shots. Beech restorations looks 'closed' and the blue C-45 in US Navy colours is parked outside with cockpit cover on and does not appear to be going anywhere fast. The last time I went to Bruntingthorpe, a security guard got sh*tty with me and said I'd never return but I'm pleased to say he was not at the gate house today whilst paying the very modest £5 entrance fee. Yes 'cash' only here and non of your contactless sh*t here I'm pleased to say. Anyway, without further delay, here's some images of the today's visit showing the full extent of the airfields current status. BTW 'punter's' are not allowed to venture beyond the Nimrod because of photography restrictions and health and safety issues, so forget about getting some nice snaps of the Comet Tri-Star (3) and VC 10 ex 10 Squadron ?. Warning : Road-one content of which the poster had no control over and some viewers might find distressing.

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AviationPosted by Gary Sat, November 18, 2017 08:39:12
Expect an 'SOE' boss on this one with a few things I'd like to point out.

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Just asking ......

AviationPosted by Gary Sat, November 18, 2017 08:35:41
Anything at all ?

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Douglas Boston III

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, November 13, 2017 23:33:14

Probably not the finest hour for Airfix this one. Some pretty rubbish panel gaps, had to raid the spares box for a couple of decals as the printing of the side roundels was way off and they forgot to print the reverse side of the info sheet, so no instructions. Good job I've a little experience!

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Going West

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, November 13, 2017 22:48:13

Hawker Hunter 'Miss Demeanour' failed to attract any interest to keep her active in the UK and has been sold to Lortie Aviation in Canada. Probably no real surprise, post Shoreham, but a shame never the less as this was an eye catching Hunter that was always well displayed when I saw her. Here she is at Manston, which will also being going west if the local council get their way!

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