Posts Tagged ‘September’

The Brooklands’ Loch Ness ‘Wellington’ Monster

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Brooklands Wellington

Thirty-five years ago today (September 21st 1985), there was frantic activity on the banks of Loch Ness as a ‘monster’ was hoisted from its depths.

This ‘monster’ was Wellington Bomber N2980, nicknamed ‘R for Robert.’

During a training exercise with 20 Operation Training Unit, based at RAF Lossiemouth, on December 31, 1939, this bomber was forced to ditch into Loch Ness due to engine failure where it remained, hidden and almost forgotten, for 46 years.

In 1985, the year the plane was recovered, Squadron Leader NWD Marwood-Elton, the pilot, recalled the night the plane went down.

“It was New Year’s Eve, and snowing slightly, but not too bad because the sun came out between the showers, and we took off from Lossiemouth (in Moray, Scotland) and headed out towards the west coast of Scotland, and whilst we were over the mountains the starboard engine spluttered and came to a stop.

“That in itself meant the aircraft could not fly back to Lossiemouth. It didn’t mean we had to bail out or force land immediately because we were at 8,000ft and had quite an amount of time, but we had to do something, and the first thing we did was to look round for somewhere to land and all we could we see was tops of mountains through the snow storms, and not seeing anywhere where the plane would have come down without crashing, I gave the order for them to bail out.

“I looked round again to see if there was any chance of a landing and, as luck would have it, Loch Ness came into sight. So I cancelled the order for bailing out and said we would land.”

One of the crew members, Sgt JS Fensome, 20, who did not hear the second order, bailed out and was killed. He is buried at the Holy Trinity Churchyard, in Biscot, Bedfordshire.

Marwood-Elton continued: “Landing on Loch Ness was a very easy thing because Loch Ness stretched out like a runway. The only difference was it was water, and of course below those waters was the monster and we weren’t quite certain what he would think about it.”

“We came on down and kept our undercarriage up, opened our escape hatch above us, and landed quite gently. A certain amount of spray came up automatically and it came in through our escape hatch so we got a nice dose of cold water over us. And the dinghy came out on the wing tip. So, we got out, walked along, got into the dinghy and the aircraft sank. And there it’s been all those years.”

Although the plane was recovered in 1985, the story of its discovery began in 1970 when Dr Robert H Rines, a wealthy patent lawyer from Boston, Massachusetts, Martin Klein, a pioneering American sonar expert, and Tim Dinsdale, embarked on an expedition to Loch Ness. The trio used a Klein side scan sonar to search the waters in a quest to find Nessie.

Subsequent surveys in 1980 and 1981 by Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, revealed that the old aircraft had been seriously damaged since it was first viewed in 1978. To save the aircraft and recover it before the damage became too great, in 1984 Robin Holmes, a senior lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, set up a charity called Loch Ness Wellington Association Ltd. Thanks to donations from the public and a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant, a recovery operation was mounted in 1985.

Robin said: “The first attempt proved to be a total disaster when the lifting frame collapsed. Another lifting frame was hurriedly designed ‘on the back of an envelope’ and sent off to be built at an engineering company located on the Moray Firth. This time, the recovery was successful and old ‘R for Robert’ was craned out of the water at Bona Lighthouse, up at the north end of Loch Ness, on September 21, 1985.”

Following its recovery, the salvaged material was donated to Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, a suitable home as ‘R for Robert’ was first assembled at the Vickers Armstrongs factory in Weybridge in October 1939.

In the intervening years, over 100,000 volunteer hours have been spent restoring the aircraft. Fully restored, the Loch Ness Wellington today takes pride of place in the museum.

www.brooklandsmuseum.com

Commemorating Battle of Britain 80 at the RAF Museum

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Battle of Britain Commemoration

2020 is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (BoB) which is recognised as the country’s finest hour. The Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the country to remember this significant story of bravery, international alliances and ingenuity both at the Museum and online.

On the evening of Thursday 17 September, the RAF Museum London held a small, private and socially distanced ceremonial event commemorating Battle of Britain 80 and the opening of the new Battle of Britain display and art exhibition.

Full precautions were in place to ensure the small group of guests at the ceremony, adhered to the social distancing laws. In attendance were Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston CBE ADC Chief of the Air Staff (CAS); Air Marshal Andrew Turner CB CBE MA MSC BA FRAES CCMI RAF DCOM Cap; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, KCB, CBE, DFC, ADC; Malcolm Brecht CB CBE – Director C-17 International Field Services at Boeing Global Services; Maggie Appleton MBE (RAF Museum CEO) and Sir Andrew Pulford GCB CBE DL RAF Museum Chair).

The ceremony featured QCS, Sunset Ceremony and a flypast by a BBMF Spitfire. To conclude the evening RAF veteran Benny Goodman was presented with an early birthday present ahead of his 100th birthday by RAF CAS and the Chelsea Football Club Foundation.’

The London Museum is home to the most complete set of Battle of Britain aircraft in the world including the ‘fighter four’: Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt 109 and Fiat CR42, all participants in the BoB. This year they will be supported by new displays telling the wider BoB story, including an enigma machine, Dowding and Goering’s busts and medals, and Newall’s uniform. Complimenting the new display will be stunning year-long art exhibition: In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. The exhibition will present over 50 works of art created in response to the war in the air by acclaimed artists such as Nash, Kennington, Laura Knight, Graham Sutherland, Nessler, Nevinson and Olga Lehmann.

The RAF Museum is FREE to enter and has sites at both London and the West Midlands. With wide open spaces both inside and out, the Museum is a great and safe day out for all the family and will be commemorating BoB 80 with a series of special events and exhibitions.

www.rafmuseum.org

26th September 2020 Aeroboot Cancelled

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

Newark Aeroboot Cancelled

The Newark Air Museum (NAM) has taken the decision to cancel the Aeroboot /Aerojumble Sale that was due to take place on its Southfield Site on Saturday 26th September, 2020.

This decision has been reached following some detailed in-house discussions; and in response to the legislation changes announced recently by the government, who were responding to the increased levels of coronavirus infection around the UK.

The NAM had delayed sending out the participation passes to sellers as it tried to design a one-way system around the proposed sale. This was aimed at trying to encourage social distancing, but allowed people to access all sellers fairly. Based on observations at previous outdoor sales, NAM recognised that this was going to be challenging. One possible solution was that we may have been forced to request sellers did not put up gazebos and awnings; something that was not perhaps ideal for an outdoor sale of this type.

NAM was planning to use a voluntary listing system to meet our Track and Trace obligations for sellers and buyers attending the sale. However, the recent changes to the Track and Trace legislation, meant that as event organisers NAM would now have a legal obligation to record everyone’s information, or risk a fine. Given the outdoor nature of the event and the challenges of capturing the required information without creating unduly long queues, it was realised this was not going to be a viable option.

Furthermore, a review of the locations that some sellers were travelling from indicated that they were likely to be travelling from areas of the country that were already subject to additional coronavirus restrictions already. As such the trustees felt uncomfortable encouraging people to meet up at a special event.

The decision to cancel, was not taken lightly and NAM does appreciate that this could upset some people. However, many sellers and buyers often travel long distances to attend the event and it was felt necessary to give these people as much notice as possible of our intentions.
The NAM is sorry for any inconvenience these changes may cause but we are convinced that it is the right decision.

www.newarkairmuseum.org

Untold Battle of Britain Podcast to be launched on Battle of Britain Day

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Battle of Britain podcast

The National Archives, the RAF and the RAF Museum will release a collaborative bonus episode of On the Record at The National Archives to mark Battle of Britain Day on 15 September.

Listen to the trailer here.

80 years on from the conflict, this episode focuses on lesser-known figures from the Battle of Britain to highlight the variety of people who contributed to the military campaign.

Vicky Iglikowski-Broad (The National Archives) reveals the bravery of three women who kept contact lines open while their airbase was under fire. Lucia Wallbank (RAF Museum) tells the story of Mahinder Singh Pujji and Vincent Bunting, two of the many pilots from overseas who enlisted to fight, while Mandy Singleton (RAF) highlights the engineers who maintained the planes and kept pilots safe.

www.rafmuseum.org

Conway engine arrives at Newark Air Museum

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

Conway engine arrives at Newark Air Museum

On Tuesday 1st September 2020, the latest addition to Newark Air Museum’s collection of aero engines arrived at the museum site in eastern Nottinghamshire, close to the county border with Lincolnshire. Today’s arrival was a Rolls-Royce Conway engine RC 042-540.

The engine was transported from its former location at Bruntingthorpe, Leics, over to Newark thanks to the generous support by members of the VC10 Preservation Group. As an Accredited Museum, the trustees of Newark Air Museum were able to accept the transfer of the existing loan agreement between RAF Brize Norton and the VC10 Preservation Group.

This is a cutaway R-R Conway engine prepared by British Airways (BA) apprentices in 1981. The cut away engine is powered electrically, with rotating parts, which are displayed behind Perspex covers. The engine is noted for having flown 31,587 hours’ in a BA VC10 and fills another gap in the museum’s extensive aero engine collection. Initially it will be displayed in Hangar 2 close to its off-loading point, but eventually it is hoped that it will be displayed close to the museum’s TriStar CIM at the eastern end of the building.

“We are extremely grateful to Chris Haywood and Jason Kelly from the VC10 Preservation Group for helping us to complete this latest acquisition”, commented museum trustee Colin Savill, he continued. “Based on my own RAF service career the VC10 is an aircraft type that is close to my heart, and it is great that we have been able to secure this Conway engine that in itself was an important part of the VC10 fleet.”

He concluded, “We look forward to being able to demonstrate some of the workings of the mighty Conway to the public in the coming weeks and months!”

www.newarkairmuseum.org

Air Tattoo Savings are Just the Ticket

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Royal International Air Tattoo

Tickets for next summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo have gone on sale, with special discounts available for a limited period.

The airshow, which this year attracted 245 aircraft and around 170,000 visitors, will turn the spotlight on the world’s fighter pilots and the vital role they perform in protecting national – and international – security around the clock and at a moment’s notice.

Taking place at RAF Fairford on July 17-19, 2020, the airshow will once again feature two full show days on the Saturday and Sunday, with more than seven hours’ flying on each day, with a preview highlights day on the Friday featuring a four-hour display.

An Air Tattoo spokesman said: “With next year marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain it’s an ideal time to focus on the aircraft and pilots whom many consider aviation’s ‘elite’.”

Friday tickets are currently priced at £44, a saving of £10 on the full advance price; a limited number of Saturday tickets are being made available priced £54, a saving of £5 on the full advance price while Sunday tickets are currently priced £49, offering a saving of £10.

The spokesman said: “Tickets for each of the three days of this year’s airshow were priced the same and the feedback we received was that ticket prices for Friday and Sunday should have been cheaper than for the more popular Saturday.

“We are committed to ensuring the flying display programmes on Saturday and Sunday are as similar as possible. Nevertheless, we are keen to encourage people to attend on the Sunday simply because of the overwhelming demand we experience for Saturday which sells out early every year.”

Multi-day discounts will continue to be offered as will free parking and free entry for all under-18s who attend with an adult ticket holder. For full details about the various ticket prices and enclosure options, visit www.airtattoo.com

Top five things to see and do at the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow

Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 September 2019
Tickets from £35; kids go free*

The Battle of Britain Air Show returns to IWM Duxford this weekend, with the site transforming into a film set in commemoration of the 1969 Battle of Britain film. Visitors can expect a mass Spitfire flypast, historic film screenings and vintage makeovers.

Here are the top five things to look out for over the epic weekend:

1. Gaze up at original Second World War fighter aircraft
From Hawker Hurricanes to a Bristol Blenheim, the Battle of Britain Air Show will showcase an array of fighter and bomber aircraft in daring flying displays. The air show will culminate in a mass flight of 18 Supermarine Spitfires, synonymous with the Battle of Britain in 1940.

2. Watch historic Duxford footage from Imperial War Mumseums’ film archives
Visitors can watch rarely seen films from IWM’s archives, include amateur footage taken by Prince William of Gloucester at the Battle of Britain (1969) film set a RAF Duxford. Second World War footage taken during King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1941, and of the US Air Force’s fighter pilots based at Duxford, will also be screened.

3. Have a vintage makeover and enter the ‘best dressed’
A wardrobe department will be on hand with aviation-themed costumes to help visitors look the part in IWM Duxford’s film set. Hair and makeup gurus Pretty Me Vintage will demonstrate how to create 1940s victory rolls, while traders will be offering an array of garments, from bomber jackets to boiler suits.

4. Get lost in the Land Warfare Hall
The costume and props worn by American soldiers in the exhibition hall were originally costumes in Spielberg’s D-Day classic Saving Private Ryan, and the Tiger Tank featured in the film. Further along the Normandy Experience trail, visitors can spot General Montgomery’s campaign caravans, used during Operation Overlord in 1944.

5. Pick up a Spitfire souvenir
Air show visitors can browse through IWM Duxford’s shops, and pick up anything from a Spitfire keyring to a RAF Irvin flying jacket.

www.iwm.org.uk

Flight simulation show just got bigger!

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Flight Sim 2019 at RAF Museum Cosford

Date: 5-6 October 2019
Time: 9.30am to 5:00pm (4.00pm Sunday)
Cost:
£10 per day/ £18 weekend pass (advance)
£12 per day/£22 weekend pass (on the day)
Free entry for under 14’s, when accompanied by a paying adult.

Aviation fans can experience the best that desktop flying has to offer when Flight Sim 2019 takes place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford next month.

The Museum will host the event delivered by Just Flight, for a seventh consecutive year which attracts more than 2,000 visitors. Due to popular demand, this year’s show has been extended to a two-day event and will take place in the Museum’s Hangar 1 on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October. Set against a backdrop of aircraft including the world’s first jet airliner, the Comet, visitors can enjoy a weekend packed full of the latest software and presentations from the experts.

Over 30 exhibitors are already confirmed to attend which includes leading companies in flight simulation; Laminar Research, Orbx, Aerosoft, Honeycomb Aeronautical and Infinite Flight to name but a few. With more exhibitors expected to join the line-up and a full weekend of presentations taking place in the adjoining auditorium, organisers are looking forward to welcoming visitors to their biggest show to date.

Suitable to new and veteran desktop pilots alike and any aviation enthusiasts who are keen to find out more about life in the virtual skies. Flight Sim attendees can enjoy the very best of both the virtual and the real worlds of aviation at the same venue, as there will be ample opportunity to explore the aircraft and exhibits at the RAF Museum over the weekend, where entry is free.

Whilst exploring the Museum, make sure you step inside the new Virtual Reality Zone and experience the thrill of flying in a Spitfire. The VR goggles place you in the cockpit and 10,000 feet in the air for a panoramic view of a real Spitfire flight…..it’s a must for those who love virtual reality!

Save money by booking your ticket in advance at www.flightsimshow.com, where you can also keep up to date with all the latest news about exhibitors and events over the weekend. Flight Sim 2019 is organised and hosted by Just Flight, in association with media sponsor PC Pilot magazine.

The RAF Museum Cosford is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free. Further information can be found at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

Newly digitised footage of 1969 Battle of Britain film to be screened at Duxford air show

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Prince William of Gloucester

• Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show will celebrate the history of cinema at IWM Duxford, 21-22 September
• Footage was filmed by and features a rare royal glimpse of Prince William of Gloucester, and will be screened on both air show days at 12.30pm and 3.45pm in the AirSpace Zone

 Imperial War Museums (IWM) has digitised and released rarely seen footage of the making of the 1969 Battle of Britain film, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Michael Caine classic and IWM Duxford’s annual Battle of Britain Air Show.

 The striking amateur footage was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester, who can also been seen inside the cockpit of a Spitfire on IWM Duxford’s airfield. A trained pilot, the prince was tragically killed in an air race in 1972.

 The unique behind-the-scenes footage of director Guy Hamilton’s 1969 film, which tells the story of the Allied victory over the Luftwaffe in 1940, shows the production crew preparing for the shoot including testing pyrotechnics. While filming part of the Eagle Day sequence at RAF Duxford, the crew deliberately exploded and destroyed one of the airfield’s First World War Air hangars.

 IWM Duxford, Britain’s best preserved Second World War airfield, has played a significant role in the history of filmmaking in Britain. This year’s Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show, which takes place 21-22 September at IWM Duxford, will celebrate the site’s place in cinema history – and will be screening Prince William of Gloucester’s amateur footage along with other classics over the two-day festival.

 Jane Fish, senior film curator at IWM, said: “The footage has rarely been seen outside of the family of Prince William of Gloucester, and so it’s wonderful to have been able to digitise it and make it accessible for people. It’s a really evocative glimpse into the making of Battle of Britain film, and you can even see the production team preparing special effects, including a small explosion on a bomber aircraft. The fact that it was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester gives the footage even more of a rich historical association.”

 The air show will include displays from an array of original Second World War aircraft, including P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts, and will culminate in a mass flypast of 18 Spitfires. Four Búchon fighter jets with Luftwaffe markings, which starred in the 1969 Battle of Britain film, will also take flight.

 The air show will also feature the Bremont Great War display team, who starred in George Clooney’s The Monuments Men (2014), and aircraft from films including Memphis Belle (1990); Pearl Harbour (2001), Dunkirk (2017) and Squadron 303 (2018).

 On the ground, IWM Duxford will be transformed into a film set once again, giving visitors the opportunity to dance their way into a party scene, or step in as an extra and deliver their lines. History lovers can watch cinematic footage from IWM’s archives, while fashionistas can enter a best dressed competition, or try on a costume from the wardrobe department.

 You can find out more about the air show below, and see trailers here.

‘Father of the RAF’ Lord Trenchard’s truck now on display

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Bedford truck at RAF Museum Cosford

A Bedford MWC 15cwt Truck that was specially prepared to act as the bier for the ‘Father of the Royal Air Force’, Lord Trenchard’s funeral in 1956 is now on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

After years in storage, the truck has undergone conservation work led by the Museum’s team of volunteers from the Conservation and Engineering team. This latest addition to the collection can now be seen on display in the Museum’s Hangar 1 in its original condition.

The Bedford War Department type truck was designed as a light utility military truck. During the Second World War period (1939-1945) nearly 66,000 examples were produced for service use. The RAF utilised them as general crew and transport trucks, and some were also made as anti-aircraft gun platforms and mobile water tanks.

The Museum’s example, registration 05 AS 35, was especially prepared to tow the trailer carrying the first Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Viscount Hugh Trenchard’s coffin at his funeral on 21 February 1956. The procession saw his coffin taken from the Air Ministry in Whitehall to Westminster Abbey where his ashes were laid to rest in the RAF Chapel.

The RAF Chapel at Westminster Abbey is dedicated to the RAF aircrew casualties of the Battle of Britain and Viscount Trenchard himself headed a committee to raise funds for a stained-glass window and the furnishing of this chapel. His ashes are interred there along with Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Bomber Harris. A service is held there each year on the Sunday following Battle of Britain Day (15 September) to remember the RAF personnel who lost their lives during the Battle of Britain.

RAF Museum Cosford Assistant Curator, Clare Carr said:
“We’re delighted to add the Bedford MWC 15cwt Truck to our collection of vehicles on public display at Cosford. It was a versatile military vehicle and this particular example played an important role in Viscount Trenchard’s funeral, arguably the man who single-handedly laid the foundations for the Royal Air Force during the inter war years, earning him the affectionate title the ‘Father of the Royal Air Force’.

The truck was last on display for the RAF 50th Anniversary Royal Review at RAF Abingdon on 14/15 June 1968 and was acquired by the RAF Museum shortly after. Now, after more than 50 years in storage, the Bedford truck can be seen on display alongside other aircraft and vehicles in Hangar 1.”

The RAF Museum Cosford is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free. Further information can be found at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.