Military History Tours On Tour - Bomber Command (RAAF in the UK) 16 July 2013
Staying at the beautiful Petwood Woodhall Spa was excellent in that there was an aura of history both for the period of the War and before. The house was built in 1905 for Baroness Grace Von Eckhardstein, in a sad marriage that ended in divorce in 1909. She was Grace Maple, the only surviving daughter of Sir Blundell Maple, the owner of the world famous furniture store. She loved the 40 acres of wooded land which she thought of as her “Pet Wood”.
Extensions followed as did the gardens, designed by Harold Peto, and they opened to the public in 1911. During the First World War the house became a convalescent Hospital and had 50 beds for soldiers with Lady Grace carrying out many of the nursing duties. Requisitioned by the RAF in 1942, it became an officer’s mess and the famous 617 Sqn, the Dambusters, lived here as they trained at Scampton for that special raid. After the war the home was sold and the current owner has been operating the hotel here since 1996.
We said goodbye to Woodhall Spa and made our way to Scampton where we were met at the security gate by our guides from the Museum that has now been given one of the hangers on the base. They boarded our coach and we then proceeded onto the base where we toured the area, visited the hanger where the Red Arrows are kept, visited the grave of Nigger, Guy Gibson’s dog and visited Guy Gibson’s office before moving into their new museum.
We were then taken into the area where the Red Arrow planes were being serviced. Following that visit we were able to see one of the Red Arrows go through flight preparation and then to take off into the wide blue yonder.
We had been invited to attend Metheringham Heritage Aircraft Centre and set off to have lunch with the Society.
An excellent Ploughman's lunch with a beer chaser, very nutritious.
We left to head north to York, however they really want us to return.
After we left Metheringham we headed to Ludford Magna for Barbara Marks and Binbrook for John and Linda Herily and Peter and Norma Pope as Peter's brother was in 460 squadron and died near Cambridge and buried in the Cambridge City Cemetery.
Moving on, we visited other sites where family had flew from during the War.
We struggled into York as the sun was setting.
Tomorrow is a free ˝ day in York.