Military History Tours On Tour - Bomber Command (RAAF in the UK) 20 July 2013
This was the first of our two touring days around Salisbury, after a very late arrival last night from Wolverhampton.
Graham set off early to the cake shop as when visiting Kevin Byrne, at Zeals, Graham supplies the cakes and Kevin the tea and coffee. Kevin has converted the control tower at the old Zeals Airfield into a lovely home and he has a very lovely location with views across the old airfield to the trees beyond. Due to his foresight and efforts this small part of the Battle of Britain will remain as a testament to those who flew from RAF Zeals. The tower is in the middle of his ½ an acre (2000m2) and has positioned a lovely, huge Gum Tree that provides a shaded position during these very hot days.
We said our farewells to Kevin and headed north about 3 kilometres to the site of a Dakota crash in February 1945 that took 21 lives, including 2 RAAF members. The actual site is accessed via a 500 metre walk down a saddle and up onto the high ground where the plane hit and where a memorial has been built with all the names of those lost detailed. We held a small service and then headed back to our coach.
Sutton Veny was the next location that we visited. Behind the church is a Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery that has mostly Australians interred here. There are also many of them including Matron Walker, the Matron of the hospital here, who succumbed to the Spanish flu in 1919. In this area during the First World War there were a number of hospitals and there was a train line nearby that allowed the wounded to be transported close to the hospitals in relative comfort.
Next was a lunch stop at the small village pub, the Red Lion. The Ploughman's Lunch and the scones, jam and clotted cream were well received. There was also a locally produced beer, produced at Sutton Veny, the adjoining village, that was one of the best that we had tasted on our journey. Following lunch we headed back to Salisbury so that our group could spend some time viewing this ancient city.
Tomorrow we visit two major museums.