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Military History Tours          On Tour - RAAF in the UK 6 July 2010


We were going to Evington airfield today which is the only airfield that remains as it was in 1945. On the way we went to Breighton which was the field from which 460 Squadron RAAF operated from 1942 to 1943. The airfield is now in private hands, the pavement can be seen as well as two large hangers. A flying club flies from one of the runways as the rest is now a factory/business complex.

Today was the anniversary of a tragic incident which happened at RAAF Butterworth 34 years ago to the day. During specialized training one Mirage landed on another killing the pilot in the lowest aircraft. A short ceremony was held by Ron Magrath, who was the CO of 3 Squadron, the unit to which the deceased pilot belonged. A poignant moment held at an airfield which had a great significance to the RAAF. As a result of this accident the RAAF dentist was required to confirm the identity of the dead airman from dental records and the RAAF forensic unit was born under the guidance of the then dentist FLTLT (now AIRCDRE) Chris Griffiths.

We then moved on to Elvington, delayed by some minor road works which meant a five mile detour. Arriving at 10.15 we were briefed and set out into historic site. All the buildings remain, set up to display the period with the control tower, pilot briefing room, accommodation huts, NAAFI and a French Pilots accommodation area. From here two French squadrons flew, a photograph of one of the French pilots receiving his DFC was on display. We were greatly pleased to see the Victor tanker, which featured in the film Dr Strangelove, was being maintained which allowed a few of us to climb up into the cockpit. A new addition to the collection was a recently retired Nimrod maritime surveillance aircraft which had been based on the ill feted Comet airliner. The collection of course was headlined by a Hallifax which is the centre piece of the collection. It was also good to see the Mosquito almost completely restored.

A coffee in the NAAFI and we were on our way back to York where a free afternoon allowed us to explore the beauty of York. A beer in the Three Legged Mare and a glass of Wonkey Donkey to remove the dust was enjoyed by Peter Irving, Graham Fleeton and Alan Lyons.

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