Military History Tours On Tour - RAAF in the UK 6 July 2011
Once again another very good day visiting areas where overseas travellers seem to miss. We visited RAF Elvington 19 kilometres from York. Elvington was an operational airfield during the War and had a few famous Halifax Squadrons operating from there.
At the end of the War, the RAF just walked off the site and it was taken over by a Yorkshire Historical Group and they saved it for posterity as the Yorkshire Air Museum. They have done a fabulous job and one can walk around the site and not only view the planes that operated there, and others, but be able to see how an airfield would have operated during the War.
The Tower has a number of rooms kitted out to show how it was run, including the period furniture and other necessary items. The Bomber Command display in one of the mess huts tells the complete story of the initial campaign until those final days in 1945, 55,000 casualties later. The photographic display tells the story of heros, to go back up each night to face that opposition to your operation must have taken much courage and fortitude.
Towards the end of our 3 hour visit, the air raid sirens sounded to bring us outside to witness the fly past of a lone Spitfire. He came in low over the airfield on 3 occasions and on the last he wobbled his wings to bid us fairwell. The noise of those Merlin engines as he swept over us really added the atmosphere to his visit and to ours. A wonderful experience for us.
We headed back into the walled city of York where the rest of the day was spent as free time viewing this city. The history of YORK pre-dates the Normans as it was an important Roman Town, the control centre for the North. There are many old and interesting buildings and the street named the Shambles is one of the quaintest street in the UK. Afternoon tea at one of the old tea rooms is a must before setting out to explore the city.
An early dinner tonight as a few are venturing back into the city to partake in the various evening tours. Tomorrow we head south to Lincoln where we will be visiting a few well known airfields and Museums.