Military History Tours On Tour - RAAF in the UK 8 July 2011
We spent the day moving around the Lincolnshire countryside and visited a number of both ex airfields and current airfields. All were active in the War and one had the famous Australian 460 Squadron operating from it. At East Kirby we were at the airfield from where 50, 51 and 467 Squadrons flew. Some in Lancasters others in Halifaxes and all continually leaving for German occupied Europe. Here also was the Lancaster that is used to ferry people around the airfield as it carries those who wish to feel close to the operation of those aircraft.
The area is laid out very well with specialised buildings covering various topics from escape to the War at Home. The tower has an excelent display with recored conversations between the tower and the incoming pilots.
Moving on to Coningsby, where the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is housed, we were taken through the hanger where the flight calls home and shown the Spitfires that are part of the flight. One of the Spitfires is an original that flew in the Battle of Britain and has been restored to continue flying into the future. Thesev planes were getting ready for their part in the Duxford Air Show next Sunday.
Woodhall Spa was an operating airfield but is no more and most of the land has been returned to agriculture but part of the site is still used by nearby RAF Coningsby. Petwood Hotel at Woodhall Spa was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force during the War and in 1943 it became theOfficers Mess of the famous 617 Squadron, the Dambusters.Today, the Squadron Bar is dedicated to this famous band of men.
Newark Museum was then visited with its huge collection of aeroplanes both pre and post WW2. As the rain fell we visited Swinderby and Waddington in turn. Swinderby is no more but during the War had many excellent squadrons operate from there including 455 Squadron fron Australia. Waddington is a current airfield which, due to the security, we were not able to gainaccess but circled the field to a viewing area wher Colleen Collins was able to take photos of the airfield from where her father operated during the Bombing Campaign.
Tomorrow we head south to Bedford and the Shuttleworth Collection hoping the weather clears over the next 2 days so that the Duxford Air Show proceeds.