A new aviation documentary channel is due to launch in the autumn of 2019. Aviators Lounge aims to be a window into the world of historic aviation, featuring videos, podcasts, films and blogs. To sign up to their mailing list and be kept informed of launch progress, click on this link to Aviators Lounge TV for imminent Chocks Away!
The Maidenhead Heritage Centre has done some splendid work by adding a wealth of resources to their Air Transport Auxiliary pages on a tremendous new website. Congratulations to web master Matthew.
Check out what is available – from the ATA Ferry Pilots Log Books collection, to an impressive Photographic Section, from a Personnel Database, to an Online Archive.
The photo above is one example – Wing Walking with a difference! My thanks to Maidenhead Heritage Museum for permission to use it here.
The Museum website is the ‘Go To’ site for Researchers of ATA history and for all ATA Admirers.
Follow this link to Air Transport Auxiliary Museum and Archive.
A round up of news announcements for the D-Day 75 events:
President Donald Trump may attend the D-Day 75 Commemorations at Southsea and Portsmouth, along with other Heads of State including the Queen of England.
On Wednesday 5 June events will get off to a flying start with a Fly Past of 26 Royal Air Force aircraft over Southsea Common.
It is hoped that about 300 British Veterans will be able to attend to be honoured in the commemorations.
On Friday 7 June an original piece of work will be performed for the first time, ‘D-Day 75: A Musical Documentary.’
Composed by Jason Olsen of Britain, it will be performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, on Southsea Common.
This unique work will be a collection of memories and stories by the D-Day Veterans, as retold by them to some Portsmouth schoolchildren, and set to music by James Olsen.
Southwick Revival (Portsdown Hill) has announced an addition to their guest speaker list in the Village Marquee, former BBC war reporter Martin Bell (the Man in the White Suit).
Bell adopted this persona when he stood for election as a parliamentary MP during the height of the MPs’ expenses scandal ten years ago.
He wrote an entertaining book on the scandal, ‘A Very British Revolution.’
His latest book is called, ‘War and the Death of News: From Battlefield to Newsroom – My Fifty Years in Journalism.’ Martin will be at Southwick on Saturday 8 June.
Follow this link to book a ticket at Southwick Revival.
D-Day 75 at Daedalus, Lee-on-the-Solent (Solent Airport), has a two day event set for Saturday 8 June and Sunday 9 June.
Display teams include the wing walkers AeroSuperBatics, the Round Canopy Display Team parachutists and the Great War Display Team.
Tickets are selling very fast.
Follow this link to D-Day 75 at Daedalus for more tickets.
In Southampton a different activity is taking place.
The Maritime Archaeology Trust is working on a major project to record the names of troops who etched their names onto a wall as they waited to depart for France.
The men also scratched in the names of their home towns.
Volunteers are wanted to research the names and towns to try to record the story of those men.
The greater task will be trying to locate the Veteran survivors or their descendants.
The old wall of names needs to be preserved as time and weather has started to erode the etchings.
The Trust aims to create an online interactive 3D model.
An estimated 3.5 million troops left for France via Southampton between D-Day June 6, 1944 and the end of the war.
Of that number, two million were American.
The other 1.5 million were British and Canadian.
They left the shores of the Solent as various points along the beaches.
Any super genealogists who want to get involved, follow this link to Maritime Archaeology Trust.
Many Canadians left from places like Stokes Bay, Gosport.
Many of the British left from Hardway, Gosport, (including my uncle who could see his beloved Isle of Wight across the water and tantalisingly out of reach):
More update news will appear here as it comes in.
Wight Aviation Museum announce the good news that they have secured the Britten-Norman cushion craft CC7 XX102 C/N 005, the second to last built. Supporters have donated £1,100 so far, which will pay for the transportation from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to the Isle of Wight.
A loan has been secured to purchase the craft so fundraising continues apace to repay the loan.
Phil Phillips, regular contributor to this website, has supplied this photo of the engine bay of sister cushion craft of C/N 001.
Phil did all the electrical wiring. He proudly says, “All my own work!”
John Kenyon, Chair of Wight Aviation Museum, has announced, “We are very grateful to people that worked on this craft for contacting us and offering to help us with restoration.
Additional support has been provided by the Hovercraft Museum, who has a sister craft CC7 in their museum at Lee on Solent, and Warwick Jacobs, the founding father of that museum. We really appreciate their help.
There will be a dedicated WAM Cushioncraft team on the ground at Sandown Isle of Wight Airport including our hovercraft guru Nikki Wilkes who has a vast knowledge and contacts we can tap into to support this project.”
“Finally, we still need a substantial amount of money, c.£15,000, to do a professional job of restoration to bring it up to a high quality museum exhibit and to repay the original loan. Please use the same platform listed below until 30 April to remit funds direct, so everyone can see the total climbing!
The appeal will close on 30 April 2019 as BT has withdrawn their MyDonate support to Charities.
After this date we will be reopening the appeal on another platform, Virgin Money Giving.
Thank you all for your continuing support.”
To commemorate the anniversary of the D-Day Landings, which took place 75 years ago on 6 June 1944, an event will take place at Solent Airport, Lee-on-the-Solent, on the weekend of 8 and 9 June, 2019.
Five years ago a similar event was staged at the same venue.
In addition to the airfield displays, the town of Lee joined in with style.
The High Street was transported back to the era.
Shops and businesses made their own creative mark on the occasion.
Re-enactors looked the part.
Jitterbug dancers and singers got everyone in the mood.
Charity stall holders all added to the atmosphere.
Here is a selection of images from that day.
This year a weekend of festivities is planned by Fareham Borough Council at the airfield, which includes static aircraft displays, music, children’s motor cycle display team, vintage cars, stalls, some flying aircraft, and much more.
Watch this space for more news.
Much has been written in recent years about a heroine from the Second World War, whose timely invention and its major significance to the Royal Air Force, was not fully recognised until years after the event. Now, almost 30 years after the lady died, her story is to be portrayed on stage in Southampton, Hampshire during February.
Beatrice Shilling came to the rescue of the Spitfire pilots during the Battle of Britain. Her simple cure for the Merlin engine flooding problem, which proved to be fatal for too many pilots, was pure genius.
Unconventional, uncompromising, unapologetic, she would today be classed as a ‘difficult woman’. In the 1930s she broke new ground in women’s employment. She was also a speed queen.
For ticket details follow this link to ‘Tilly and the Spitfires.’
Nuffield Southampton Theatres, City Space Studio venue, on 27 and 28 February.
Read more about Beatrice Shilling Naylor here.
As the First World War commemorations draw to a close, we are much better informed about what our ancestors experienced and endured. These four commemorative years of TV and newspaper coverage has educated us to a greater understanding than we ever had before.
Behind every staggering statistic are the tragic stories of each individual who comprised those appalling numbers.
The artistic interpretations, like the deeply moving Poppy Installation at the Tower of London in 2014 and now the lighting of the candles in the Tower Moat in November 2018, have the power to touch us with lasting visual memories.
It is hard to think of something to say which hasn’t been said before by all the historians and television coverage.
But next time you hop onto a holiday flight to foreign shores, ponder on this sobering thought:
More British airmen died in WW1 as trainee pilots then were killed in action against Germany’s Air Force.
They died in accidents as a result of aircraft design faults or by instability when landing their planes. The knowledge gained from those awful accidents, in the early years of aviation, contributed towards improvement in aeroplane design and safety.
Those young men never saw action at the fighting Front but they too gave their tomorrows for your safety today.
Remember them and give thanks.