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mercuryg

Merlins! 8 Of Them!

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Thanks for posting those photos Maggie. The last photo looks like a Waco UPF-7, an early thirties American bi-plane, (used extensively a training aircraft, just a bit before my time!) I hope to take a ride in one next summer! There is a museum giving rides in a Stearman and a Waco!

That looks like a close call in the playground in the second photo!

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What a sight! What a SOUND!
I followed "Vera's” flight back to the U.K. it created quite a lot of interest, wouldn't it be fitting to see a Spitfire and Hurricane do a a flypast with them.
Thanks for the post Mercury!

 

Sunderland Airshow but cannot remember the year. Mid Eighties 

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Thank you foxy, I like the Shackleton, I almost flew in one at R.A.F. St Mawgan (cadets) but chose to do aerobatics in a Chipmonk! The Shackleton,s sound was very distinctive Griffon engine and counter rotating props.

Great pictures and memories.

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We used to get Shackletons flying over the school all the time. When they were retired there was a flypast by a formation of them over Woodford. Lovely sight.

 

NB - on this note, great news, despite rumours to the contrary, XH558 is flying again this year, with a handful of shows already confirmed. Hope Sunderland bother to book her again.....

Edited by mercuryg

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So it was all of Merlin's progeny saw off Fritz during that last big bunfight?

 

I see Merc's local boys went up last week to chase Ivan away from the Channel.

Edited by Symptoms

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Not local to me Sym, I live in Choppington! Sister lives near Coningsby

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Ah, so Sismerc is your spy* agent looking over the barbed wire whilst tapping-out a message to you in Morse.

 

* I crossed this out so that those who listen won't be alerted to Sismerc's clandestine activities.

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'tis true Sym! Sismerc's land practically borders the runway, so she's the perfect choice of spy!

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A bit like the Nadine Clinton character (played by Dulcie Grey) in the 1952 film of the Battle of Britain, Angels One Five.  She lived in a cottage at the end of the runway and had a lamp lit every night to guide members of The Few back to base.

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A bit like the Nadine Clinton character (played by Dulcie Grey) in the 1952 film of the Battle of Britain, Angels One Five.  She lived in a cottage at the end of the runway and had a lamp lit every night to guide members of The Few back to base.

 

Not seen that one, sounds like a great story. It's a great place for plane spotters thanks to the fighter contingent and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight being on the same base. Typhoons and a Lancaster in short succession - won't get that anywhere else

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"Scramble. Scramble. Scramble.  Bandits angels one five" 

 

Sismerc's 'few' saw off Ivan's raid over the Cornish Pasty factories this week.  Her Morse message to merc was,  "I am not allowed to say how many planes joined the raid, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back."

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Haha you're right sym! It's always two!

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Sym you'll be glad to hear I'm at Sismerc's place for a few days (location secret, but right next to Coningsby) and will try and take some hush hush shots of Typhoons doing their stuff. Afraid their won't be any Russian Bears this far inland, but you might be lucky enough to get a trio of the triangular marvels, they were doing three at a time runs yesterday, was quite spectacular. Must say Cranwell was very busy yesterday, too, with twin-engined training birds on the circuit when I came past last night, and watched a couple of Hawks doing low level runs in the Pennines on the way down. It's all wings in Lincolnshire!

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What a sight! What a SOUND!

I followed "Vera's†flight back to the U.K. it created quite a lot of interest, wouldn't it be fitting to see a Spitfire and Hurricane do a a flypast with them.

Thanks for the post Mercury!

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Just found something very amusing. There's an air museum at East Kirkby that I plan to visit later today. I looked up bus times on Google maps. Apparently, I need to walk 15 minutes to the nearest bust stop, travel for 14 minutes towards Horncastle, then get off. Then wait for the next bus to come along and take me towards East Kirkby. Wait. And wait. And wait. For almost eight hours. Then travel for a few minutes, and walk another 15, to get to the museum. Then, to get back, well, I can't. There is no return journey until later in the week. The place is a massive 5.7miles from where I am sitting right now, by road. As the crow flies, I could walk there in an hour across the fields. I can almost see it from here. Good job I have a car. (edit - when I ran a second version on Google maps, it said the journey was now 16 hours.)

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But well worth a visit - brimming over with nostalgia. I believe that there is a chance that the Lancaster will get a C of A soon.

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Was well worth the visit, a carefully created and authentic exhibition with 'Just Jane' as the centrepiece. She's not close to getting a CofA but she is ever nearer. I think I've attached some pictures for you.

 

The shot of agricultural machinery with the placard 'Tumby Lawn' was of particular interest to me,  as Tumby Lawn is the name of this house and its grounds! It so turns out that the creator of the museum, whom I am on the search for more information about when I return, lived here for a time and attempted to buy the place, and donated a collection of old wartime and prior machinery and items for display. The owners wouldn't let him buy, so he bought the lease to the airfield instead.

 

The Typhoon was on the circuit at Coningsby - unfortunately I only had the camera on my tablet, so it's hard to see how close he actually was!

 

Oh, and the blurry picture IS a Barnes-Wallis bouncing bomb!

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Edited by mercuryg

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No flying yesterday! Boring!!

 

Anyhow, having got tons of work out the way yesterday I returned to the museum with a view to finding someone 'in charge' and trying to get a look at their archives. Having explained the Tumby Lawn connection I was duly introduced to a nice lady by the name of Marie, who led me to a locked shed (no, not one from 50 Sheds of Grey). What she wanted to show me was a large ledger, a book for you uneducated oiks, that listed the many houses locally that, during WW2, had been requisitioned by the government as billets for local airmen and military officials.

 

I'd always suspected that this house was among them, given it's prime location in the middle of at least six or seven bomber fields including Woodhall Spa, East Kirkby, Coningsby, Spilsby, Scampton (take note of the last) etc, and there it was: Tumby Lawn, home to servicemen across late 1942 until the end of the war. Now, the ledger directed us to a register, specific to the house, which listed the men who stayed in the house across the years: goose bumps.

 

One name stood out, having lived there for seven months up to the first week of July, 1943: none other than Wing Commander Guy Gibson. The significance of the date is not lost on me either- it covers the infamous Operation Chastise - the Dambusters Raid.

 

As someone who is extremely interested in aviation history this was of immense excitement to me. Gibson, and the crews of 617 squadron, stayed in this house. The fact that bomber command personnel were billeted at the Petwood Hotel for most of the war, just down the road at Woodhall Spa and where Bomber Harris and Barnes Wallis both stayed regularly, probably means Gibson and other officers spent the months other than at Tumby there. I will do more digging and find out.

 

The upshot is this: this house is intrinsically linked with WW2, Bomber Command and one of the most famous (or infamous) airborne raids in UK history. The sobering thought is, how many of the 53 who did not return were living at Tumby? Interesting, too, that Gibson, a Wing Commander, stayed where his men were staying for at least some of the time, rather than at the Petwood, where I would have expected him to be. Did Harris or Barnes Wallis ever visit this house? Did any other notables? Are there, underneath the paintwork, scrawled signatures and messages from the  men who stayed here? I have actually been tremendously moved by the experience, and it has brought me closer to understanding what these men had to do.

 

I couldn't spend long there yesterday as I had to be home for the kids coming back from school, but I have express permission to return as and when I wish to peruse the archives further. It's an arduous task, but I would like to compile a list of the men who stayed here, and find out more about each, what they did, who they were, and whether they survived the war.

 

For the record, I've attached pictures of the house itself, and of the Bluebell Inn, in Tattershall Thorpe, which I visited yesterday,and was the favourite watering hole of the men from 617 and 627 squadron. A tradition exists to this day for visiting airmen to sign  the ceiling - if you're ever in the region it's a great little place with a rich history dating back to 1257 or something, serves excellent ale and good food, and the staff are welcoming and very friendly.

 

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