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313. The Show Must Go On

10/07/2017

I had one day off to buy replacement tools and write blogs, then a day’s work to help pay for them and the following day I set off early to Bicester to collect the trailer and tow it to Larkhill.

Larkhill, on Salisbury plain, was one of the most important locations for early aviation, and although the original airfield wasn’t operational after 1914 and is now a housing estate, some of the sheds erected by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company remain, and are Grade II listed buildings, maintained as storehouses by the Army.

And in fact it was from these sheds that the prototype Bristol Scout – still called the Baby – flew in February 1914, and so we’d always cherished an ambition to bring the Scout back home.

I spoke to the Wings over Stonehenge group who promote the remembrance of those pioneering days in the area, and specifically to Roger Green, and he and the group organised a magnificent day for us which over 100 people attended, and many more got to see, since a local roadworks involved a diversion past the door, and countless drivers were sat in the queue for hours looking at 1264 adjacent to the sheds!

It was a great day, with talks by Roger, historian Tim Brown and myself. Tim has published a note on FaceBook about the Scout which has some interesting photographs. Sir George and Lady Joanna White arrived in their gorgeous Bristol 400 which was parked next to 1264, and we ran the engine which was much appreciated. Finally, a Westland Scout helicopter overflew the site in recognition of its older namesake. All the still here were taken by Dietmar Morley; thanks for letting me share them, Dietmar!

Roger Green introducing the day.

Parked outside the original British and Colonial sheds…

… alongside the Bristol 400 belonging to Sir George White, great grandson of the founder of the B&CAC.

A shame they’ve made the doors smaller, or she could have gone right home! Wouldn’t it be nice if they could repaint the company name on the front?

Roger had arranged for BBC South to be there, and a short piece was broadcast on the early evening local news, as well as on the BBC website. BFPO did a short interview as well.

One particular pleasure was to meet up with old microlighting friends Chris and Cathrine Bradford. Chris’ grandfather learned to fly with the RNAS at Redcar, and we think it’s entirely possible he was there when my Grandad was first Lieutenant!

 

 

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