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314. … and on


The Larkhill event was pretty much done by 1430, and we started to dismantle her again, then headed off to Yeovilton. Unfortunately this involved the A303 on a summer Friday afternoon, and while we managed to avoid some of the queues, it was still a VERY long, slow haul.

It being a military base, we had to go through plenty of security, but we managed to get our passes and dropped the trailer at our spot, before heading back to Theo’s house for the night.

Theo’s brother Noel was with us for the weekend, and it was a huge pleasure to see him again and catch up with all his news. He’d become an integral part of the team in Greece, and we’d missed him since.

We were told we had to be on site before 0730 on the Saturday morning, since the road would be closed after that, and this meant us getting up at 0500 in order to be on time. But Stephen Saunders drove down from Stafford, and arrived at almost exactly the same moment, having set off at 0300!

Once on site, things went very smoothly. we had a spot inside a hangar near to the flight line, next to an engine-less Swordfish. We had expected everyone to be outside all day, and that we would have a quiet day, but – except when the very noisy jets were displaying – were were on our feet all day.

Once again, we met any number of interesting people; Peter Cowlan’s grandfather was an airframe fitter on HMS Ark Royal in 1916, and may have been involved in the refurbishment of 1264 after Grandad went home.


And another interesting meeting was with Hugh Thomas and Polly Barnes, who supplied us with a cardboard model of a Bristol Scout ages ago. They use model aircraft to inspire children, and had a space at the back of the hangar where children were making model gliders and trying them out in the space.




But Hugh had also made up a Bristol Scout, marked 1264, and fitted it with an electric motor to fly round the pole.

1-P1100755.JPGI was very impressed with the way they engaged with the children. when he got a moment, Hugh popped across with his model to be photographed alongside the real thing.


We then went back to their display area, hooked it up to the pole in the middle, and set it off, where it flew very successfully.


But we weren’t finished with interesting meetings yet. When someone took a particular interest in the seat, it transpired that he’d built the thing! This was Jonathan Coates, whose Somerset firm made the seat in 2014, and who likely made the original seat in 1915…1-P1100770.JPG

The weather was great, Stephen sold lots of DVDs – indeed, if you haven’t done so, it might be worth getting your order in – and we were absolutely exhausted by the end of the day, after packing 1264 back in the trailer again.

On Sunday, I drove back up to Yeovilton, hitched up the trailer, drove it back to Bicester, and thence home to Ludlow. The remainder of this week and next I’m in the USA, earning money to help pay for our expensive toy, and then as soon as I’m back, we’re off to Stow Maries in Essex for the ‘Stow Maries at War’ weekend on the 22/23 July, where we hope to be flying in the display on both days, weather permitting.

Hope to see you there!



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