379. Leighton Buzzard

It’s a long haul from west to east, but at least we got a few days at home in between. Leighton Buzzard was a pretty tight squeeze all round; the traffic in the town was more or less gridlocked, and the car park for the trailer overnight was cosy but adequate.

Theo had caught a throat infection during the week and cried off; just as well, as the forecast for the day looked pretty much wet all day.

So we retired to the Swan Hotel which was about 20 yards from the car park on one side and 50 yards from our spot in the high street on the other. Wetherspoons it might have been, but the building was very old and full of character, and the food was cheap and wholesome. and we got to meet up with Rob Butler again, which was a great pleasure.

The walls of the hotel all reminded you of Leighton Buzzard’s aviation heritage; the local car factory called Morgans (no, not the three wheelers; another Morgan!) were required to manufacture the Vickers Vimy bomber at the end of the war, and the fuselages and wings were trundled up the high street right over where we would be on the morrow to the nearby field where they were assembled and flown off to the RAF.

The Vimy bombers first flew on the 30th November 1917. It was designed as a night bomber capable of attacking targets in Germany.
Two famous aviators for the Vimy commercial were John Alcock and Arthur Whitton Brown. They flew a modified version to complete the first non-stop transatlantic flight. (Incidentally, Alcock served in the RNAS in the Eastern Mediterranean at the same time as Grandad, but from the island of Mudros).

We had breakfast as early as possible in the morning in order to be rigged before the rain started, and managed to do so. Just.

20181006_091545.jpgAnd the rest of the day was spent ducking in under the tarpaulins to show people round 1264. You might have thought it would put a damper on their enthusiasm, but it didn’t seem so. With just the three of us there, we were pretty much at full stretch all day, and as always we met loads of interesting people. The photographs weren’t quite as stunning, though…

These photos were taken by John Shellcross, whose father serviced aircraft for the RFC in WWI.
Cheer up, Chill!
Thankfully, there was a Costa on our doorstep, so to speak!



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