VC10 open day 12th October

Brooklands are hosting another open day this month where you can visit the VC10 at Dunsfold.

https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/whats-on/vc10-za150-open-day-at-dunsfold-aerodrome

We understand their Napier Railton will also be on display. https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/explore/our-collection/cars/napier-railton

In 1951 the car was sold to the GQ Parachute Company of Woking. GQ had the car modified and fitted with test equipment capable of deploying an aircraft braking parachute at high speed and then retracting the parachute when the speed had dropped to about 30 knots. These experimental trials were carried out on Dunsfold airfield and proved to be most successful.

Crash at Shackleford Heath, Mitchell 30th Aug. 1944

Shackleford Heath, Mitchell crash, 16:45 hrs, 30th Aug.1944

Compiled by Frank Phillipson

16:45 hrs, 30th August 1944

North American Mitchell II, FW268, EV-O, (a 180 Squadron aircraft).

Shackleford Heath (Opp. Cyder House PH(?), Pepperharrow Ln., Shackleford.

Hit trees on an air test and flew into ground.

Crew:

Lieut. Cees Waardenburg DFC (Pilot) Royal Dutch Naval Air Service, 320 (Dutch) Squadron (?)(flying with 98 Squadron), Aged 23 killed. Originally buried at Rudgwick – 1964 moved to Dutch section of Mill Hill Cemetery, London

Flying Officer (Air Gunner) Henry George Payne, 139 Wing, 180 Sqdn., RAF, Age 27, killed. Buried at Rudgwick.

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Crash at Blacknest Farm, Dunsfold of Mitchell FW264 on 6th October 1944

Crash at Blacknest Farm, Dunsfold of Mitchell II, Ser. No.FW264, of 180 Squadron on 6th October 1944 at 10:21hrs.

Compiled by Frank Phillipson.

At 10:00 on 6th October 1944, twelve Mitchell II bombers of 180 Squadron took off from their airfield at RAF Dunsfold to attack a petrol, oil and lubricant dump west of Amersfoort, Holland. As the aircraft climbed away from the airfield two of them collided in cloud with Mitchell FW264 crashing and killing all on board at Blacknest Farm, Chiddingfold Road, Dunsfold. The aircraft was burnt out with three of it’s 500lb bombs detonating, three made safe and two still remaining to be traced (at the time of the police Daybook entry below).

C:\Users\Frank\Pictures\z011 Dunsfold Airfield and crashes and incidents thereon\z059 Blacknest Farm 6th Oct. 44\6th Oct Police Day Book 02.JPG

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The end of eras

Sunday 16th June 2019 marks the last time we will hear fast jets flying over Dunsfold. The final Wings and Wheels airshow will have concluded. It is the last because the redevelopment of the airfield will soon be welcoming the construction vehicles to try to pull up the runways and perimeters with the aim of building thousands of square metres of industrial space and 1800 houses. I wonder if any of the construction team will appreciate the significance of what they are demolishing, digging up and dragging into a ditch somewhere.

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The Hemingway story

The “Curley’ Stone” crew flew their 1st op with 98 sqdn. on 22 April 1944. They were screened on 03 August 1944, having put in their 50 trips.  An uncle of mine, Sgt James Le Blanc, was one of the crew’s A/Gs.  
 
The crew, with the exception of a single op, consisted of :
Plt    F/O ‘Curley’ Stones.  RCAF.  (Winnipeg)
Nav F/O ‘Gremlin’ Walkerdine. RCAF.
A/G Sgt James ‘Jofo’ Le Blanc. RCAF. (New Richmond)
A/G Sgt Ed Kornlowitch. (Alberta)
 

A request for information came into the Society from Michael LeBlanc in Canada. Can anyone shed more light on the story recounted?

“To date I have been unable to find more information on the officers – not even initials. Hoping someone can help.
I do have a  crew photo and have a trove of family letters between my uncle, his two other brothers in the RCAF (78 & 425 Sqdns.), all sent to their mother. Lots of great gossip about him and his fellow NCO gunner drinking and lots of chat about chasing pretty British girls together.

 

Uncle Jim was a wonderful story tells, always presented with great humour. He use to tell one about a trip made with Ernest Hemingway on board and the incident, when after being hit by flak, they lagged behind and that to run the flak concentrated on them.

Hemingsway’s then pal and fellow newsman from the News Chronicle Special Correspondent, Michael Moynihan, flew with P/O Stevenson & Rees in ‘U’. He describes the same incident in some detail his book ‘War Correspondent – unfit for service’, but no date is given and an original newspaper clipping of the same story from Jim’s papers has no date.

Moynihan and Hemingway had been haunting the station in that period hoping for a trip of their own while doing some stories on the boys. Getting late notice of the op, they rushed to the field getting there at the very last last moment and hoped on the nearest kites. Their names do not show up in the Monthly Summaries nor in the daily ORBs

Unfortunately, I’m having difficulty identifying exactly what date this took place on with the various clues offered so far.

Time of take-off shortly after 2 pm.
Stones & Stevenson flying.

Can anyone help flesh out more of this crew’s story ?

It would be interesting to know if anyone else has anyone else heard of the ‘Hemingway’ story or others similar to this one ?”

Michael LeBlanc

PS:

Continue reading “The Hemingway story”

XZ494 Harrier – restoration

Harrier XZ494

The Harrier was purchased about 10 years ago by my friend Neil Banwell. I met him about 3 years ago and said I would be interested in cleaning the Harrier and from there on I have moved to restoring it. I have attached some photos from when Neil first purchased it to how it looks now. There is still more to do, and we are still looking for bits, so if you know of any, I would be very interested in them.    Cris.

XZ494 arriving at its home in Somerset, not far from where it was based at RNAS Yeovilton

Continue reading “XZ494 Harrier – restoration”

New Museum Planning Application

Two years ago the Wings Museum submitted a planning application for a 10,000sqm Museum building on land to the South of Dunsfold Aerodrome.  In 2017 DAHS objected to the proposal  and made specific recommendations.

The application has remained undecided at Waverley Planning Department until now. It was scheduled for consideration by the Eastern Planning Committee on 5th December 2018. The Waverley Planning Case Office recommended approval despite many errors in the submissions.

The Councillors refused the application.

Press Statements:

Download the PDF file .


Download the PDF file .

Hunter Production at Dunsfold

A number of interesting images from the early 1950’s has been recovered recently. Many thanks for the contribution by Russell Powell.

Hunter 1. Hunter Erection Line No. 2 Bay Left hand view, neg number H2453 21-06-1954.

Hunter 2. Hunter Erection Line No. 2 Bay Right hand view, neg number H2452 21-06-1954.

Hunter 3. Hunter Erection Line No. 1 Bay, neg number H2451 21-06-1954.

Hunter 4. Hunter Aircraft cleared Flight line preparing for Delivery, neg number H2454 21-06-1954.

Hunter 5. Production Apron aircraft preparation for flight tests, neg number H2450 21-06 -1954.

 

In this last photo it looks like WT591. Aircraft on charge of the RAF DFLS (Day Fighter Leader’s Squadron). It skidded on ice on landing on 24/1/1957 at RAF West Raynham, Norfolk. Aircraft overshot and hit the boundary fence, shearing off the starboard undercarriage leg.

Struck off charge as Cat5(G/I): Allocated to Ground Instructional Airframe use as 7411M at 1 SoTT at RAF Halton on 23/4/1957. Not used as such, instead re-classified as Cat.5(c) at 19 MU RAF St. Athan on 26/4/1957. Re-classified Cat.5(scrap) struck off charge and moved to fire dump 17/5/1957.

WT581 is at the back left. A tragic story is associated with this aircraft. It ran out of fuel at the end of an air test including aerobatics and manual landings. Crashed 1 mile west north west of Leuchars after the engine cut on final approach. Pilot – Flying Officer Alan MacKillop-Watkinson – ejected too low (at 250 – 500 feet) did not separate from the seat, and was killed.