All about me and my trails…

These series of trails are the musings of an aviation enthusiast with too much time on their hands. I simply have a love of aviation (in particular military) having been introduced by my father’s stories of his time in the Royal Air Force during the 1950s.


Me, My brother and my sister at christmas a long time ago.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s when British aircraft ruled the world, fast jets adorned the skies over Britain which, at the end of the Cold War, had been ready to tackle, head on, the threat of Soviet Russia and her allies.

Like many children of that era, I spent many an hour perched at the end of runways, peering through fences, often with armed guards loitering close by, and generally staring skyward. I lived nearby to what was the British Aerospace development at Bitteswell, Leicestershire. Standing at my parent’s bedroom window, I could see Vulcans and the like circling following modification work. I developed a knack for locating disused airfields through the car window, where I would drift off into my own little world, visualising aircraft taxiing and lifting off into the skies above war-torn Britain.

As a child I dreamt of fast jets and soaring above the clouds in formation. My brother and I would spend our holidays building complex cockpits between our beds, drawing each and every instrument using cockpit photos and magazine articles as guides. Sheets would form the roof, shoe boxes throttles, and old headphones as radios. We lived the fantasy, and for a few hours a day we were pilots – we were living the dream.

Unfortunately, the dream never turned into reality. But my love of aviation never died. My dreams of what it must have been like continue on, and my frustration at the state of old airfields and their deteriorating significance to our heritage, is stifled by the understanding of developmental needs and the continuing high maintenance costs they require.

I feel saddened by old aircraft rotting in farmer’s fields, images of bone yards, vandalised airframes and aircraft discarded like unwanted pets in the rain. These are, in many cases, the reminders of what was the sacrifice of the many thousands of men and women who gave their lives in wartime, flying over foreign lands, knowing that at any minute, their time may be up. They deserve more. They deserve better.

I have an envy of those who have given up their time to help preserve this heritage of this fantastic aviation country, I admire their dedication, their determination and above all, the fact they can sit in the cockpit of an aircraft and do what I dreamt of for so many years as a child. To them, I thank you.

I am not an expert; I do not pretend to be. I decided to write these trails based on my experiences, adding in links where I could. They are not conclusive, and factually may not be reliable. They have been created in my spare time when I have taken my self back to the ‘good old days’ and are purely to share my thoughts and experiences.

If you like them, great let me know, leave a message. So, why not join me on a nostalgic journey through the second world war and beyond. It’s great to have you along. 

My Father at RAF Manby before being de-mobbed.

On a final note, I wish to extend my gratitude to the lovely and hard-working Marcella, who has helped with the endeavour, researching and reading posts for me. Hopefully, she will one day be able to experience them for herself.

116 thoughts on “All about me and my trails…

  1. I’ve just read your excellent write up on Polebrook. I can offer some anecdotal evidence with regard to the scrapping of the Stirling you referenced in the article.

    Some years ago I formed a friendship with a lovely man called Ted Wass . We both lived in Peterborough and we met up on a number of occasions to catch up socially and often the topic of conversation was his war time experiences as a tail gunner with 617 Squadron. He flew 14 operations with the squadron before becoming a POW after a bailing out coming back from a mission to Bergen . He had the privilege of flying with Tony Iveson and on one occasion with Leonard Cheshire . His log book also included a training flight in one of the original Dams raid aircraft but to my shame I can’t remember which one .

    Anyway, long story short , after the war he came home to Peterborough and remained here for most of the remainder of his life . One day we were discussing the short sighted approach to aircraft preservation that was displayed post war and he told me that he could remember seeing a Stirling being destroyed at Polebrook , which is close to Peterborough ( I’m sure he mentioned that there were other aircraft being similarly treated ) and how it made him feel sad that the efforts that he and everyone else in Bomber Command had made were not really held in the regard they should be .

    I hope this is of interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi John, thank you so much for your Kind words and for sharing that with us. It’s a wonderful story and I’m sure Ted’s views were reflected by many Bomber Command vets who were also saddened by the treatment they received following the war years. Considering the efforts and huge losses they sustained, they certainly deserved far more recognition then they got!


  2. Hi John, thank you for your kind words. It sounds like you’ve had extensive experience of some wonderful aircraft. The height of British aviation! My own father worked at Baginton for AWA, it must have been around about the same time. I was born in 63 and he was then or in the years before, his name was Peter Laing, your paths may well have crossed at some point. I shall take a look at your fiends page, it’s sounds pretty impressive!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely interesting story, bringing back many memories of the time I worked out my apprenticeship at Bitteswell. I started in 1962 at Baginton, just then known as AWA but changed to HSA. Baginton lost government contracts and closed. Luckily they found a place for me at Bitteswell. I worked on Vulcans, Shackletons, Argosies and Hunters. I flew on Argosy test flights and did compass swings on Vulcans (they were pretty claustrophobic inside). Later, I travelled all over the U.K. doing maintenance at RAF bases on Hunters, Folland Gnats and Harriers at RAF Wittering. The latter period included major servicing of the Red Arrows Team aircraft at Bitteswell, as well as in the field at RAF Little Rissington.
    Best wishes with your researches, I know where you are coming from. I have a friend who takes incredible photos of aircraft in the mountains of Wales, check out his site on Facebook, Howyn Jones. Best of luck. John

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your post on ‘The Development of Britain’s Airfields’ today.

    Something I am curious about, but have never found an good answer on despite many years of wonder and lacklustre searching, is the design of the buildings of the RAF expansion era: pitched roofs with flat portions before meeting the higher apex of the walls etc. Many years ago I remember reading some comments along the lines that though they may look odd now, they were actually well thought out and had many architectural features for damage tolerance or otherwise performance in war time. Your article was most informative regarding hangars and runway building, but didn’t cover the office buildings etc in such detail: is this something you know more about, would wish to cover, or otherwise know a good source on which I might read?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon, thanks for the very kind words and for the interesting question, unfortunately I don’t think there is a straight forward answer.

      First of all, I am no engineer, designer nor architect and all the knowledge I have is simply from research I have carried out myself, so please take it as such. The subject is certainly something I would like to know more about, how they came about the actual design of these buildings is an interesting one, and my understanding at the moment, is that they were more designed with material in mind than any specific protection requirement.

      For example, in the pre-war expansion period, bricklayers were plentiful, as was brick, which was easy to lay quickly and relatively cheap, it was also reasonably strong. However, as the war progressed, it needed to be replaced with a stronger material, and as many bricklayers had been drafted into the forces, it needed to be something that could be laid by a relatively unskilled workforce. Also, in some early and pre-war watch offices, wood was also used, but again this began to run out and the skilled people who could turn it into something useful were also becoming short in supply. To remedy the problems now being encountered, concrete was seen as both readily available, quick to manufacture, very strong and easy to lay by relatively unskilled workmen.

      All buildings whether technical, administrative or accommodation were designed to be identical across the entire range of airfields, thus enabling sections, or designs, to be replicated with ease without the need for extensive drawings. In many expansion period buildings the Georgian style was employed which can still be seen today on many remaining officers’ messes and the like. This was an aesthetic design and offered (as far as I’m aware) no more protective measures than any ordinary building at all.

      As designs or materials changed, so some buildings were modified part way through their construction, and so variation crept in. Variation can also be seen where local materials differ e.g. the Cotswolds, or to fit with specific local architectural features. In all pre-war designs, the layout and design of buildings had to be in agreement with the Royal Fine Arts Commission and the Society for the Preservation of Rural England!

      As war progressed, these restrictions were relaxed, and as the need for more airfields increased, so too did the requirement for quicker construction methods, enter plasterboard and corrugated iron huts (Nissen, Laing, MoW, etc).

      Whilst I Don’t know who, or how, the actual shapes or designs of buildings were made I don’t necessarily think protection was at the forefront, rather it was more ease of build, cost of material and functionality of design. In parachute stores for example, they have the flat roof section to enable the hanging of parachutes to dry, this offers no protection at all, as much of it is asbestos sheeting (as were many other roofs) which is weak at the best of times. Protection tended to be from blast walls around buildings entrances to defect any nearby blast away from the doorway thus protecting those inside, a direct hit was certain death.

      I don’t know of any specific sources, I have Paul Francis’s book “British Military Airfield Architecture” which is very good and gives a lot of detail, but I don’t know if it specifically answers your question.

      I hope this is of help, if you do find a good reference, please let me know.

      Best wishes, Andy


    • Simon, There are 2 books that you may want to invest in if it helps and they are called British Airfield Buildings and British Airfield Buildings of the Second World War. They can be purchased from Amazon and are well worth the expense. You may find your answers in those books.


  5. Thank you for your memories and thoughts, how very true, I too was a child of that era, my Father was a Pilot
    who flew those very Aircraft that now decay in Museums, fields and scrap yards, some have been preserved but many haven’t, like yourself I crave the best ever eara in Aviation 1950,60, 70’s, I was lucky as
    I remember many Aircraft flying as a child being draged from one RAF Station to another as Dad changed Squadrons, then sadly he retired after 25 years flying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon. Thank you for the kind comment and for adding your own memories to it. It’s nice to hear – I hope you find something you like on here. I recommend ‘Empire of the clouds’ by James Hamilton-Paterson, a very good book about the demise of Britain’s post war aviation industry. You’ll be able to relate to it I’m sure!


    • Thanks GP! I wasn’t aware of it no, so it’s a real eye opener to know such a collection exists! They are certainly doing a lot of hard graft to restore the items in their vast collection. Hopefully we will see some of them around the country at exhibits / shows etc. There is a similar chap who buys and restores ww2 vehicles and equipment, but he sells them on. I don’t think it’s the same one. Thanks for sending the link, it’s much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Where to begin? Just last night I discovered your superb website through contact with Mitch Peeke as I learned of his organization of a commemoration of the June 19, 1944, Allhallows area collision that still entombs my Uncle Cecil Tognazzini, Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner on the B17 44-6133.

    How I came to know of him/you is a fun story that dates back to 2013 when “inherited” my dad’s contact with another British enthusiast/researcher Geoff Burke, and with him visited Kimbolton, the Cambridge American Cemetery, and the RAF Museum; and, on my own visited Canvey Island and the beach at Allhallows – creating friendships along the the way of my own journey into my Uncle’s history and fate. In addition to Geoff, those friendships include Janet Penn, Canvey Island resident and local historian; Peter and Jean Holmyard, homeowners in the holiday park at Allhallows who took a chance on this traveling American to allow me to fulfill a dream of my dad, Cecil’s only brother, and walk the Allhallows beach; and Jeanne Crons Campbell, the only child of the sole survivor of Cecil’s plane. Those friendships led Geoff, Jeanne, and I to initiate plans to attend the Canvey Island 75th Anniversary Commemoration this coming June 19 even before I happened upon connecting with Mitch. We are now making plans to also attend the Allhallows event which Mitch has organized for June 22.

    I would welcome the opportunity to meet you at either or both of these events — so that I might tell you in person how wonderful and important your website work is. Just today I have read your Trail 6 description ( ) – with great fascination as I relived my own visit to the Kimbolton airfield in 2013 with Geoff — and enjoyed Mitch’s excellent and detailed description of the crash ( ). I would also like to send you separately the poem my dad wrote that prompted me to find and walk the Allhallows beach in 2013.

    I am hopeful that we can meet in June.
    Noel Tognazzini
    nephew of Cecil Tognazzini
    Portland, Oregon USA

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Noel, what an honour it is to hear from you and thank you very much for your very kind words about the site. It kind of started because of a friend I met through twitter whose father was a B-17 pilot also at kimbolton. She publishes the diaries he wrote after each mission.

      I offered to go and visit the airfield for her which is not a million miles form me here, which I did. I had been thinking about recording my trips and so partly because of this, the site was set up. I like to think of it as my way of honouring the many brave souls who took to the air from Britain’s airfield many never to return. I also do it in memory of my own father who died last year, not a ww2 vet but serving from 46 – 56.

      Mitch and I met through the site also, he seemed to find me and so we got talking, I think he has done a marvellous job and deserves great credit for the time and effort he has put into this project. It should be a fabulous day and a great way to honour the crews especially your uncle.

      I would love to meet up on the day of Mitch’s event. I can’t make the other as I teach and being off in the week is nigh on impossible.

      Please do send me the poem, if it’s ok with you I’d like to publish it on here? Perhaps a little background information to personalise it would be nice. You can email it to me at

      I really look forward to the day and also to meeting up with you, it will be a remarkable event and one I’m sure none of us will ever forget.

      All the very best to you, and thanks again.
      Andy Laing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a picture of Liberators From Wendling (392nd B-24s En Route to Berlin March 18, 1945) Artist Frederick T. Searle
    The picture is signed and says its the 73/200
    The caption talks about THE CRUSADERS.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have only very recently discovered the Aviation Trails site. Much impressed! A virtual meeting place for kindred spirits! Very glad I dropped by! You are doing a grand job Andy!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Andy,
    My father was based at East Wretham airfield from 1943-1945 in the 359th Fighter Group, USAAF. Although I have visited England twice I was not able to get to East Wretham. The only “visit” I have made has been via Google Earth and it takes a lot of imagination to “see” the airfield and it’s facilities. I wonder if you have been there.

    As a US Army aviator having served in Vietnam I have written a blog of my experiences and I will be following your blog entries with interest.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Bill,
      its very good to hear from you and thank you for the follow and for telling me about your father’s service at East Wretham. I have indeed been there, it is used by the Army now as part of a large training camp. Parts of the former airfield do still exist, especially the bomb dump, which is an open public space, and quite differnt now to how it was back in wartime. You can read about my visit in Trail 13 simply scroll down its the third of the three airfields.

      If you send me a link to your blog I would love to take a look, first hand accounts are of tremendous value and incredible records of a time gone by, I imagine many of my followers would be interested to read it too, especially as its from your time in Vietnam. I can’t even begin to imagine what you went through. I have a friend whose brother served there, the helicopter he was supposed to fly in was shot down moments after taking off killing all on board, he was traumatised by the event and suffers to this day.

      If you have any photos or information you can add to East Wretham from your father’s time, I would love to see/hear them, they would be a valuable contribution to the page.

      Thanks for reading and adding a comment, it is always appreciated, please do send me your link.

      All the best Andy.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello, I’m with Turin Aviation Group and we are restoring a C47 that was part of the 315th and staged in Spanhoe. I have not been able to find photos of her from WWII yet, I know she was marked with an NM on the nose and a G on the tail. I see one photo on your blog and was hoping you could help me find a copy of that and possibly more. C47 Serial# 43-48950 flew in Operation Varsity as Chalk#19 and #188. The aircraft was commanded by Maj. James S. Smith (pilot), Long S as Co-pilot, Davis as Navigator, Vandernaalt as Radio Operator, and Peluso as Crew Chief. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. (note: our website will be updated this week showing the restoration project, please check in to see)
    Janel Norton

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janel, thanks for contacting me and dropping by. May I first wish you every luck with the restoration project, I can imagine it’s a huge task! I could do a short post for you to help promote it, you never know someone else might also be able to help.

      I have a few possible sources that may offer the photos you wish, it’ll take a little while to search through them so please bear with me. I may have to send links as the copyrights won’t be mine, but I’m sure you’ll be able to sort that out.

      I’ll have a look using the information you provided and get back to you in the next few days. Sadly my day job gets in the way!

      Once again thanks, I’ll be in touch. Andy


  11. Dear Andy
    I live very near Tempsford Airfield, Beds which our local Central Beds Council plans to invade with up to 20000 houses. So throughout this 2017 summmer some of us have been preparing to write representations to the council opposing the 290 plus draft planning document. We have our closed face book site which we would love you and interested people to join, and the Tempsfrod museum has one too.
    We have spent time researching the history of this magnificent site-deemed brownfield and thus ripe for development within 2 years. The bad news is that our MP, Alistiar Burt, is not interested. The good news is that historians, veterans are hand in glove with Lady Erroll the landowner, the council and developers to safeguard the SOE humble Gibraltar Farm; on the veterans website you can now read the plans to make the isolated barn a heritage site. However,the fact that this historical site has been largely ignored by the present land owner for decades, means that locals are cynical about the motives now used to promote the site. We are also insignificant . Lady Errroll told me herself recently that to go inside the barn costs 100 pounds for 10 visitors-fewer are not allowed and many of us can cite incidents which illustrate that whilst Lady Erroll might welcome the veterans from time to time, she dismisses any local interest in the WW2 sites which are on her land. Thankfully the nearby public bridleway means that we often deviate from the path to pay our respects to our WW2 heros and heroines. The promotion of the site will obviously be a profit making operation from which we’ll be excluded again.
    Some of us are campaigning to preserve the fields around the barn as without them this camouflaged airfield which the Germans never discovered means little. The ABCT have been wonderfully supportive and through them I am learning about the lack of respect shown to and knowledge of our airfields.
    Your site is also terrific and I hope to refer to it often in the future.Sadly it is becoming rarer to meet people who do things out of sheer passion-like you. Vested interests everywhere are making ordinary members of the public more passive and/or cynical-” what can we do?”.. ”they will do what they want anyway” …So the future of these airfields looks even bleaker as developers are being encouraged by government to seize more and more of them. So sad.
    We need overseas admirers of these airfields to lobby our government-it seems dangerously shortsighted to me to be selling so many of them off for house buildiing; if not useful for defence and/ or flying, they are inimitably versatile spaces aren’t they?
    Incidentally I cannot find Tempsford on this site. Please could you either point me in the right direction or explain why it is not mentioned? I know it was so secret that even now records are thin as so many operations linked with it were top secret. If you have any unusual bibliography sources they could be useful too.
    Hoping to hear from you when you have the time.
    Thanks again for an inspiring site.
    Clare Lawrence, Tempsford, UK


    • Hi Theo, sorry maybe you didn’t receive my reply, here’s a copy. “Thanks for coming by, it would seem we do share a common interest, I shall take a look at the website, the books sound interesting and full of information. Maybe some of my followers may be interested also. Thanks again,”


      • Hi,
        I thought my comment did not reach your followers, since I expected more replys and possible orders for our books about our surveys to find Control Towers. All in all when volume 3 is published: 172. Alas this is not to be. Thanks again for your comment. A wonderful site you have…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Theo,

      Thanks for coming by, it would seem we do share a common interest, I shall take a look at the website, the books sound interesting and full of information. Maybe some of my followers may be interested also. Thanks again, Andy.


  12. Hi Andy. Just a quick note with reference to RAF Swannington. The picture you have shown as the Sergeants Mess, is shown on the 1944 Air Ministry Map as a Stores, however, more importantly the owners of the Park on which the building is (sorry, was) situated, decided one day to unceremoniously demolish it. What made it worse was that it was demolished on the very day that the company who own the Park went into administration. There are many houses that overlooked this building and all the residents without exception loved to see the building, knowing of it’s historic past. It’s a great shame that there are people who put profit before our country’s heritage.
    On the morning of Saturday 11th November 2017, there will be a service of remembrance held at St. Peter’s Church, Haveringland, in memory of those who died whilst serving at RAF Swannington on 85 Squadron and 157 Squadron. There will be a small display of photos and information about RAF Swannington, shown in the church on that day.
    Anyone living near or far are welcome to come along to the service.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Mike, thanks very much for the correction, I appreciate any feedback on these and regretfully do make some errors. It is as shame that these places are knocked down without thought or care for their history or the feelings of others, sadly it happens all too frequently I find. I shall put a note out later about the service, most of those who read this are not local, but it may just highlight the event to someone in passing. Thanks again for giving feedback and the information. It is very much appreciated.


  13. Hi, A super site – well presented. I am webmaster for Dunsfold Airfield History Society. As you mention, Dunsfold is threatened with re-development – just got planning for 1800 houses. Historic England are looking at Listing 10 buildings on the site, and as soon as we can we are seeking designation for a Conservation Area – it might just preserve some of the unique parts of Dunsfold – the home of the Harrier and a lot more. You can help by registering support asap on our site:

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Andy
    Great blog and I know how much work you have put into it. I had a friend (died in 2007) who flew on a Kiel mission laying mimes to trap a German convoy in the Baltic. I too have a WordPress blog relating to places and people we have met during 45 years of travel and I am writing about at this moment using stories from my friends journal and from what he told me in the 1970s. I would like your permission to use the photograph of the crew in with the bomb with Kiel chalked on it.

    My link is email If you permit me to use I will of course credit and link your blog. After you read the post (will not be posted for another couple of weeks you might see some pics I have you might like to use. I would have to get my friends children to give you the ok but there will be no problem.

    Regards Fred

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Fred great to meet you, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog, I shall take a look at yours, it’s sounds fascinating! Of course you can use the photo, (actual copyright ownership should be with the photo on the page, it’s IWM – not mine). if there’s any others you would like please let me know. Did your friend fly from Downham market do you know? Or elsewhere? I look forward to reading your post. Kindest regards Andy.


  15. This is a FABULOUS web site. Great information. You and I have a great deal in common. I soloed when I was fifteen but had to wait one year until I got my drivers license before I could take my check ride. I learned to fly in a Piper Tri-Pacer–fabric-covered two-seater. My love of aviation is somewhat genetic. My dad served in a B-29 Bomb Wing during WWII, He served on the island of Tinean in the South Pacific and actually worked on the Enola Gay. I definitely will be a daily visitor to your site and thank you for taking a look at mine. The very best. Bob J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really good to meet you Bob, thank you for your very kind words – I’m glad you found the site interesting. You must have some interesting stores to tell from your father, I will definitely take a look at your site! All the best! Andy.


  16. Hello.
    The sense of loss is sometimes overwhelming, what must it have been like to be there then to witness the events. All we have left are the crumbling remnants of heroic deeds and daring do. So sad, fortunately your efforts are making it seem a little more real again. Thank you.
    Looking forward to receiving more posts and may join up on a jaunt or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Paul. So glad you enjoyed reading it, thanks for leaving a comment. These places really are historically important for the events that occurred with them. The losses were horrendous and sadly many are disappearing far too fast. Once they have gone their memories will also fade and that I feel will be a terrible waste. Join up anytime – be glad to! Andy


      • Good to meet you Andy, thanks for the reply. Exploring airfields is an undifinable passion and one I’ve been unrepentantly guilty of for many years. It’s something that you must do with a like minded chum or two, two or more sets of eyes definitely see more and miss less. My highlight was meeting Vets from the 388th at Knettishall and a few of the guys signed my B17 at War book, where the centre spread was all about the 388th. What a privilege that was. The local pub in Coney Weston had a picture of one of the Vets aircraft! Which I now have a copy of.
        Living in and exploring Wiltshire airfields, walking my dog on RAF Everliegh. Lots still here to see including live military aircraft types. Please could you add the Musuem at Old Sarum, as was previously the Boscombe collection.
        Looking forward to meeting up for a stroll, although I find bicycles can cover more ground. Cycling down a B17 runway is never to be missed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Paul, meeting vets certainly is a privilege and one few of us get to do these days. Take the chance while you can and make the most of the stories they have to tell. It’s one of things that I feel lacks on the blog, historical facts are one thing, but human stories are another dimension altogether I try to add some where I can but it’s rarely through first hand discussions. As a general rule the places I have on the blog are only ones I’ve visited, but I’ll make an exception this time (as it’s a recommendation) and add the Old Sarum site for you. You could always do a write up yourself and have it added! It’ll take me a few days, sadly the day job gets in the way but it’ll appear soon. Enjoy your walks, perhaps as you say we can meet up, two pairs of eyes certainly my are better than one! All the best and it’s great to have met yet another supporter of these sites and these wonderful experiences.


  17. Hi Andy – Steve from RAF Stoke Orchard here. I wanted to publicly recognise all the great work you do in your efforts to catalogue our long forgotten / often remembered concrete leviathans called Airfields. Your mails are a delight to read and contain a huge amount of information.

    Well done ! Power to your elbow !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words Rich. I must admit when I started this I didn’t realise how far it would go (I’m now writing 39 and 40) and as I go on, I find more and more things to write about. I am struggling to keep the word count down and find each one is getting longer and longer. As a youngster I bought a small pocket book of a similar name, I still have it, and it’s what gave me the initial idea. I’m glad you enjoy it Rich, it is a passion and I’m glad that others can share it with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Marcella has contacted me regarding the blog and your website. After reading about your love for aviation, I am shaking my head in amazement at the intensity for which you admire flying, old airfields and aircraft. My father too, Major Bernardo Procopio, had a deep affection for flying. He was a WWII B-17 pilot out of Framlingham, England and after five missions, was shot up with flak and with very little fuel left, understood he would not make it back to England. He radioed back to his navigator to ask how far it was to Mallmo, Sweden. His navigator radioed back that they didn’t have enough fuel on board. My father told his crew they were going anyway! The story unfolds from there. Photos to follow Kind regards,
    Rebecca Procopio

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rebecca, it’s so good to hear from you, and thank you for your kind comments. It is a passion of mine as you can clearly see. I believe that these men and women deserve to have their stories told and these sites, where many spent their last hours, deserve to be honoured. Too many are disappearing beneath housing or farmland without due thought to the events that took place upon them. I was only today planning my next trip which actually includes Framlingham! I aim to go there next week and visit what is left of the site, and walk across it where access permits. I will obviously take photos and share anything I find with you. I would love to tell your father’s story with my readers if that is ok with you, perhaps Marcella could talk to you in person which might be easier for you. I look forward to seeing the photos and hearing more about your father’s time during the war. Do please keep in touch. Very best wishes and kindest regards, Andy Laing.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Good morning,

    Pen and Sword Books is the UK’s leading Military publishers and I was wondering if you would be interested in becoming a reviewer of some of our aviation titles? Please take a look at our website, if you’re unfamiliar with our company, to get an idea of some of the titles we publish.

    If you’d like to discuss this opportunity further, please email me at

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Milly Wonford
    Digital Marketing Executive
    Pen & Sword Books

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi there

    What an excellent website! Many thanks for sharing a ‘shared’ passion. I have always been interested in military aviation as long as i can remember but as time goes by the opportunities for those magic ‘peering through the fence’ at the end of runways is gradually disappearing, with less and less aircraft types and a dwindling selection of active airfields to visit. So all we are left with are memories and relics of this past era.

    Having recently returned from a holiday in Suffolk / Norfolk, I found time to visit a couple of old airfields (Thorpe Abbotts and Bentwaters) and I am determined to discover more, so your website that I’ve just found is inbaluable. I have discovered the excellent Lincolnshire Aviation Trails so this will be my first ‘mission’…..only 90 odd airfields to choose from!!

    All i need now is the time……..!!

    Kind regards

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Graham. Thank you so much for the kind comment! It really is a disappearing world, even between the early ones I went on and now the differences are there. Time is one of those things that eludes most of us, I teach so have to restrict them to holidays and plan them very carefully. As I have gone on I have found more to see and write about – the history is fascinating. I do hope you enjoy Lincolnshire, one of our ‘richer’ aviation regions and one I have yet to truly travel round. A shame as it is where my father was last stationed. Have a great time and thank you for leaving such a nice comment. Andy


  21. We must be around the same age. Your photo from Christmas long time ago look a lot like mine–little black and white TV in the background. I now live in an area that experienced many civil war battles. Over time, stores and houses began to cover over some of the battlefields…..AND then, the U.S. National Park Service began to step in save some of the areas. Which is a good thing.
    When I was very young, I wanted to grow up and be an astronaut. That was before I found out that I’m rather claustrophobic…after that, I changed my mind about the astronaut thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can remember that TV very well, we had it for a number of years and it took an age to warm up! That must have been taken in the late 1960s, so that gives you an idea! It’s good that the national parks have intervened, these places need recognition for their historical Value. I guess claustrophobia is not a good thing to have if you want to spend months In a tin can floating around space! Hopefully you found a suitable replacement role that’s just as satisfying.


  22. As readers and obviously the author of this blog are obviously aviation enthusiasts, and possible admirers of the activities of the USAAF during the former dispute with Herr Schicklguber and his cohorts, perhaps you might be interested in reading a comparatively short novel which I wrote as my own tribute to the 30,000-odd Americans who flew, fought and died during those long, desperate years of War.

    I wrote American Cemetery about ten years ago, and really do believe that the sound of four Wright Cyclone engines as they hammered across the sky was the true ‘Sound of Freedom!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I love your emails. I have a fascination with WW2 AIRFIELDS as I live near Winthorpe airfield so am surrounded in all directions by them from Wittering in the South to Wigsley in the North to Newton in the West and Swinderby in the East.
    It’s such a shame that so much of our important heritage and history is neglected. Maybe we should all meet up in the summer, say have a word with The Petwood Hotel as I’m sure they’d set aside the Lancaster bar (AMAZING!) and some sandwiches/cups of tea for a resonance cost. I can’t think of anything better than a group of fellow enthusiasts sitting chatting in 617 Officers’ Mess!

    Maybe you should email everyone who you send the airfield trails too and gauge interest. I’m sure we’d all find it extremely informative and be able to swap information!
    I have a friend works at Scampton and can arrange a free tour of non other than the Dambusters very hanger, the grave of a certain dog, and you can sit in Guy Gibson’s office!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a brilliant idea. I shall do that and see what happens, I do know many of the readers are from abroad, but you never know, a group
      of like minded people together at the Petwood! Oddly my colleague at school was there over the weekend and is going to Scampton on Saturday for the tour! My appetite has been wettened!


      • Great to see you still about mate, what are you up to these days? You still using Facebook?

        I have just stumbled across this website, it has some interesting stuff on and I will be following with interest.

        I have been rebuilding my website over the past year and it’s a very slow project but I am getting there!


        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m still around buddy, just not on Facebook due to my intolerance to stupid people!
        My email address is my username if yiu need to get hold of me.


  24. Do you know when USAAF Station 118 (Wendling) closed down. I believe that the 392nd Bombardment Group (H) left Wendling in June 1945, but I am seeking more information as to actual dates. Do you have or can you direct me to websites that have such information?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem. The books I have state that the 392nd pulled out in June 1945 as you say, all flying then ceased although the base was ‘active’ usually classified as in ‘care and maintenance’ until November 1961. It was then sold off, by the Ministry of Defence, in 1963. I don’t have a date when it was sold other than the year. Whilst under care and maintenance, these sites usually remain dormant with a small contingency unit who look after it. Once they leave it falls into decay until sold and demolished / dug up. Most sites I have / can find don’t go beyond 1945 probably as there is little to say about them. Wiki give slightly more information here But I don’t know how accurate they are. Hope this helps.


      • I’ve just shared a link to this page on my twitter account, maybe people can offer advice then.
        Also, if anyone is interested I have a friend who arranges talks from WW2 veterans quite often including THE Johnnie Johnson from the Dambusters Raid. I’ll try to let you know when the next one is.
        They are usually along the A1 coridoor just North of the A1 and are fascinating.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Dave. I know of folk who would enjoy that as long as it’s a weekend due to work etc.

        Do let me know when the next one is I’d be really interested and sure I might be able to drum up some support. Not that it needs it I’m sure! Thank for assign the link very much appreciated! Andy.


    • Thank you for your kind words. It has been a lot of work driving round and finding out about these places and the people who served there. I believe we need to keep their memories alive. It has, as you say, been a labour of love. Many thanks.


  25. Your blog is fantastic, I am so happy I came across it! I, too, love aviation, and am deeply saddened whenever I see empty, decrepit airfields and rusting aircraft. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful stories and photos!


  26. The book only covers 8th Air Force bases, but if you don’t know the book, you might find it interesting. Kaplan, Philip. One Last Look. New York, NY: Abbeville Press, 1983.


    • Thank you. There are a huge number of books on the subject also now the internet is full of photos not previously available. Those that show the original fields are perhaps of more historical interest and hold the harder to find original photos. Thanks very much for the heads up I shall seek it out and take a look. Much appreciated.


      • I notice you have some Lincolnshire fields on your trails, but not RAF Binbrook. I understand there isn’t too much left of that base anymore owing to land development, but there looks to be a heritage centre there to keep the memory of the base alive as well:

        If you get up to Yorkshire, Church Fenton would be another interesting one to touch upon as its closure as an airfield was quite recent:


      • Thanks for the comment and the links.

        I try where possible to cover groups and have generally concentrated on those closest / where there are cheap hotels or I’m travelling anyway – hence Norfolk and into Suffolk. I want to cover further into Lincoln particularly as it was my fathers area and Binbrook is most definitely on that list.

        I remember going to Church Fenton as a child and again those to the north are on the ‘to do’ list.

        It’s a race against time to capture what is left if these places, even close to here we have recently lost Waterbeach, Upwood, (coming soon) is earmarked for housing and Oakington is to be built upon, time is most definitely running out.

        Many thanks for the links, I shall take a good look, perhaps a holiday to Yorkshire is needed!


  27. Please gpcox… Don’t laugh.
    Aviation Trails is the one who found my blog about 249 Squadron.

    Hi, a fascinating read. My father served with 249 sqn 1949 into the early 1950s in Habbaniya, where they had Tempests amongst others. A little after this time I know, but this is the first connection to anyone from that same Squadron I have been able to find. A super read!


  28. Very nice site – come over to Cambridgeshire, I run on the former sites of RAF Mepal and RAF Witchford – the latter having more remaining features.
    I’m not expecting you to run!!


    • Hi Ian. Was at both sites a few weeks ago had a fabulous walk (not run) round both. Enjoyed the fabulous museum at Witchford too. Trail 11 covers both Mepal and Witchford it should be it up soon!


  29. You are to be highly commended. I would be only too pleased to help in any way with your venture. I’ve often thought of doing much the same as you have now done, boving ut you did it. I’m now based in Gloucestershire, but was born and raised in Bedford. Moving to Rushden took me to the heart of so many old airfields… Chelveston, Poddington, Kimbolton,… you know them all.

    I’ve walked them all…

    Haunting. Keep it up


    • Hi Steve,

      Thank you very much for the kind and supportive comments, I’m so pleased you enjoy the trails and share the passion. it’s been a big interest of mine for years, often standing imagining the scene and what it must have been like all those years ago. There are many more trails to come in the near future and it would be great to share your experiences. I am currently looking into ways of offering readers an opportunity to add their own guest posts. I’ll let you know when this is up and running, would love to have your contributions! All the best Andy.


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