Where did the summer go? It was here, and now suddenly, the days are shorter, the sun less bright, and it’s autumn. Before the winter arrives, why not plan your own ‘aviation trail?’ It doesn’t even have to be a series of airfields. It could just be one. It could be a memorial, or a museum that tells the story of a part of Britain’s most impressive aviation history. It’s a lovely time for a road trip. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and cool, and Britain’s aviation heritage is waiting… for you.
Have you ever wanted to write something of interest to you? To share with others your thoughts, impressions and words, and to actually see them in print? Here is your opportunity!
‘Aviation Trails’ is inviting you to take an autumn journey to an RAF airfield(s) or other aviation heritage site of your choice. While you are there, remember to take along a notebook to jot down some thoughts and ideas, and of course, take some photographs. If it is an airfield, as you walk about, try to imagine it as it must have been when it was bustling with activity during the days of World War II, when the roar of Merlins vibrated through the air, so often, it became the norm. If it is a memorial or a museum, take time to consider the sacrifices made by those brave men and women and how their lives and the lives of their loved ones, were forever altered by the course of World War II.
When you return home, have a go at writing your very own blog post. Do you know any stories about this airfield, memorial or museum that you have heard over the years? Is there someone in your family who served in the RAF or USAAF and was stationed at one of these airfields? Since Andy last visited some of these airfields, have there been changes you noticed? We would love to hear some of your stories, to learn what you know, and then to be able to share that with our readers.
Once you have completed your post (and be sure to include a few photographs), submit it to: email@example.com – We will have a look and consider your piece for publication as part of ‘Aviation Trails’ as a ‘Guest Post.’
This is one of the final weeks for aviation-related events as it is the autumn half-term break for most of the schools across England. Due to this, there will be some airfields offering ‘Open Days’ for museums, as well as other special events that encourage people to visit before the season comes to a close. I will try to include some of those details below, but it is always best to check out the websites on your own beforehand to find out about opening and closing times, admission fees, etc.
For this post, I’ve decided to focus the suggestions on Lincolnshire, also known as “Bomber Country’. Many of these airfields, museums, memorials and attractions were covered by Andy in Trail 1: Lower Lincolnshire, so you can find additional information and links to museums and such on that page. To have a look, see the link here.
Some of the more well-known airfields and attractions in Lower Lincolnshire include:
- RAF East Kirkby (Open Mon. – Sat. 9:30 am-5:00 pm through end of Oct.). Also. special event on Sat. 1st Nov. 2014: Lancaster night, taxi runs and fireworks).
- RAF Woodhall Spa
- RAF Coningsby (Andy provides very helpful information about the viewing area around Coningsby, so take a look at the link above for his Trail 1).
- Thorpe-Camp Visitor Centre (Open Sundays 1:00-5:00 pm through end of Oct. and by appointment). Also, on Wed. 29th Oct. 2014 – Coningsby Spotters Get Together).
- Dambusters Memorial
- The Petwood Hotel (of Guy Gibson fame)
That being said, you might be in an entirely different county. Please do not feel left out! There are many areas Andy has yet to have the opportunity to visit, and we would LOVE to hear about an RAF airfield, memorial or museum in a county not covered on one of the ‘aviation trails.’ Please feel free to visit one near you, and then write about what you know; tell us about the stories you have heard, or tell us about your family member who once bravely served at one of these airfields.
Before long, these RAF airfields will be but a distant memory. You will no longer have the opportunity to visit as you do now. Inevitably, as we have seen all over England (e.g. Manston Airport), these treasured places of Britain’s aviation past will be developments with rows of houses and not a remnant of their once glorious past or the brave men and women who served to protect their beloved England.
So, do not miss your chance to visit an RAF airfield, a memorial or a museum, and give yourself a chance to be the writer you always wanted to be.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to email us.
Marcella M. Beaudreau (@LadyofShalottMA)