All about Aviation Trails

Aviation trails was set up in 2014, it was initially as a record of my visits to aviation related sites: airfields, museums and memorials. It quickly grew in both size and interest, and as more and more places were visited, I began to research deeper the events and people associated with them.

My initial interest in aviation started with my father who was with the RAF between 1946 and 1956, stationed mainly in the Middle East at Habbaniya amongst others. I have his photo album, with many pictures of aircraft that he worked on, or that visited, during his time in the RAF.

RAF Boulmer

Phantom Gate Guard at RAF Boulmer 2018

He was eventually demobbed at I believe, RAF Manby in Lincolnshire, and told me many tales of his time in the Air Force. Some were funny, some less pleasant. But each one pricked my interest and fed my lust for more.

As a 60s child, I was brought up on Airfix, I dreamt of fast jets soaring above the clouds in a slick 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 the throttles, and old headphones the radios. We lived the fantasy, and for a few hours a day we were pilots – we were living the dream.


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

I lived nearby to what was the British Aerospace development at Bitteswell, Leicestershire, itself a former wartime airfield. Standing at my parent’s bedroom window, I could see Vulcans and the like circling following modification work.

My Father at RAF Manby before being de-mobbed.

Aviation Trails has become a record, my tribute, to those people who served, fought and died operating from RAF and USAAF bases in Britain. A lasting memory to the airfields that grew at an incredible rate in the early war years, changing the landscape of Britain for years to come. Many of these once busy sites are now gone, redeveloped, or returned to agriculture, with many, there is no sign that they were ever even there.

The wartime airfield played a major part in Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany, they are incredible places to visit and I hope that by recording them as trails, others will be able to follow me and pay homage to those who served.

Each trail is designed to be carried out in one go, although with some this is not possible. All the features I talk about, were present at the time of my visit, and were visible / accessible from public spaces – I do not trespass on private land.

The information contained within each trail, is obtained though official documents such as Operational Record Books, contact with other members of the public, books and third party sources for corroboration. There may be, and possibly are errors , such is the nature of wartime records. If any are found please do let me know.

I hope you enjoy the Trails, they are historic records of places and people now very quickly disappearing from our landscape.

If you wish to contact me, please use the email as opposed to this form as contacts through here don’t tend to get seen – apologies.