We are at the top of our circle around the UK visiting the airfields from where our Australian Airmen flew during that bombing campaign against Germany. Today we head back south away from York and will reach Wolverhampton tonight. But first we have a few visits in mind.
We are on our way to Cosford where we had an appointment at RAF Cosford to be taken through the Conservation Centre. However there is a wonderful Memorial Garden at RAF Snaith where 150 Squadron and 51 Squadron operated from during the War. The Garden is attended to by Mike and Isabel Hesp and I look forward to taking our group there each year as it is a marvel to see. Mike and Isabel are so dedicated that they go to the garden every second day to water and ensure things are surviving, the men named at the site would be proud to be remembered in such a fashion. We were proud to be there with Mike and Isabel and we conducted a small Service where Des Morris read a prayer and Mike and Isabel laid a poppy each, one for those lost flying with 51 Sqn and one for those lost flying with 150 Sqn.
Mike had many stories to relate to us of the lucky escapes and the tragedies associated with both Sqns. We would have liked to stay longer but we still had some way to go so we said our farewells and headed south again towards Cosford.
We arrived at Cosford following a 2 hour trip down the highways and were met by our guide, Tony, who escorted us firstly to a viewing platform above the Conservation Centre where we were shown the planes that are to be shown as part of the First World War Exhibition. These planes had been moved up from Hendon for the Exhibition. We were also shown the other planes that are being rebuilt, namely a Wellington and a Hampden. RAF Cosford has an excellent programme for apprentices and is in the top 10 trainers of apprentices in the UK year after year. We saw the benefit of the scheme in the work the apprentices were doing.
After the Conservation Centre visit, Tony took us through the various parts of the Collection. Before taking us to the main halls he showed us the Dornier 17, that has recently been recovered from the sea and is undergoing a purification wash to delouse it from things gathered while in the salt water for 70 years.
The guide in these photos was in one group, Tony has a wealth of information, easy to understand and spoke loud enough so that we all could hear his words and even his accent from the north was easy on the ears.. We learnt many snippets associated with the Collection and he was impressed with the general knowledge of our group and the questions that we asked. An excellent visit to a wonderful Museum.
A long day and we then needed to have a rewarding drink at our hotel.
We arrived and were ushered through a seamless check-in procedure by Hannah. All our group then dumped their bags in their rooms and proceeded to the bar for a well deserved refreshment.
After we arrived at the bar, John Armstrong, the General Manager of the Wolverhampton Novotel Hotel, where we were staying, introduced himself to us. He is an Australian and his daughter wanted to meet us due to the accents that she had heard.
John stayed with us for an hour and discussed various matters with us including the general education system and the way sport is not really organised through the school system. John also shouted the group a drink as he was aware we were coming to his hotel and that this was the 6th visit.
Tomorrow we head further south and hope that the weather allows some special activities that we have planned.