Last night we stayed at the Petwood Hotel. This hotel is basically a Manor House of the past and with another past, the Officers Mess for the Dam Busters during their preparation to carry out that famous raid. The rooms are heritage in type, roomy with a very comfortable bed and the food here was excellent.
We had a busy day with a detailed timetable necessary to gain access to working RAF Airfields. Our first stop was to Conisby, the home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Due to our numbers being below the minimum to attract an individual tour, we were to wait for 35 min to finally gain access to the hangar. Roger, our guide, had difficulty competing with the noise of the Tornados taking off next door from the airfield and this extended our time in the hangar as Roger stopped each time a plane flew off. A good visit and viewing of some planes from the BBMF, including the Lancaster.
The time lost caused a ripple effect that had us phoning the Scampton Heritage Association and Waddington Heritage Association to renegotiate the times for our visits. Eventually we were able to put off our visits later than originally booked and I must thank both the volunteers at both Scampton and Waddington to stay open so that we could visit.
The history of the RAF was on display in both Museums, Scampton and Waddington with photographs and the Squadron histories that were documented. There was also a photograph taken by the wife of one of the crew of the Hampdens preparing to take off for the first bombing of the War.
Also, we saw the Blue Missile. In the 1960s, during the Cold War that was nuclear and used as a deterrent for any thrust by the USSR. The rocket was nuclear and fitted to Vulcan Bombers so that at the time of an attack on the UK, within 4 minutes a flight of armed Vulcan bombers would be air born and on the way to retaliate. This deterrent most probably helped keep the peace in those times as when you fired a nuclear device, you had to be prepared to take one back. The Vulcans would be air born within 4 minutes.
We arrived at our hotel in Bedford at 2100. Tomorrow Duxford.