I knew that today could well be a long one indeed and I was correct in my first thoughts, a long day indeed it was which had us arriving at our hotel in Bedford at 1750. But first, the day and where we went and what we saw. Leaving our hotel at 0900 we headed to the new Bomber Command Heritage Centre that has been established on high ground overlooking Lincoln and from where you can view the famous Lincoln Cathedral high up on the high ground across the valley. Returning Bombers used the Cathedral as a landmark that enabled them to find their airfield safely and in many books written by crews they mention how the sight of the Cathedral meant, home at last. The centre has been well planned over a few acres with trees planted for each of the Bases that were located in Lincolnshire and on each plaque it depicted the losses from those Bases. Around the Spire within the Peace Garden are panels with all the names of those who were lost serving in Bomber Command.
After our time at the Memorial we headed through Lincoln to RAF Scampton where we had an appointment to visit the base from where the Dambuster Raid departed from. As an operational base we had to pre-register a few months ago for approval to visit. Met at the gate by our guide we proceeded through the base and out onto the tarmac where the original hangars still stand and are in fact the home of the Red Arrow Aerobatic Team who were flying at that time for some RAF Associations. It was good to be able to see them fly but also excellent was the co-ordination shown as they landed and formed up on the side of the tarmac. We were there 2 hours and given a guided tour of the museum and Guy Gibson's office from where he commanded 617 Squadron. Part of our briefing and tour included significant details of the raid. An excellent visit.
Our next move was to Newak Museum which over the last few years has been expanding due to the number of aircraft they have on display and what they have coming to them in the future. Interesting aircraft that we hadn't seen elsewhere were the 2 Russian MIG fighters, they looked straight out of the Top Gun Movie. A big day and we arrived into our hotel at 1800 for a drink and dinner.