Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours


 
Bomber Command and RAAF in the UK 1939 to 1945 on 15 July 2019

    

Our last day on the road started with a traffic jam trying to exit Bedford as there had been an accident on the M11 and most were redirecting to the A1. However, we basically broke free after about 20 minutes and were then on our way South. I read the daily piece out of the Australians in the Battle of Britain book which we had been reading each morning, the piece from the same day but from 1940. It sets our thoughts on our day ahead. As we had quite a distance to travel to Hendon Museum in London, I then read exerts from another book, "Lancaster Men, The Aussie Heroes in Bomber Command". This always helps the miles fly past as we hear those tagged pieces from the book.

We arrived at Hendon at 0945, much earlier than we had first thought we would arrive due to the Bedford traffic. As always Michael had driven his normal safe trip and negotiated through North London's heavy morning traffic with ease. As the Museum was not to open till 1000, we had a look at a Spitfire that was mounted on a pole at the front gate as a welcome to the Museum. The Museum has gone through a major refurbishment over the last 2 years and is most improved in layout and information including a new interaction area that is excellent for school children.

There are a number of Halls where the aircraft are displayed. All aircraft are static and do not fly but the story boards set with each display details where the plane came from and its previous record when in Service. The Kittyhawk and the Hudson operated in the Pacific flown by Australians and both were recovered from the jungles of New Guinea where they had "hidden" since the War. Some of the planes had been flown in many missions and survived, some had been shot down or crashed and been rebuilt with bits and pieces from other wreaks. Most of that work had been carried out by the technicians at Cosford, where we had visited and where the Hampden and Wellington are undergoing restoration. The Bomber Hall is really special displaying many of the Allied Bombers and some that are extremely rare. German aircraft on display included: Focke-Wulf FW 90, Heinkel HE 111, Junkers JU 87 (Stuka), Messerschmitt BF 109 and a Junkers JU 88. A great display.

At the café we had a light lunch and a few books were purchased from the second hand book shelf before we boarded our coach and headed further into London where we wanted to visit the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park. Again through the traffic, past Marble Arch and down Park Lane where Michael parked and we proceeded on foot, under the road in a walkway near Apsley House, Wellington's Home and the across the park to view firstly the Australian Memorial that has all the town names from where Australians had lived and left to take part in both World Wars. We then moved on to view the magnificent Bomber Command Memorial, opened by the Queen in June 2012. We had a picture taken adjacent to the Memorial before we headed back to our coach and made our way to the Pullman Hotel. Arriving we said our goodbyes to both our driver Michael and Marlene and Bob. Michael was taking Marlene and Bob to Heathrow as they are flying out to Singapore this evening. At that stage the Bomber Command Tour for 2019 was nearly over, only dinner tonight and a farewell drink before we leave the Pullman after breakfast tomorrow. Has been an excellent tour and we have seen much and have been to many interesting places.









Graham Fleeton

    

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