Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

On Tour - RAAF Bomber Command in the UK Tour 16 July 2023


A different day today, and we remained dry following being drowned yesterday at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

We decided to head for Broadway early so as to have morning tea in any one of the petite coffee shops that abound on the High Street of this, the Crown Jewel of the Cotswolds. Travelling to Broadway took us through some beautiful countryside where there was much greenery and also many paddocks under cultivation, which, in days from now with have the harvesters out there gathering in the crops. There is an interesting aspect when travelling through the hedge lined roads at tis time of year, they require a "haircut"! Many times, the coach was brushing the hedge as it passed by. It seems that the hedges on the sides of the roads are not trimmed until the Autumn. There is a reason, by Autumn, any nesting birds, who use the hedges for that purpose, have completed their breeding cycle and have moved on. Once the hedging commences, all the trimmed pieces are gathered and put in large stacks with some dirt and something to breakdown the leaves and this is kept until it breaks down into, compost. The compost is available for citizens and is used by the Councils for public gardens.

Often referred to as the 'Jewel of the Cotswolds', Broadway village lies beneath Fish Hill on the western Cotswold escarpment, in the county of Worcestershire and close to the border of Gloucestershire. Just 2 hours from central London and within easy reach of Stratford, Warwick, Cheltenham, Oxford & Bath. Beautiful in all seasons, Broadway welcomes travellers from all over the world. The pretty High Street is lined with horse chestnut trees and includes a mixture of period houses & picturesque honey coloured Cotswold stone cottages which have lured visitors for centuries. A memorable place to stay and a perfect base from which to tour the local area and enjoy stunning walks. The village lies on The Cotswold Way national walking trail which runs 164 kilometres from Chipping Campden to Bath. We spent an hour in the village before boarding our coach and heading south to our next destination, Middle Wallop, to visit the Army Flying Museum.

Again, as we travelled south, we stayed off the main motorways and Michael, our driver of many years, used smaller 'A' roads to ensure we passed through beautiful countryside and a diverse collection of villages. Medieval, chocolate box and villages with larger substantial homes, many with beautiful gardens. It took us 2 hours for that special drive before we arrived at Middle Wallop. The Army Flying Museum is located at Middle Wallop, close to Andover, in Hampshire. The Museum tells the story of British Army Flying from the early days of military ballooning to the modern Army Air Corps. The collection was started in 1946 at RAF Andover but later moved to Middle Wallop and first opened to the public in 1974.

In 1984, the Museum moved from a location "behind the wire" to a new, purpose built hangar which is located on the edge of an active airfield. The Museum has since been extended twice more and now comprises two large aircraft halls (the Prince Michael of Kent Hall and the Hayward Hall) a learning centre, a 1940s house display, a play park, and conference facilities.

The collection covers the five main branches of Army Aviation: Royal Engineers (1878 - 1912), The Royal Flying Corps (1912 - 1918), Air Observation Post Squadrons (1941 - 1957), the Glider Pilot Regiment (1942 - 1957) and the current Army Air Corps (1957 - to date). Over 40 aircraft can be seen in the Museum. These range from a First World War biplane to a Huey Cobra attack helicopter plus an example of every Allied glider used operationally during the Second World War.

Highlights of the collection include a Sopwith Pup - an example of a single-seat fighter introduced in 1916 - and a Lynx helicopter which broke the world speed record in 1972 by achieving an average speed of 199.92 miles per hour (321.74 km per hour) in a 100 km closed circuit. It was also the first British helicopter ever to complete a barrel roll. But before we ventured off to view the Museum, we had lunch in the cafeteria which looks over the airfield. There was so much to see there, and it took over 2 hours for us to view the collection. Just prior to the COVID shutdown a major refurbishment was completed, and this has lifted the museum to a high standard. All enjoyed their visit to the museum and spoke highly of the standard of presentation. The White Hart Hotel which is adjacent to Salisbury Cathedral and where will be staying for three nights was our next stop and following settling in, we met for drinks before moving into a large private dinning room for dinner. A very good day was had for all, but, tomorrow more adventures.

Graham Fleeton.

It is with regret that the reports on this tour end here. The guide Graham Fleeton had to return to Australia due to a family issue. The tour continued without our guide and reporter.


© Battlefield History Tours ABN 74107857705, PO Box 201, Northmead NSW 2152, AUSTRALIA, Phone: 1300 450 436 or +61 412 399 693 Click to contact
website designed and maintained by Cibaweb Site Disclaimer

go to top of page