CAPTURING LINCOLNSHIRE AIRFIELDS

South Lincolnshire looking for a WW1 site at Harlaxton

In the last twelve months Camera/Producer Joanna White has been busy recording the airfields of Lincolnshire from the air, and is now gathering video footage of the 86 airfield sites, past and present, from the ground.

Along with DVD researcher/narrator Alan Stennett, Joanna hopes to produce a lasting record of Lincolnshire’s louboutin outlet uk aviation history, which began in October 1811.  On that date James Sadler (the first Englishman to ascend in a balloon) landed his hydrogen filled balloon at Heckington, near Sleaford, having been blown 112 miles from Birmingham.  Two years later he returned again landing at Dekin Lodge, Stamford.

Lincolnshire’s first aviator was Montague F Glew of South Kelsey.  In 1913 Glew gave a flying demonstration in his Blackburn Monoplane at Market Rasen using a field off Legsby Road, and a few months later gave an ‘exhibition louboutin outlet of flights’ at Horncastle.

Joanna White comments: “…the very early years of aviation must have been so very exciting for those involved, and for the public who witnessed it. Today flying is commonplace. Though it still has its own magic, we can’t ever really know what it felt like to see a flying machine for the first time. And some of the early designs were remarkable!  I never tire of looking at old photographs and film of man’s first attempts at flying, and marvel at the twentieth century development of aircraft.”

Wickenby Airfield, near Lincoln. One of the few WW2 airfields which has all its original runways still in tact.

The first major blossoming of airfields in Lincolnshire began in World War One, with the establishment of Home Defence Squadrons. With each squadron appeared a number of ‘Flight Stations’, like No.33 Squadron at Gainsborough who had aerodromes at Scampton (then known as Brattlesby), Elsham and Kirton in Lindsey, plus another nine landing fields around the county.  Most sites today have reverted to farmland, are covered by buildings or WW2 airfield sites, making them very hard to locate.  As well as Royal Flying Corp sites, our county was home to a Royal Naval Air Station seaplane base at Killingholme, kite balloon base, air gunnery school and an airship training station at Cranwell.  There were also two aircraft acceptance parks at Lincoln,louboutin uk outlet  used for test flying aircraft built at the local manufacturing firms of Ruston, Proctor & Co. and Clayton & Shuttleworth.

In 1935 the second great aviation era of Lincolnshire commenced, with the announcement of the government’s RAF expansion scheme.  Several of the counties older airfields were modernised, others were reoccupied after years of being farmed, and totally new sites were established.  Many are still visible today and easily recognised by their A shape runways, brick hangars, control towers and perimeter tracks (which often join wtih country road networks).  By the end of WW2 there were 49 military airfields in Lincolnshire, more than any other county in Britain.

Finding the sites on the ground can be complicated and Camera/Producer Joanna White has found the iPhone compass and GPS features essential – like here at Cuxwold.

The remaining airfields and the ghostly sites of pre- and WW1 airfields are captured on camera by Primetime Media.  Over the last 50 years there has been a major disposal of airfield land with many sites being neglected, demolished and completely eradicated. It wont be many years before a great deal of the evidence of our aviation history is gone from the land, though the deep WW2 bomb craters that dot the wolds will still remain.

Joanna has been flying over Lincolnshire for eight years, and during that time she has felt a growing need to capture what is left before time runs out.  But finding the sites isn’t always easy.  Some of the WW1 landing grounds have a very general location, often only known to locals and researchers by their bearing from a local village church.  Joanna comments: “Some airfields have been particularly difficult to locate.  I still am not certain I have Harlaxton on tape.  It was a WW1 training aerodrome and home to 44, 20, 26, 53, 54, 68 and 98 Squadrons.  It was closed in 1920 and re-opened again during WW2 welcoming aircraft like Short Stirlings and Vickers Wellingtons.  It was always a grass airfield, and in the 1980s much of it had disappeared under an open cast iron ore mine, which today I cannot locate. A good example of our heritage disappearing from view!”

She concludes: “I hope that what I record will show just what an illustrious history our county has, and continues to have, in aviation.  We can be overlooked as a quiet arable county, but when you see what we’ve contributed to the history of British aviation – Lincolnshire is quite legendary.”

Details of the DVD production will be posted as it develops. If you know of anyone who has early photographs, film or memories of the Airfields of Lincolnshire then please http://www.cuteislam.co.uk/.

QUADTRAC RECORD ATTEMPT

Primetime’s Steve White and Alan Stennett were busy this weekend documenting the record attempt to get 50 Quadtracs cultivating at the same time.

Welton farmer, Helen Rainthorpe, was looking for an idea to raise money for a cancer charity in memory of her father John when one of her farm staff suggested trying to set a record for the largest number of the giant four-tracked articulated Case Quadtrac tractors all working in one field.

Guinness World Records were contacted and after negotiations carried out by Gordon Cummings of Louth Tractors, a figure of 30 machines working simultaneously for five minutes was accepted as enough to establish a new record.

The date was set for July 28th on a field at Helen’s West Hall Farm at Welton Cliff, but the appalling weather earlier in the year meant that the oilseed rape crop could not be harvested in time. Fortunately, Hemswell Cliff farmer Graham Rowles Nicholson stepped into the breach with an offer of a field recently cleared of peas on his land, and the record attempt was on.

Farmers from all over the county, and as far afield as Aberdeen and Bristol, rallied to the cause and on the morning of the event 50 of the massive machines – worth something in the order of £10 million – lined up at the end of a field. About 25,000 horse-power – more than the total power of the full grid of Formula 1 racing cars at full throttle – roared into action and, for seven minutes and forty seven seconds worked their way up the field. A new record was established, over £10,000 raised for charity and Helen was ecstatic. “We did it! A huge thank you for all the support and the turnout today – it’s been incredible!”

Watch out for Primetime’s DVD of the event coming soon on www.primetimevideo.co.uk

 

CATERPILLARS AT SIBBERTOFT

Primetime’s cameras have been busy this weekend in a Quarry at Sibbertoft, Leicestershire where a dozen Caterpillar bulldozers, diggers, and scrapers have been in action. The event was organised by the Link Club, which is an independent club of enthusiasts with a strong interest in the products of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. and its associated organisations.

Caterpillar machinery in action this weekend included a 951, D4D, D2, D3, D4H, D2 3J, D4E, D6C, 933, 941 and 70 Scraper. In addition to the Cat equipment there was also a Bristol Taurus, a Thwaites Goliath Dumper Truck and an Onions scraper box.

This is the second time that Primetime have filmed here. The first DVD programme, Mad About Classic Plant, was produced in 2011 and was a hit with machinery and plant enthusiasts. This year’s event was almost cancelled because of the bad weather, but by the time the first machinery started to arrive the wind and sun had already started to dry out the former quarry, which is now used for 4×4 off-roading.

A few drainage channels were cut by Paul Badger and his Caterpillar D6C to help move the water from the flooded areas in the Quarry, but the extra mud though did make for some superb shots of machines at work! The object of the weekend was to use the Caterpillar machinery to restore and improve the off-road 4×4 course.

The Primetime team used a total of five cameras at the event, fitting miniature ones to many of the machines to get exciting driver point-of-few and close up shots of the machines in action. Alan Stennett was also there to talk to the drivers about their machines and learn about their history. The new DVD will be released later this year and will be advertised in the plant magazines and on Primetime’s new look sales website: www.primetimevideo.co.uk.  For more information and release date contact Primetime on 01205 750055.

 

NEW DVD – DH2 FLYING INTO HISTORY

A new DVD has been released featuring a wonderful WW1 DH2 Replica watch, which is based at Wickenby Airfield in Lincolnshire.

Joanna and Simon White from Primetime travelled with Wickenby’s DH2, Chipmunk and RV10 team, to the Somme area of France last November to record their unique act of remembrance – returning the DH2 aircraft to the skies of the Western Front for the first time in 93 years!

Entitled ‘DH2 – Flying into History’ the film details the short but important history of the DH2 aircraft, which was responsible for reclaiming the skies over the Somme in 1916. The Fokker Eindecker had been an overwhelming force for the German Air Service for too long, and the Royal Flying Corp were desperate to match this threat.

The DVD documents every step of the journey of this unique aircraft, as it cruised south to Duxford, then Headcorn. Pilots Stewart Smith (DH2) and Lee Brocklebank (accompanying Chipmunk) were filled with trepidation as they set out across the English Channel, which thanks to a steady headwind took them 30 minutes to cross. But it was all worth it when they passed over French soil again and landed at the Somme airfields of Abbeville and Albert.

The DH2 team ready for launch

The camera team recorded the journey from the ground and from the air – with mini cameras all over the DH2 and a cameraman aboard the Chipmunk recording air to air across the Somme countryside. They also recorded the poignant service at Thiepval Memorial on 11/11/11, where the DH2 was to drop poppies, but the Somme fog had other ideas! The DVD also shows the unveiling of the memorial to Major Hawker and interviews with the DH2 team, historians and onlookers.

You can watch a few snippets from the film below and if you’d like a copy they are available from our online DVD store.

To read more about their journey then visit the Wickenby DH2 to the Somme blog.

LINCS WW1 AIRCRAFT RETURNS TO THE SOMME

Airco DH.2

This year marks a special anniversary, when the Armistice Day falls on 11/11/11.

Primetime Media will be accompanying the Airco DH.2 and it’s team from Wickenby Airfield in Lincolnshire on an historic trip to the Somme where the DH.2 aircraft operated during WW1.

Major Lanoe Hawker

Wickenby’s DH.2, piloted by Lincolnshire flyer Stewart Smith, will be flying over the proposed site of a memorial to Major Lanoe Hawker of 24 Squadron, and over the Thiepval Memorial. This memorial was erected for 72,195 missing British and South African men who died during the Battle of the Somme, and who have no graves.

Primetime producer Joanna White will be flying alongside the DH.2 recording each step of the journey from a Chipmunk aircraft and from the ground.  The material will be used to produce a DVD which should be available next year.

Joanna is a little worried about how the weather in November could effect proceedings. She states: “This project is entirely subject to weather! Too much low cloud or high winds will prevent the WW1 aircraft from flying.  However, if the weather is fine the sight of an original WW1 fighter crossing the channel and flying above the Somme will be very emotional”.

To find out more about the project, or to support the Lanoe Hawker Fund visit:
www.wickenbydh2.wordpress.com

VULCAN VIDEO MAKES IT TO BBC iPLAYER

Vulcan XH558 has been featured on the BBC’s ‘Britain’s Hidden Heritage’ last night, when John Sergeant visited Doncaster Robin Hood Airport to meet the Vulcan to the Sky team and look around the aircraft.

Featuring heritage sites and objects of interest around Great Britain, the BBC decided to visit the Vulcan and meet the team who restored this iconic aircraft and the pilots who fly it today and who operated in them during the Cold War. The Vulcan is an aircraft which has captured the imagination of the people of this country, qualifying her to be thought of as British heritage.

John Sergeant is a self confessed aircraft lover and had a special interest in this aircraft as a school boy, dreaming he would one day be a Vulcan pilot.  He was allowed to fly alongside XH558 in an Extra aircraft belonging the the Blades Aerobatic Team.

The piece featured the history of the Vulcan, with lots of archive including restoration footage recorded by Primetime for our Vulcan XH558 Restoration DVDs.

The programme is currently available to view on the BBC iPlayer, and if you’d like to find out more about the Vulcan Restoration series of DVDs then please visit our Online Shop.

To find out more about Vulcan XH558 or to support her by donation or buying merchandise please visit www.vulcantothesky.org.