Geedee and Rocketeer's 8th Army Air Force Tailwheel Tour 2012

Discussion in 'Warbird Displays' started by Geedee, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    #1 Geedee, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
    As the title suggest, this yet another of our 'whirlwind' tours that we try and take every other year.

    Picture the scene a few months back, Tony and I have been knocking about the idea of a WW2 8Th AAF tour but we hadn't found a suitable theme to help us. Tony comes back from the States with a B-17 taiwheel in his hand luggage (as you do !) and the seed is set. Fast forward to early last week and we have a plan to take a complete B-17 tailwheel and also one from P-51 to a few WW2 Museums' / Memorials in Norfolk / Suffolk on a four day long weekend....and take pics of the wheels on original airfield paving, relating to what flew from where, prefereably with some recognisable infrastructure included.

    Simples ?. Yeah righty !!!!.

    Some statistics :-
    Tony's pics = 1000...Gary's pics = 2612
    Total mileage = 920 Miles
    Diesel used = £150:00
    Total driving time = 25.30 hours

    And a load more statistics to follow through the thread :)

    We visited 23 locations varying from road side Memorials to full blown Tower Museums to an airshow. We'll be doing a section on each of the places we visited, with details about what we found, how accessible, whats there, what to see, what to avoid etc. This'll probably take a good week to get it all down for you guys so keep checking back.

    And I haven't mentioned our mascot / freeloader yet !!

    In the meanwhile, here's a quick taster while I'm getting the first batch of pics ready...and yes, we really where that close to the 51' takeoff...OMFG, what a soundtrack :shock:
     

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  2. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Great photos Gary, waiting for the other 3605....tick, tick, tick.

    Geo
     
  3. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    Well....that was one amazing long weekend.....first up was Steeple Morden......quite honestly one of the best memorials I have ever seen! Very evocative and moving. The first photo shows the B17 P51 tailwheels ready to go. The big brick building was the old Ops building.....
     

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  4. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    The unit badges from Steeple Morden......P51 Mustangs. The prop and nose bowl are real P51
     

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  5. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    Steeple Morden Memorial is 3-4 miles west of Royston on the Litlington road. Parking is pretty limited to about 3 cars on the other side of the road.

    The old ops building is about a half mile farther on the left hand side of the road. It's in use as an agricultural building for storage. There is a bit of peri-track still in use by the farmers but most of the rest of the airfield infrastructure is all long gone.

    For futher info on the 355 FG ...clickey here :-
    8th Air Force Fighter Group - Littlefriends.co.uk

    One word describes this memorial...WOW. We had a chat with one of the local farmers and he recounted stories of the War and also the Memorial open days and was a mine if usefull info.

    There is one thing we found throughout the whole weekend and that was how helpfull and happy to chat the land owners were, wherever we went. A useful tip is to deffo go and knock on the farmhouse door, explain what you are doing and you will be pleasantly surprised by how you are treated....it also opens up lots of opportunities for further exploring with access permission to some of the sites away from roads.
     

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  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Great stuff so far Gary and Tony! Looking forward to the rest of the pics.
     
  7. hub

    hub Member

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    Great photos
    I'd love to do a tour of the old bases
    8)
     
  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Brilliant idea, and great pics Gary and Tony. Looking forward to the next batch - and still giggling about the tail wheels in the boot of the car !
     
  9. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Who needs a spare?

    Great pics of what looks like a great trip!
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Great stuff. More pics please.
     
  11. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    Cheers guys.

    Last few from me from Steeple Morden.

    While walking down to the Ops Building, I noticed this in the ploughed field. Whilst I can't confirm its Wartime vintage, to me it certainly looks like it as the leather was 'delaminating quite nicely etc. Might be wrong but hey !. And finaly, some remains of an old building. We're hoping to find detailed aerial photo's from WW2 so we can see what the buildings that remain are !
     

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  12. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    Once we'd managed to prize ourselves away from this fantastic memorial, we moved on to Fowlmere.

    Fowlmere was the home of the 339 Fighter Group ... 339th Fighter Group

    The memorial is at Manor Farm on the Airfield. Access was limited so we didn't get the chance for too much of a nose-around. Managed to snap a few pics before we moved on. Tony has some other shot's, he'll be posting soon...
     

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  13. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    Fowlmere was also a Battle of Britain airfield (satellite to Duxford). As we entered the old base, a Spitfire was flying around. The P51 tailwheel came out. We also went to the beautiful local church yard.
    My Merlin came from a Mustang, 'Elizabeth Jane' that was lost from Fowlmere.
     

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  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great stuff. I might have an airfield plan for Steeple Morden, plus others - I'll have a look through my stuff.
     
  15. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    What a great series of pics! :thumbright:
     
  16. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    Cheers guys. There's a load more to come !!!

    Once we'd finished listening to the Spittie, it was back into the wheels and off to Bottisham.

    Bottisham was the home of the 361st Fighter Group. You will have heard of Bottisham from me as I've taken my '51 to the Museum run by Jason and the gang over the past few years. The Museum has had to move into temporary accommodation at the Royal British Legion as the site they where originally on, is under threat of property developers. This is a shame as the site is a real time warp, with original buildings and shelters and it consists of original domestic buildings.

    The 361st FG had a distinct yellow nose on their birds and had the handle 'The Yellow Jackets'....
    361st Fighter Group - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    8th Air Force Fighter Group - Littlefriends.co.uk
    Bottisham Airfield Museum - Events Page

    We stopped and asked for permission to take pics from the current owner.

    On some of the previous open-days there have been guided tours of the airfield remains which are very informative !. My last piccie is of an air-raid shelter...its in there...honest !!
     

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  17. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    Just got back from doing the dunker......still full of chlorine....will post something tomorrow!
     
  18. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Great photographs .... ghosts that speak .. :)

    MM
     
  19. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff guys!
     
  20. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Fantastics guys! Wish I could do something similar.
     
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