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Jessie The Jeep

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  1. We probably could have had a few more military vehicles there, but several local owners are still on their way back from the Normandy commemorations. The organisers seemed very pleased with the way the day went and with the turnout so no doubt it will be back for a third year in 2020.
  2. In addition to the military vehicles, there was a good selection of vintage cars and three traction engines. There was also a big piece of farm machinery, possibly a threshing machine, but more accurately described as the chomping, clanking, whirring, spinning, jiggling machine - see here....
  3. Northallerton 1940's Day - June 9th Back on the raod again today, this time to Northallerton, where like last year, it turned out nice again. This was the only the second year for the event but it was supported well by both vehicles and public. It was an 80 minute drive to cover the 47 miles there, heading straight down the A167 and A68 to Northallerton. Most of my pictures were taken soon after arriving, before the public started getting in the way. The highstreet had a constant stream of people walking up and down all day and several shops and cafes had also opened to make the most of the crowds.
  4. The last time I was there was in 2015, when I took the Ford GPW there to recreate some wartime pictures. Four years later, there were a number of changes to the displays, including moving my B-17 from a waist high display over a painting of the airfield to being suspended from the ceiling. It wasn't a long visit, but it was nice to get back for another look around. Late afternoon that day, we had a group trip to the coast in this 1941 Chrysler Royal Staff Car. That was it for the trip and the following day, we packed up and returned home. No rest for the wicked however and "Jessie" is back out tomorrow to the Northallerton 1940's day.
  5. Station 139 - Thorpe Abbotts - June 1st On the morning on June 1st, we had another run out to Thorpe Abbotts, home to the 100th Bomb Group. The 100th was the Group that B-17G "Hang The Expense" belonged to. I built two large radio controlled versions of this aircraft, one at 1/10 scale, spanning a little over 10 feet wingspan, and a larger 1/6 scale version, just over 17 feet wingspan. Back in 1995, I donated the smaller 1/10 scale aircraft to the museum at Thorpe Abbotts. 24 years later, it is still on display, though having moved several times during that time. The museum is located in the original Control Tower and Night Flying Equipment Store, supplemented by additional Nissen huts built in the early days of the museum in the late 1970's and early 80's. Each year, the smaller displays are changed and artifacts rotated to tell different stories of the base and the men who served there.
  6. Rather than post all the photos, there's a link at the end of this post to the page where they can be found. Instead I'll add just a few more pictures of the airfield. Looking East, around 2,300 feet of the runway is still there. Along side it is a grass strip with signs warning of an active airfield. Driving further South East along the public road, another stretch of perimeter track survives, along with the spur that led to the Western most T2 hangar. Only the hangar base remains with large farm buildings built on it. This is the South East end of the second hangar. Glenn Miller played here. A ghostly hangar echoes to sounds of an imagined big band. The memorial in Horham village. My web page link - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/horham.htm
  7. Horham Airfield - May 31st - Home to the 95th Bomb Group On the morning of Friday 31st, Lynne and I took the Jeep for the short drive to Horham airfield. Pronounced locally as "Horum", I can imagine the American airmen calling it "Whore Ham"! To start, here's a Google image with my picture locations marked on. It was the Head Quarters of the 13th Combat Wing, made up from the 95th, 100th and 390th Bomb Groups. Most of the airfield has been returned to agriculture, but signs of the runways and perimeter tracks survive and it is possibly unique amongst 8th Air Force airfields in having two museums dedicated to the wartime activities - One at the base hospital and one at the Red Feather Club, the former NCO's club. The sign at the entrance to the 95th Bomb Group Hospital Museum. A couple of the Hospital Museum buildings. It was closed at the time of our visit. We looked around in 2007 during the "Operation Bolero - Tour of the Dromes" convoy event. The Red Feather Club is a newer museum but wasn't open on the Friday we visited.
  8. We carried on North West until we arrived on the Southern edge of the accommodation area of Fersfield airfield. We arrived at a site containing at least six Nissen huts in various states of decay. The site is up for sale with planning permission to convert the two most intact huts into a house. Fersfield was used by the U.S. Navy for a top secret operation - "Operation Aphrodite". War weary bombers were stripped out and packed with explosives and were flown by radio control to attack U-Boat pens and other reinforced concrete targets. From Wiki - "The first mission took place on 4 August 1944 The target was a V-1 site in Pas-de-Calais. In the first phase of the mission, two motherships and two drones took off. Unfortunately, one of the drones went out of control shortly after the first crewman had bailed out. It crashed near the coastal village of Orford, destroying 2 acres (8,100 m2) of trees and digging an enormous crater. The body of the other crewman was never found. The second drone was successfully dispatched toward the Pas-de-Calais. However, clouds obscured the television view from the nose just as the drone approached the target site, and the plane missed the target by 500 ft (150 m). The second phase of the mission fared little better. One robot BQ-7 had a control malfunction before it could dive onto its target and was shot down by German flak. The other one missed its target by 500 yd (460 m). Several subsequent missions were attempted, one of them being a United States Navy PB4Y-1 which exploded over the village of Blythburgh, Suffolk, killing LT Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the brother of future President John F. Kennedy. The last Aphrodite mission was on 20 January 1945, against a power station at Oldenburg. Both drones missed their targets by several miles. After this last effort, the Aphrodite concept was abandoned as being unfeasible, and the USAAF scrapped the effort. The reality was that 1944 technology was simply not good enough to do the kind of job that was required." After a brief drive around the airfield technical site in the fading light and a stop for coffee at a friend's house, we headed back home in the dark.
  9. We grabbed food in Diss, and drove further West to an open public area for a Jeep top picnic as the Sun began to set. As the Sun set, the evening colours changed to a strong orange/red.
  10. Departing Eye heading North, we travelled up the A140, then East on the A143 before turning North again through the main entrance of what was the 100th Bomb Group Airfield, Thorpe Abbotts. We pulled up to Site 1, at the South West of the airfield, the former 351st Bomb Squadron accommodation site. The ablution blocks still stand amongst the long grass. In addition to these buildings, several hut bases and a number of overgrown blast shelters survive on the site. After stopping for some photos, we drove on through the Communal Site, past the Generator House and onward around the perimeter track to the West of the flying area. Crossing the main runway, we then turned left away from the airfield in search of a Fish & Chip shop.
  11. On the 31st, our two Jeeps went out for an evening tour of some of the local airfields. The first stop was Eye airfield, Station 134. This was the home to the 490th Bomb Group. My last visit to the airfield was in 2012, but since then, a new memorial has built, being unveiled almost exactly three years before our current visit. Our first stop on our little convoy, was to this new memorial on the East side of the airfield, located very close to one of the wartime underground fuel stores.
  12. Suffolk Holiday - May 28th ~ June 2nd After East Kirkby, on Tuesday May 28th, we continued South to Suffolk for a mini holiday, staying on Clive Steven's farm, himself an MV collector. Originally, I had asked just for a safe place to leave the Jeep, but Clive offered us a patch of grass large enough for our 5 acre tent! Most of the day was taken up by packing up at East Kirkby, the drive South and setting up the tent again at the new location. Norfolk and Suffolk was of course the home to the U.S. 8th Army Air Force during World War 2, and so a bit of exploring in the Jeep was on the cards. We were staying near the town of Eye, itself an 8th Air Force airfield. Not far away in flying time are two current USAF airfields - Mildenhall and Lakenheath. Aircraft from these airfields were frequently seen flying over head, including many F-15 Eagles, though none when I had my DSLR camera to hand!
  13. 5 - Tech Site perimeter track heading South West 6 - ENE-WSW Secondary Runway looking East North East 7 - The NW end of the NW-SE Secondary Runway looking South East 15 - The Main Runway from the WSW-ENE runway intersection, looking North The full tour can be seen here - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/ek_af.htm We stayed on site again on Monday evening, but instead of heading home on Tuesday, continued South for a holiday in Suffolk, since we were already so far down the country. Norfolk and Suffolk were of course home to the U.S. 8th Army Air Force and part of the holiday would involve exploring some airfields. Those photos are yet to be processed.
  14. Airfield Tour I made a few tours of the airfield over the weekend - some in the Jeep and an official one in the Bedford/Queen Mary. Most of the runways have been reduced to a single concrete bay wide but the basic layout of the airfield is still there to be seen. The Eastern and Northern extremities of the airfield weren't investigated on this trip. Not shown on the plan, is the large post war USAF extension to the NE-SW runway which still exists. 1 - The Control Tower 2 - Post War USAF Fire Station 3 - Fred Panton Memorial Bench 4 - Meridian Memorial
  15. Further aviation pictures can be found here - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/ek_ac.htm
  16. The Mossie taxied several times around the large grass flying area. The BBMF Dakota gave a flypast on Saturday and a full display on Monday. Shortly after the Monday Dakota display, the sky darkened and at 15:00hrs, exactly as B-17 "Sally B" began to display, the Pacific Ocean dropped out of the sky onto the airfield. As a result, the B-17 shots are poor and several show heavy streaking from the rain. I got soaked. "Just Jane" gave several taxi experiences each day.
  17. Aviation Saturday May 25th was the first time the Mosquito made a full taxi in front of the public. It made an engine running appearance at the beginning of the month, but only rolled a few feet forwards. Once again, I took many, many pictures, only some of which are posted here. Resident Lancaster, "Just Jane" Resident Mosquito, formerly based at Elvington Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota B-17 Fortress, "Sally B", photographed in pouring rain.
  18. The Bedford/Queen Mary trailer was giving airfield tours across the weekend. On Sunday evening, I noticed that the near by Lancaster fuselage gave the impression of a fully loaded trailer. One of the dioramas. My Armour and MV gallery page, showing more photos from the event. can be found here - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/ek_mv.htm
  19. One evening, most of the armour went for a drive around the airfield, escorted by troops on foot. I managed to catch the Jackson and Chaffee firing again this year. Catching the flash from the barrel is almost impossible on my DSLR, especially when you don't know when the shot will be fired. Shooting video however, usually catches the flash on at least one video frame and a piece of astronomy software I have, can then split the video into single frames to extract the image I want.
  20. There were four 'tanks' in attendance, a Sherman, Jackson, a Chaffee and Chaffee replica plus several more unusual vehicles. There were battles and firing demonstrations both days from the tanks.
  21. East Kirkby "Lanc, Tank & Military Machines" - May 25 & 27th Military Vehicles & Armour This was our second time at the show, but this year, the Jeep went in US markings rather than the RAF of last year. Saturday was the brighter of the two days, although the bright Sun did make for very contrasty pictures. I took hundreds of photos, only a small percentage of which I added to my Jeep website gallery. Fewer still are added here, but I've picked out some of the more unusual vehicles and will add a link to my gallery pages. My family and "Jessie the Jeep"
  22. Perhaps they still have the mould. Try Richard Taylor at http://493bgdebach.co.uk/
  23. The bombs at Debach airfield are concrete! and probably weigh a similar amount to the wartime bombs. I guess the material really depends whether you want it transportable.
  24. Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 18/19th I took both the "Jessie" and "Faith" to Blyth Battery at the weekend, one on each day. The main report is on my Dodge thread here - ( http://hmvf.co.uk/topic/15260-1944-flying-control-dodge-wc51-the-story-so-far/page/24/?tab=comments#comment-447735 ). Next mission, "Lanc, Tank and Military Machines" at East Kirkby over the Bank Holiday weekend.
  25. Blyth Battery was just one piece of the coastal defences around the port which can be seen in the following picture. The journey home in the Dodge was uneventful and we went straight back to the storage yard. The Dodge was then packed away in the container and we made the last three miles back home in the car left there when I collected the Dodge the night before.
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