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Jessie The Jeep

I've been spending again! My '43 GPW

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The visit to the 100th Bomb Group Museum at Thorpe Abbotts was the main reason for taking "Hope" on the trip. When I was looking for a paint scheme for the GPW, I had found several pictures of the Station Photo Jeep as reference. Like I had done with "Jessie" eight years before, I wanted to take "Hope" to the same places as the wartime photos were taken and recreate the scenes. This was going to be "Hope's" longest trip, having only clocked up 100 miles during 2014 in short drives. Thorpe Abbotts was about 30 miles away, but we set off on the smaller 'B' roads to avoid the fast traffic of the A140. It was a lovely sunny day, ideal for photos.

 

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The first scene was located by the Photo Lab building in the Technical Site. Unfortunately, this part of the site isn't used by farm vehicles and so was too overgrown to take the Jeep there. However, we set off to get as close as we could, intending to go the rest of the way on foot. The map shows the Photo block and the small red rectangle shows the position of the Jeep in the original colour photo.

 

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The first few pictures show the drive across the airfield and into the Technical Site.

 

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In the background of the wartime picture, two B-17's can be seen on the dispersals shown in the upper left of the site plan. The overhanging oak tree is still there in the wood, while the concrete hardstand is completely overgrown.

 

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To recreate the picture, I took a photo of the wood, with the overhanging oak branch, in the position which seemed to match most closely. I took another picture of myself and the Jeep on the perimeter track beside the control tower, and then blended the two images to create the final reproduction.

 

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From there, we headed back across the airfield to the museum, and then on to the Half Moon pub at Rushall for some lunch, a favourite haunt of the 100th BG airmen. After lunch, we returned to the museum for a look around, and to take some additional photos in front of the Control Tower, with the Jeep and my new K-20 Aerial Camera.

 

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The B-17 below is my 1/10 scale radio controlled model, the first flying B-17 I built between 1988 and 1993. It spans a little over 10 feet and weighed 36 pounds at take off. It paved the way for the larger 17 feet span 1/6 scale version built in 1994/95.

 

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The model shows the airfield as it was during the war, with the 'Spectacle' type hardstand next to the Photo Lab just right of centre in the upper part of the image. The opening in the wood to the right was the site of the base hospital. The bomb dump was to the right of the hospital in another wood off the right of this picture. The Control Tower is positioned towards the left of the long straight 351st Squadron dispersals along the bottom of the image.

 

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We still had additional comparison photos to take, but they were on the South side of the airfield, and planned to get them on the way home. The pictures below were taken on the junction between the perimeter track and the hedge lined road South past the 'Spectacle' hardstand ( up past the hospital wood in the model photo ).

 

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The final two recreation photos were taken on the junction between the road from the Technical site and the East/West A143 to Diss. The position of the original A143 has been moved North slightly, and now probably covers the site of the picket post, but we parked as close as possible to the location to take the comparison photos.

 

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The Sunday morning of the Debach open day started quite wet, however it did start to dry up around lunch time for the planned convoy. The route took us on a combination of minor roads and farm fields with Jeeps at the front, Dodges and other medium vehicles in the centre, and the GMC's and other heavy vehicles bringing up the rear.

 

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Part way through the run, the Jeep a few ahead of us got stuck and couldn't get into four wheel drive. By the time he got sorted, he had lost the convoy, and took us briefly the wrong way. We realised his mistake and turned around in time to catch the mid part of the Dodge section of the convoy. It did however allow us to capture some different views with the trucks as we headed back to the airfield.

 

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After the morning road run, the vehicles parked up around the tower and other museum buildings. An impressive number of vehicles belong to Richard, the museum owner. These include a GMC Compressor truck, GMC Bolster Truck, Fordson Fire Truck, Workshop truck, Hebard Aircraft Tug, Jeeps, Dodge Ambulance and just purchased but not yet arrived, an Austin K2 Ambulance.

 

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A large number of the original Technical Site buildings remain on the site, although the main T2 hangar has gone, to be replaced by two peaked roof farm buildings erected on the old hangar base. The MT Shed and Parachute Store remain, along with several Romney huts, concrete vehicle ramps and the Dingy Store. Here's just a few of the buildings.

 

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We packed up on Sunday evening for the long drive home, getting back about half past midnight.

 

For more information about the 100th and 493rd BG Museums, visit:-

 

http://www.100bgmus.org.uk/

 

http://493bgdebach.co.uk/

Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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Yes it was good to meet up, and no doubt we'll be back at Debach or another Norfolk/Suffolk event again before too long. We used to make one long trip a year until fuel prices went up to the £1.40 mark, and 5.5 to 6 hours travel time isn't too much; really!! :D

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June 3rd - Fuel Tank Float Again!

Third time lucky. The original cork float on the fuel tank sender soaked up petrol and sank. I tried to make a replacement cork float, coated in epoxy to seal it, and while it floated in water, it was too heavy for petrol. I made a temporary replacement from an old 35mm film container which worked for a while, but a tiny split developed where the sender arm went through the container, and fuel seeped in and it sank too.

Ok, I'll look on the internet for a float! No, I could find senders with floats, I could find floats in the USA that would cost more than they were worth to ship to the UK, so I settled for making one. Most types have the sender arm wrapped around the float, not through the centre as on the Jeep.

I got some very thin model making brass sheet and made a brass float, rather resembling Barnes Wallace's Bouncing Bomb! It was fitted this morning and seems to be working ok.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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After the trip to Suffolk, we gave the Jeep a wash down to get rid of the mud and grass gathered in the off road section of the convoy. The wash was just a hose down and scrub with a brush. After the Jeep dried off, there was still a coating of dust that hadn't moved, but at least the worst of the mud was gone.

So today, the Jeep came out again for a shampoo and rinse! I'm not sure what the dust was, whether it was just powdered soil of something of chemical origin from the fields, but even after a second wash with shampoo, it still stubbornly remained in some places. A third trip around the Jeep with the hose, brush and sponge seemed to get rid of most of it, sponging the bodywork down as it dried removed the rest in all but the hard to reach corners.

Once the Jeep was dry, I went around with a paint brush and did some touch ups on paint chips.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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For a long time, we've referred to the Ford GPW as 'Hope', although the Jeep was never named officially. This was partly due to not wanting a name on the screen like 'Jessie' has. It would have spoiled the wartime comparison photos that I wanted to do for a long time, and recently managed during our Thorpe Abbotts visit.

Even though I now have those pictures, I still didn't want to paint on the screen frame, but spent some of the last week, pondering other suitable areas. I wanted to avoid the right side of the Jeep so it still matched the wartime pictures, and as the driver is on the left, the area over the instrument panel behind the hood seemed to be a good location.

It didn't need to be big, so after a bit of tinkering and adjusting a font on the computer, I printed out a six inch long name to produce a paper stencil. This was drawn through with a pencil, and the name brush painted between the pencil lines, so at last, 'Hope' is now officially 'Hope'.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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Tanfield Railway 'Legends of Industry Gala' - June 20/21st

 

I've done a more in depth report in my Flying Control Jeep thread, but since we had both Jeeps out for the the first time together, I'll add a few extra pictures here.

 

Since June was quiet for events, we took both Jeeps to join the classic cars attending the Tanfield Railway Gala. Tanfield is the oldest railway in the world, dating back to 1725, a full century before the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

 

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As exhibitors, we were given some free travel passes which allowed us unlimited rides on the trains. While we didn't spend all day riding the rails, we did have a number of rides, stopping at some of the stations for a look around, or to just watch the trains come and go.

 

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Avro Vulcan XH558 Farewell Tour ( Northern ) - June 27th

 

I wasn't sure what to do for the Vulcan Tour weekend. Initial thoughts were to take a Jeep to the aircraft museum and watch the Vulcan there. However, due to the number of public they expected, I wasn't going to be able to get the Jeep in, and I didn't want to spend all day there. Instead I thought about just popping down in the Jeep, and parking on the grass corner of the main road junction. Later on Friday afternoon, since I was on my own for the weekend, I hatched a wild plan to see the Vulcan at Sunderland on Saturday, and at Duxford in Cambridge, driving South early Sunday morning. As it turned out, I was offered overnight accomodation with a friend near Duxford, so planned to head South soon after the Vulcan displayed in Sunderland.

 

I set off with about half an hour to spare before the display. Lots more people decided to park on the main road too. I doubt they would have fitted in the museum anyway. Upon arriving about 15 minutes before the Vulcan was due, there were cars everywhere. Fortunately, being in the GPW, I was able to park in the rough overgrown area where others didn't want to take cars. Even the Fire Brigade turned up in a Fire Engine and parked on the grass.

 

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Local Vulcan XL319 was just visible from the road, but due to the nature of the site, with a tall hangar and trees all around, the site itself wasn't going to give a good view of the display. The Vulcan was slightly ahead of time, appearing at 13:39 from the South West, and passing very close to the road, before turning away from the museum over farmland to the North.

 

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The Vulcan continued its orbit to the left over the farmland again, and then back for another pass over the road. Here I caught a picture of it over 'Hope', parked on the far side of the road. From there, another left hand power on climbing turn, sideslipping down and round into a left orbit again.

 

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After the sideslip orbit, the Vulcan passed over the road one more time, climbing out to the South East past the museum, before turning East for the coast where it would then fly North to Scotland.

 

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It took several minutes for the volume of leaving traffic leaving the road to clear, before I could cross back over the road to the Jeep. Even then, I wasn't going to get back out of the junction, and had to take a longer back route home. Once home, I put the Jeep away and started packing, heading South around 4pm.

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Avro Vulcan XH558 Farewell Tour ( Southern ) - June 28th

 

While not an event with the Jeep, I may as well conclude the Vulcan hunting story!

 

I left my friend's house about 09:50 on Sunday morning for the short drive to Duxford. There was a queue already at the entrance, as people were processed through the tills, but within about 15 to 20 minutes, I was through and onto the airfield, where the first Spitfire of the day was already preparing to take off. After it climbed away, I headed back to the Victor, and into the Airspace hangar to see their Vulcan.

 

The first couple of pictures are of Duxford's two 'V' Force bombers, Victor XH648 and Vulcan XJ824.

 

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Since the American Air Museum is being refurbished, most of the exhibits are spread out around the rest of the site. The B-17, B-24, C-47, P-51, SR-71, UH-1 and T-33 were all in the end of the Airspace Hangar.

 

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After a brief Spitfire display, it begand to rain more heavily, so I made my way to the Fighter Collection Hangar. Here I saw their P-40C for the first time, and the two MkI Spitfires, one of which I've seen before, but not since its new coat of paint. For the rest of the morning, I was hopping in and out of the hangars avoiding the rain, before going for lunch at noon, hoping it would clear soon as forecast. Thankfully it did, and I was treated to three other Spitfires flying, a Harvard, and I was delighted to see the B-17 and Blenheim being prepared for flight. The last time I saw the Blenheim was three years ago, and it was still in primer with many parts yet to be fitted. Later in the afternoon, the OFMC P-51 Mustang was wheeled out and prepared for flight too.

 

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