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Jessie The Jeep

My Flying Control Jeep

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A number of other vehicles were on display, including an Austin Tilly, three Airborne Jeeps, the Royal Navy bomb disposal group and a Jeep from the East Yorks Regiment. There were also several civilian cars and a bus.

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Late on Saturday, all the RAF re-enactors gathered at the tower to re-create a VE Day photograph from Elvington, posted on the YAM Facebook page. I got one quick photo of most of the re-enactors in place, before joining them for another press picture. Unfortunately, nobody was allowed on the top of the tower. 

The original wartime image can be found at this link, hosted on Facebook - https://scontent.flhr4-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/60121060_2172528626116492_3242847574318645248_n.jpg?_nc_cat=102&_nc_ht=scontent.flhr4-2.fna&oh=b5643ef60fedfebfce86c2fec235d5a6&oe=5D5A032B

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Once the balcony emptied, I climbed up for a quick top view of the Halifax and my camp.

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Once the public left at the end of the day, and most of the re-enactors had gone to eat, I took "Jessie" back to the Halifax to do another photo shoot of my own. The view through the back window of the Jeep was edited to create the effect of the Halifax engines running. Unfortunately, due to the position of a small wood near the T2 hangar, the strange orange evening light of the sun set was shielded from the Halifax.

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Sunday began with an atmospheric mist over the airfield and another opportunity to catch the Halifax in a different light.

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The mist soon burned away to give a very hot day, with little wind to provide cooling. Both days saw a good turnout from the public and everyone seemed to enjoy the weekend. The museum was very pleased with the way it went and have confirmed the dates for 2020.

Further images can be seen on the event page of my Jeep website - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/elvington.htm

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Posted (edited)

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.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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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"

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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.

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One evening, most of the armour went for a drive around the airfield, escorted by troops on foot. 

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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.

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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.

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One of the dioramas.

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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

 

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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"

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Resident Mosquito, formerly based at Elvington

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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota

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B-17 Fortress, "Sally B", photographed in pouring rain.

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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. 

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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.

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"Just Jane" gave several taxi experiences each day.

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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. 

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1 - The Control Tower

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2 - Post War USAF Fire Station

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3 - Fred Panton Memorial Bench

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4 - Meridian Memorial

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5 - Tech Site perimeter track heading South West

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6 - ENE-WSW Secondary Runway looking East North East

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7 - The NW end of the NW-SE Secondary Runway looking South East

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15 - The Main Runway from the WSW-ENE runway intersection, looking North

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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.

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What a great thread, with fantastic photos and information. Keep up the good work.

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Posted (edited)

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.

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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!

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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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.

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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.

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Posted (edited)

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. 

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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.

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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. 

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Crossing the main runway, we then turned left away from the airfield in search of a Fish & Chip shop.

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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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.

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As the Sun set, the evening colours changed to a strong orange/red.

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Posted (edited)

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. 

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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.

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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."

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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.

Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Red Feather Club is a newer museum but wasn't open on the Friday we visited.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The memorial in Horham village.

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My web page link -  http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/horham.htm

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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.

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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. 

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Epic journey in reality and imagination, thanks for posting. Great editing.

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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.

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Late afternoon that day, we had a group trip to the coast in this 1941 Chrysler Royal Staff Car. 

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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.

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     I have just finished reading "Big Week" by James Holland.  In a nutshell, it tells the story of the contribution made to defeating Nazi Germany by the USAAF flying from their bases in the UK.  Quite honestly, it is humbling.  Mention is made of the finest B17 navigator in one of the squadrons.  He was just 17 years old.  Most of the bomber pilots were 20 or so; they held the lives of nine other airmen in their youthful and inexperienced hands. 

     It is difficult to imagine just how these young men were able to keep going when faced repeatedly with the ordeal of flying in the face of the flak, the Luftwaffe and, quite simply, the generally atrocious European weather to carry out missions, often at the very limits of their aircraft's range, knowing that the chances of completing the required 25 combat sorties was remote.  And to come "home" after each flight to nothing more than a damp, chilly Nissen hut on a muddy, windswept field in East Anglia where it was a half-hour walk just to get fed.   Extraordinary men, extraordinary times.  

10 68

 

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