Newmarket

WINGS, WHEELS & WATER

Due to COVID-19 restrictions recent WWW GROUP meetings in person were suspended, and replaced by Zoom meetings. We are however happy to inform you that for the new U3A year, starting in September 2021, we are returning to face-to-face meetings. Further details are below.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We meet at Exning Road Club on the first Monday of the month at 10.30am.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Firstly, I am delighted to say that I am now sharing the running of Wings, Wheels & Water with Steve Garner.

We are still holding our monthly meetings at 10.30 am on the first Monday of the month. Although recently meeting via Zoom, we are resuming meetings in person, at the Exning Road Club, from September 2021.

For each month’s topic please follow the link to the programme for September to December 2021. There may be alterations in this programme, depending on what the professionals freely call ‘operational considerations.’

Presentation for 6th September 2021: The Development of Stagecoach Travel

Viewed from today, the stagecoach appears to look a romantic way of travel, but the reality was often quite different.

We have now become a trio of presenters, and have an additional guest speaker to start the programme after the August summer break. Please see programme for September to December 2021 for details.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In addition, we do hope that you will take part in some of the additional activities that we may suggest, in the months ahead. Some examples are below

Where have you visited?

Technology is all around us, all the time, but we often do not recognise it or its importance to the lives we lead. The photos below show more possibilities

FROM LEFT: Steam engine on the Poppy line: Amphibian at Hunstanton: Fairground Ride, Hunstanton: Beach reclamation at Wells

Poppy Line engine Amphibian at Hunstanton Fairground ride Hunstanton Beach Reclamation at Wells

Each of the above could be the starting point for a fascinating investigation into an element that features in Wings, Wheels & Water.

So…

What have you seen during your visits?

I have seen: The Operation Hillside Exhibition at Hughenden Manor – Steve Garner

During late June I was in the west London area, and intended to visit Waltham Place Farm, in Berkshire, which I learned about through the U3A Garden Group. Unfortunately, on the only day available to me the Farm wasn’t open to individual visitors, so I sought an alternative venue for a day out, remembering that choice was limited by some of the pandemic restrictions still being in place.

I eventually settled on Hughenden Manor, hidden in the Buckinghamshire countryside, near High Wycombe; a National Trust property and formally the home of Benjamin Disraeli, a British Prime Minister of the Victorian era. I expected to learn about the life and times of Disraeli and his home, see the gardens and views of the surrounding countryside, as well as visit the tea rooms, all on what promised to be a fine dry day. The weather didn’t live up to expectation, but the overall visit did, especially as I learned about Operation Hillside, a secret activity of the Air Ministry during WWII, which linked Hughenden to RAF Bomber Command.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions only the ground floor of the house was open to visitors, but this included some of Disraeli’s rooms and the Hillside exhibition. The story of Hillside had only come to light in 2004, when a member of the Hughenden staff overheard a visitor telling his grandson what he did during the war. From this chance encounter the role of Hughenden as the centre for map making for Bomber Command was revealed.

During WWII it was realised that efficient, targeted bombing raids over Germany were limited by the lack of accurate maps. To overcome this issue an operational process, encompassing intelligence gathering, aerial photography, map production and distribution was put into place, with Hughenden at its centre.

The gentleman visiting Hughenden in 2004, had, at the age of 19 been one of over 100 personnel selected for their skills to work on the top secret map making process. Production went through various drawing offices and printing within Hughenden, and such was the secrecy that departments knew little of what was going on in other sections. Completed maps were eventually delivered to Bomber Command HQ for distribution throughout the RAF and American Airforce.

The current exhibition takes you through rooms previously used for the production process, where you will see reconstructions of the drawing desks, and other related articles. These include abstracts from an ‘in-house’ newspaper produced by the personnel at the time, making use of their artistic, design and cartoonist skills.

A small interactive exhibit shows how the maps were printed using only black and magenta ink, to enable details to be visible in the dim amber lights within the planes. Overall, the exhibition was a welcome and informative surprise, and I look forward to going back one day to further appreciate this little known aspect of our military history.

To find out more, see photographs from the period and even a video, you can look at the National Trust website for Hughenden Manor. A wider internet search will reveal additional information about Operation Hillside, its personnel, and their contribution to the war effort.

I have seen: The Battle of Britain Bunker Exhibition and Visitor Centre – Steve Garner

Exhibition View During the late 1980s and early 1990s I studied, part time, at Brunel University, in Uxbridge, west London. My weekly trip to the university took me past large gates at the entrance to RAF Uxbridge. Little did I know of the buildings and history that lay Exhibition Plaque behind those gates. More recently, members of my family moved to Uxbridge and I began to visit the area socially. It was on one of those visits in the summer of 2019 that I discovered that RAF Uxbridge no longer existed, and was being replaced by housing developments. A walk around this apparently residential area however revealed Dowding Park, and the Battle of Britain Bunker Exhibition and Visitor Centre, which opened up an aspect of history that had been previously unknown to me.
If you click on Battle Of Britain Bunker Exhibition it will take you to an illustrated article I have written. I hope you find this informative and perhaps it may tempt you to visit the area when time and circumstances permit, and also visit their website, where you will find videos to watch during this period of lockdown.

I have seen LANGHAM DOME - Tim Young

Langham Dome is one feature of RAF Langham, a very large and fascinating Coastal Command base during WWII. Langham Dome The dome is a training feature for gunners to be trained for ground to air shooting and is a very early, and basic form of digital interactive experience.
.

Over the last six years it has been restored and made into a fascinating museum.

Recruits practising Films were projected onto the inside of the dome and gunners sat at a ‘gun’, aiming at the aircraft passing on the film. Here are recruits practising during WWII.

Target towed by aircraft Following training in the dome, trainees went outside to use live ammunition to shoot at targets towed by aircraft, piloted by very brave pilots – several were shot down by inaccurate fire from trainees.

Coastal Command described itself as ‘the Cinderella Service’, compared with fighter and Bomber Commands. However, there were a number of Coastal Command airfields in North Norfolk, dedicated to training and to protecting shipping in the North Sea. In pursuit of these aims, the airfield was home to a wide range of single and twin engined aircraft.

SilverSpitfire mkix Langham Dome has recently erected the Silver Spitfire MkIX shown here.
.

It is dedicated to Richard Younghusband, a pilot at RAF Langham who was killed during a gunnery training exercise. When I asked what the connection was between Langham and the Spitfire, I was told that there was none really although there had been a few Spitfires at Langham between 1942 and 1945. However, it is an excellent advertising ploy and very good PR!

Inside the dome is a fascinating display of the airfield and example of the men, and women who served here. It also shows how a tiny, sleepy village became very much involved in the war.

Much of the airfield remains, although mostly in use by a well-known chicken rearing company. The control tower also remains but in a very dilapidated condition. It is possible to work over much of the original runways and the taxi tracks, where one can feel some connection with the thousands of young men and women who were here during the war, and their countrymen who lived in the village and worked on the airfield.

The gun used for practice A target film The photographs show the gun used for practice and a target film – this is actually a British Wellington bomber.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For Reports and pictures see our Facebook page.

Tim Young 01638 612216; tim_young@live.co.uk

Steve Garner 01638 660786; stephengarner1957@gmail.com

More Group Pages
2ND TUESDAY ANTIQUES ARTS APPRECIATION CAMERA GROUP
CARPET BOWLS COOK OFF FRIDAY DISCUSSION DRAMA
GARDEN GROUP HISTORY HISTORY OF SCIENCE LUNCH GROUP
M3A MUSIC MAH JONG MODEL MAKING MOTO (Members On Their Own)
MUSIC APPRECIATION REALM OF BOOKS RHYTHM & RHYME RUMMIKUB
SCRABBLE VILLAGE LIFE WALKING WINGS, WHEELS & WATER
More Group Pages
2ND TUESDAY ANTIQUES
ARTS APPRECIATION CAMERA GROUP
CARPET BOWLS COOK OFF FRIDAY
DISCUSSION DRAMA
GARDEN GROUP HISTORY
HISTORY OF SCIENCE LUNCH GROUP
M3A MUSIC MAH JONG
MODEL MAKING MOTO (Members On Their Own)
MUSIC APPRECIATION REALM OF BOOKS
RHYTHM & RHYME RUMMIKUB
SCRABBLE VILLAGE LIFE
WALKING WINGS, WHEELS & WATER