Today was Mark’s treat a visit to The Yorkshire Air Museum near York, it is the largest independent air museum in Britain.
We split up as Mark is far more interested in military aircraft than I am I wandered around finding lots of grunge to interest me then I found the NAAFI and had a cup of tea and processed some photos on the iPad. It was cold and wet so I was pleased to sit in a cosy hut…
All the time we were there nostalgic music played through speakers, you could almost imagine the ghosts of airmen looking on smiling just before the klaxon sounded and they raced across the grass to climb aboard their planes. It is hard to imagine what it must have been like, most of the young men were younger than my 24 year old son.
‘In 1944 Elvington became host to two French Squadrons operating within No.4 Group: No. 346 (Guyenne) and No.347 (Tunisie). Both squadrons played a major part in the bomber offensive against Germany. Whilst at Elvington, 77 Squadron lost 82 aircraft and 450 aircrew (comprising of Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders as well as British) and this comprised more than half their fatalities during the whole war. 77 Squadron lost a total of 883 airman.
On the night of 3rd March 1945, German night-fighters launched Operation Gisela against the 450 heavy bombers of 4, 5 & 6 Groups RAF Bomber Command returning from a raid on the synthetic oil plants at Kamen, in the Ruhr and the Dortmund Canal. At around midnight 100 Junkers 88’s crossed the English coast from the Thames to Yorkshire and infiltrated the returning bomber streams. Two hours later at least 24 bombers had been shot down and a further 20 damaged.
Having shot down two Halifax bombers of 158 Squadron returning to RAF Lissett near Bridlington, Hauptman Johann Dreher of 13 Nachtjagdeschwader Gruppen (Night fighter destroyer group), in his Junkers 88G turned to attack the French Air Force Halifax’s landing at Elvington. The runway lights were switched off and all aircraft ordered (in French) to divert to other airfields. It was 1:50am and as the alarms sounded, Capitaine Notelle’s Halifax pulled sharply up and, narrowly escaping, headed north towards RAF Croft. He was stalked by another German night fighter and was hit 3 times before crash landing near Darlington. All the crew survived. Meanwhile, Dreher’s Junkers 88 continued to attack RAF Elvington, strafing the road and a passing taxi. Circling round for another attack, it clipped a tree and crashed into Dunnington Lodge farmhouse, killing all 5 crew; the farmer, Richard Moll; his wife and mother. A black cross can be seen by the roadside in front of the farmhouse near the Museum on the road back to York. The war ended just 9 weeks later and this is probably the scene of the very last Luftwaffe aircraft crash on British soil.’
If you want to listen to one of the songs played over the speakers click HERE
and you will hear Dame Vera Lynn who was known as The Forces Sweetheart sing one of the most popular songs of the Second World War
if you want to hear some audio clips from the BBC schools programme.
Linking up with Helen for her Weekend Walk