Wednesday, 25 May 2016

RAF COSFORD AND MEETING ONE OF MY HEROS

Last Sunday was the AGM of the Vulcan to the Sky, which would be the last one in its present form and we wanted to go for that reason, to meet up with fellow enthusiasts and also as RAF Cosford has a wonderful Cold War aircraft museum - all on the same day.

RAF Cosford is set in a lovely part of the country, on the way to Telford from the M6. Mostly flat with lots of green fields and nice scenery. It is a huge site and we parked right outside the fantastic building which houses the Cold War collection. I'm not going to bore you too much with lots of aircraft as you're probably fed up with them by now - just a few but some interesting artefacts were on display.






Our meeting was 12 but there was coffee and a get together at 11 and as we were in the refreshment area, I spotted - was it REALLY him? Yes, my hero, Squadron Leader Martin Withers DFC, former Chief Pilot for the Vulcan XH558 and the pilot who flew XM607 all the way to the Falklands Island, and was responsible for putting the runway out of action, then managing to survive until finding a Victor Tanker plane to refuel him to get the plane home. An amazing feat. I have wanted to meet him so much but never been to an air show where the planes have landed to meet these people. He was so nice, even gave me a kiss! And allowed husband to take a photo. I also met Dr Robert Pleming, the man who was responsible for bringing the Vulcan to the sky, the pilot who took Guy Martin down the runway at Wellesbourne on the TV programme most people saw and the first ever pilot of XH558, who is now 90 years young and carried out 444 flights. A very lovely man indeed.


This next paragraph is for my friend and blogger Barbara from March House Books (is that what you're called now Barbara?) I recently bought a Kindle against my better judgment as I love having a book in my hand. I'm still not convinced but I've just read three books on it and I have been unable to put the tablet down as they're so exciting. They are by L J Ross, an author who was in the legal profession and turned to writing. The first one is called Holy Island and is set on - well, Lindisfarne and is about dark and mysterious murders happening on the island and the subsequent solving of these crimes. The main character is DCI Ryan, who is just recovering from a personal tragedy which happened during the course of his work and he is drawn back to work by this crime. The second book is called Sycamore Gap and is based around the area of Hadrians Wall, probably the area near Housesteads and the third one is called Heavenfield. The latter two are following on about the theme running through the first one but don't want to tell any more. They are compulsive reading if you love crime stories and really make you think about "who dunnit!


I have to say I don't find it easy to go back to pages in the book that I want to check up on, like something I failed to notice. It seems to have gone and flipping back pages seems to me to easier. However these books are not in print! They are only two or three pounds though, so quite unusual for me to buy E books as I like to go to places like Gutenberg Press for out of print books.

Right, enough of books - here are some photos.

I have actually read  a sign like this at Checkpoint Charlie in the late 60s when it was REAL!  Shivers down the spine as you go through into the Eastern Quarter!


The first of the V bombers in Cold War period - the Valiant. We have never seen one of these before.

The next is the Victor, which eventually ended up as a tanker plane and fuelled Vulcan all the way to the Falklands (well there were actually 11 of them fuelling each other in turn fuelling the Vulcan and then back again.

And of course - my very favourite Vulcan!

The car of the Cold War era, the Trabant.

The equivalent in West Germany of the time no need to name!

And of course our own Mini of the period.


A Lightening - it's speciality was just that - going straight up! Amazing.


The TSR2 - a shocking thing that this plane was destroyed and could have been a world beater. 
This amazing wall of the Cold War Hangar, was supposed to represent an aircraft wing.
Well that's all for now, not TOO many aircraft today but I had such a wonderful day out after all the worry that I've had over the last couple of weeks with my husband and mother both not being well. Speak to you next time.

5 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness Anne Marie, I made a note to come and look at your blog on the 19th May, and here it is the 27th, and I’ve only just got here! I’m so sorry; life has been hectic over the last couple of weeks.
    Anyway, how lucky were you to meet those amazing men? It must have been such a good day. I love your jacket by the way you look very smart in the photo.
    I tweaked the name March House Books just a bit when I gave up the business. My cousin John suggested March of Time Books, and that is what it became – but March House Books is fine. Most people know me as that and I’m still called The Mad March Hare lady at the Post Office, from the days when I used to go there laden down with parcels.
    The books you mention sound really interesting and I’m going to look them up. I don’t have a Kindle, but I do have a tablet I can download books onto. I’m not very good at it yet, but your suggestions might give me the kick I need to sort it out.
    The Checkpoint Charlie sign reminded me of a film we saw recently called Bridge of Spies. I'm sure you would enjoy it if you’ve not seen it already.
    Loved all your photos, thank you for sharing them and I’m really sorry I’m so late coming over.
    Hope your mum, and your husband are doing well. Barbara

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    1. Barbara, the Kindle app should do just as well. I just have registered with Amazon and can get samples or full books if I know what I want. Immediately after reading Holy Island I bought and downloaded the following two.

      I haven't seen Bridge of Spies yet, I think you have mentioned it before but it is on films on demand I think and I'm unsure how much they are.

      The only thing is on Kindle, I love to keep referring back to previous paragraphs to check up names etc. It's just not so easy to do that on an eBook.

      I just can't tell you how buoyed up I was to meet Martin and of course the others but Martin Withers was our all time favourite pilot, (as well as Kev Rumens who did the exciting almost wing-over at RIAT last year). I just wish I'd thought to ask him to sign my AGM booklet!

      Do let me know about the Kindle Barbara, how you're getting on.

      Have you read Joanne Harris's books? I can heartily recommend them.

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    2. Hi Anne Marie, I’m ashamed to say I’ve done nothing at all about Kindle, where do the days go? There is never enough time to do the things on my lists.
      I’m so sorry I told you about Bridge of Spies twice, I tend to get carried away with things and want to tell everyone about them – plus my memory is not what it was, so I forget to remember who I’ve told. What it is to get old!
      I love Joanne Harris and recently read Chocolate (which I had read before) and then The lollipop shoes & Peaches for Monsieur le Cure. Actually, I think you told me about them, so I went out and got the three. Can you recommend any other of her books as I’m not sure which one to read next?
      I’ve just put a guest post on my blog it’s by a chap called Brian Moses. It's a story about his childhood in the 1950s and 1960s. He gave me an excerpt to post on the blog which I really enjoyed. I think you might enjoy it too.
      Hope all is well with you and your family.

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  2. If you like the plot line of that book you mention, then have you red Peter May's "Lewis" trilogy? I think you'd enjoy them!

    I really must get to Cosford at some stage, the museum that is, I've been there for the airshow but never yet made it round the museum, too! If nothing else I need to see the TSR2 - although I'm hopeful that they may drag her outside again for the show next year!

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    1. Robyn, I have that book on Kindle and started to read it, but got sidetracked by Camilla Lackberg. I will get on to it though.

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