11th July 2019 - Military History Visit to East Kirkby
Once again Roy had arranged good weather for the Military History Group Field Trip to East Kirkby. Two iconic aircraft are now based there.
Lancaster NX 611
Mosquito NF 11 Fighter
The Avro Lancaster has a checkered career. Some of you may remember seeing her thirty five years ago as the ‘Gate Guardian’ at RAF Scampton in the Vulcan Years. She was then transferred to RAF Squires Gate at Blackpool, then put up for auction. The chap who bought the aircraft could not fund the refurbishment, and the Lancaster was offered to two farmers in Lincolnshire. They lost their brother in Bomber Command, and bought the aircraft to have as a living memorial in his memory. The aircraft has four Merlin Engines and now taxies around the airfield. It really is a unique experience to both see and hear this.
The other iconic aircraft at East Kirkby in the only example of a de Havilland Mosquito NF 11 in this country, that can move under its own power. It has taken the private owner over thirty years of painstaking restoration to reach this stage.
The unique thing about both these two aircraft is that there are long term planes to get them both airworthy again and fly them at air shows. As a Group, the forty or do members who went all enjoyed themselves and thanked Daniel, the Kettlewells driver, and Roy for such a well organised trip.
May 2019 - Military History Visit to Scotland
The Military History Group have just returned from their five day ‘Field Trip’ to Scotland. After a short stop at Scotch Corner, the journey continued to Carter Bar, a point on the England – Scotland border. Next stop Jedburgh, where we had time to visit the jail.
We stayed in a hotel on the site of the Battle of Bannockburn in Stirling, and had a memorable excursion to the visitors centre, where they were told the story of Robert the Bruce. All were provided with 3D glasses watched as arrows ‘whizzed’ around the battle field, with the appropriate sound effects of battle. The group visited the Falkirk Wheel, and had an hour’s boat ride, which included being lifted up about 100 ft. During the middle of the trip, the group went on a coach trip, which included visiting Braemar, and seeing Balmoral. After a lunch in Aviemore, the coach went to Fort William, and returned back to Stirling, via Glen Coe the Trossachs.
A trip to Edinburgh is always a must, and in the morning the group visited Leith, and toured The Royal Yacht Britannia. Prising some of the male members away from the highly polished ships engine room was a challenge, but the over riding impression was how regimented the Queens life was, when on board with Prince Philip.
On the way back to Retford, the group visited Scottish Museum of Flight at East Fortune. Everybody enjoyed the Concorde Hanger, and some commented that the Vulcan Bomber and Comet Airliner should be put under some kind of cover.
The Military History Group have had a four or five day ‘field Trip’ in each of its three years of existence. They also go on Day Field Trips, so look out for advance information, either at the General Meeting or in this journal.
As a final note all the group would like to thank Roy and Kate Evans for organising this trip, it was a very memorable ‘field trip’. The pièce de résistance was Scottish night put on by the hotel and Roy eating haggis!!
Also a big thank you to Roxy for providing some of the photos.
June 13th 2018 - Oxford
A blue badge guided tour for some U3A members.
U3A Military History Group – Trip to Holland & Germany 4th – 7th May 2018
On Friday morning the Military History Group left Retford and drove down to Folkestone to catch the 1.00 train to Calais. On arriving, the bus drove along the coast to Oostende, then down the Belgian Autobahn to Antwerp via Ghent. Passing into Holland and having negotiated the Friday evening traffic the group arrived tired at the 4* Holiday Inn hotel in Eindhoven.
On the Saturday morning, the group were driven the short distance to the massive German War Cemetery at Ysselsteyn. Here over 20,000 German soldiers are buried. After a short stop, the group then visited the Dutch National War Museum at Overloon. Here the group were shown many examples of military vehicles and a number of exhibits showing what life was like for the Dutch people during the war.
After lunch, the Group drove into Germany and through the Ruhr Valley, past Essen and the Krupps factory, to the Mohne Dam. Here the group walked across the dam and wandered at how the Dam Busters bombed so small a target, so accurately at night, whilst being shot at.
The group then returned to Eindhoven. May 5th is a national Holiday in Holland where the Dutch commemorate the Second World War, and that evening in the town centre there was a festive atmosphere, which spread into the cafes and restaurants.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, and the group drove from Eindhoven along the same road that the Guards Armoured Division drove, seventy four years earlier, along to Arnhem. Entering over the now famous ‘Johnny Frost’ Bridge, the group made their way to pay their respects at the Oosterbeek Military Cemetery.
We had lunch at the Parachute Memorial Museum at Hartenstein, then drove back across the German boarder to the village of Hamminkein, where in 1945 one of the group, John Blackwell, Father in Law landed a glider full of equipment, for the Rhine Crossing. We then visited a cemetery at Rheinberg where a number of the 617 Squadron Dam Busters lie, then returned to Eindhoven.
The following morning saw the group making their way back to Calais. The group were driven to Steenbergen, where Guy Gibson VC is buried. His grave is in a lovely well kept Roman Catholic Cemetery, next to his navigator J B Warwick.
After leaving Steenbergen, the group then drove via Antwerp, back to Oostende, where Roy had arranged a surprise extra visit to a Belgian Chocolate Factory and Shop.
After a very hearty lunch, and much spending on various types of chocolate, the group drove back to Calais, and straight onto a train which got the back to Folkestone around 2.30 in the afternoon.
The uneventful drive back to Retford saw the group back home again by 7.00 in the evening. The general feeling, once again, was it trip had been very well organised and enjoyed by everyone,
October 4th 2017 - Ampleforth Abbey
On Wednesday 4 October 2017 45 members visited Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire. They were given a guided tour of the orchards Cider Mill and Press were we tasted some of the cider. The three course meal was excellent and came with more tastings which convinced the members to spend their pensions buying cider (at reduced rates). Brother Benedict then gave us a guided tour of the Abbey.
July 18th 2017 - Jodrell Bank
On 18 July 2017 members visited Jodrell Bank and were treated to a tour of the very impressive Arboretum and were educated in the development and history of the Lovell Telescope which has been in place since 1957.
May 9th 2017 - Judith Mary
38 members enjoyed the weather, the boat trip, the food was excellent and the afternoon was spent in Bakewell, although it should have been Buxton!!
U3A Military History Trip to France 21st to 24th April 2017
Thirty members of the Military History Group left Retford at 7.00am and drove to Folkestone for our crossing through the Tunnel to Calais.
We drove for about an hour, down to the British Military Cemetery at Etaples. This was a major depot area during the Great War, with hospitals and aid stations nearby. This cemetery is the biggest Allied cemetery in France, with nearly 11,000 graves.
After leaving here, the group drove to their hotel in Arras, via Montreuil, where Field Marshal Haig had his Headquarters. After booking in, the group split up into small parties to orientate themselves with local restaurants, mainly in the town centre.
On the Saturday morning, the coach took the group to Azincourt. Here, 600 years earlier a small English Army, under King Henry 5th defeated a much larger French Army. The museum has been built to resemble archers firing their bows.
After lunch the group drove to Vimy Ridge, just outside Arras. Touring the refurbished tunnels and trenches brought home to the group, how devastating it must have been to live and fight in such extreme conditions.
On Sunday the plan was to tour the Somme battlefield and visit the graves of relatives who were members of the group. We visited about six cemeteries and ended up at Thiepval, beside Edwin Lutyens memorial to the dead, with no known grave. 72,246 names are commemorated here.
Driving back to Calais on the Monday morning, the group visited the proposed V-2 Rocket Site at ‘La Capole’, Saint-Omer. The Nazi plan was to build the rockets in sub-assembly form in Germany, and ship then to site, for assembly. They would then by fired in the direction of London. The resistance movement realised what was going on and British Heavy Bombers were successful in destroying the site.
After lunch at Calais the group returned home, arriving around 7.30 in the evening. The feeling was that the trip had been a great success, and people felt Roy had arranged a great itinerary