The first major flying event of the year at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre did not disappoint! Although the weather tried it’s best to disrupt proceedings, visitors were still treated to flying displays by Dakota Drag ‘em oot, P-51 Mustang Ferocious Frankie and flypasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Dakota ZA947.
The unofficial focus of the weekend was “Drop Zone Holland”, with the weekend coinciding with liberation days for both the Dutch and Danish nations. The theme was certainly most fitting, with MARKET GARDEN combat veteran Dakota Drag ‘em oot on static display and also performing some most sprightly manoeuvers during its greatly appreciated display routine. Re-enactors portraying both British and American paratroopers were on site and provided living history displays for the museum’s visitors.
With a decent sized group of British Paratroopers on site, during Saturday and Monday scenes were reproduced in homage to the film 'Theirs is the Glory', a 1946 re-telling of Operation MARKET - the Airborne part of September 1944’s Operation MARKET GARDEN, the heroic and bold, but ultimately flawed Allied attempt to seize a number of crossings over the Meuse (Maas) and Rhine Rivers. The capture of these bridges would allow for a rapid advance by armoured units into the industrial Ruhr valley of Northern Germany.
film, produced by living history group MECo can be seen HERE, with the photographic images below. Unfortunately much of the filming took place away from the public areas
of the museum site, but maybe these scenarios are worth incorporating into a future photographer’s day?
Returning to the flying, originally Maurice Hammond was due to visit on bank holiday Monday with his two P-51 Mustangs, Janie and Marinell, but unfortunately the on-going “drought” conditions had resulted in a waterlogged home airfield. The loss of two Mustangs however was more than compensated by the first time appearance at East Kirkby by The Old Flying Machine’s Duxford based Mustang Ferocious Frankie, displayed low and fast by Nigel Lamb.
On display in the hangar was a marvelous collection of model German WWII tanks, built by NX611's engineer Keith Brenchley. The largest tank being a 1/6th scale Tiger, with a 1/16th Tiger and King Tiger alongside. A 1/35th scale Tiger completed the line up of a collection of incredibly well built and detailed models.
Personally speaking, I had an outstanding weekend with some great people. None of the images would have been possible without the patience and assistance of Gary Bainbridge, Sophie Penny, Ric Stubley, Jamie Farrington, Jonny Williams, Matthew Palmer, Allen Prior, Ramsey Green, Dennis Roemer, Mark Edwards and David Howman.
The next major event at East Kirkby is EK43, taking place 2nd and 4th June. This event should bring together over 100 re-enactors to the airfield along with flying displays on bank holiday Monday.