On a very warm morning on August 3rd a coach load of us set forth to visit what remains of RAF Tempsford and then on at midday for an afternoon of guided tour of the wonderful Shuttleworth Collection of historic aircraft at Old Warden airfield.

The Countess of Errol welcomed us to the now derelict site of RAF Tempsford. Lady Errol lives at nearby Woodbury Hall and owns the land that was once a most secret airfield. Because it was from here that agents, both men and women, flew to be parachuted into occupied Europe. Their mission was to co-ordinate resistance groups and maintain a link with England to ask for supplies. Intelligence was a two way operation by the cumbersome suitcase sized radios that could both transmit and receive.

We were taken to a group of wartime buildings on what is now called Gibraltar farm and then on to a famous old barn. Here the trained agents would receive all the necessary equipment they would require, including the awful suicide pill.

Lady Errol has plans to develop the area for housing but is passionate to preserve the history of an airfield that as far as we know remained a secret throughout the war. Certainly it was never attacked. The existing buildings will remain. It is so important to preserve the memory of those brave men and women who flew from here. Many did not return.

We thanked Lady Errol and made our way the few miles to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden airfield.

Most of us have visited the Shuttleworth Collection before, but it is such a wonderful collection of aircraft from the Edwardian era through the Great War and beyond that one is always grateful to the dedication of the folk who maintain the aircraft and make it such a pilgrimage!

We were divided into four groups and spent the next couple of hours looking through the hangars housing these historic machines. It was great to be taken round by  the knowledgeable guides.

One of the many gems of the collection is the actual aircraft that won the famous Mildenhall to Melbourne air race in 1934. The Comet 88 is now in immaculate condition and regularly flies on events at Old Warden. We were accused of crashing the Comet when it was at RAF Martlesham on development trials. It was severely bent and had to be rebuilt.  We tried to explain that we were not personally responsible for that incident!

 Other wonderful machines included a couple of Edwardian veterans that were flown in that great film, "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines." They all still fly, including the Bleriot X1 monoplane similar to the one that famously flew the Channel in 1909.

The idea for the outing was dreamed up by our energetic Publicity secretary, Howard King. A recent monthly meeting featured Debbie Land and Peter Goff entitled, "Time Flies at Old Warden." gave him the idea to organise the trip and a great day out it was.

We eventually boarded the coach and I am sure that all of us enjoyed our day out and offer our grateful thanks to Howard, who once again came up trumps.

Alan Powell

The plaque in the church of St Peter Tempsford

Lady Errol addressing our members   

Our meeting on Friday, 7th September featured an illustrated talk, "Rolls Royce In Germany - A journey through the history of German Gas Turbine Engine Manufacture."

It was delivered by Stuart Yule, the son of one of our members. It was a family affair because he was accompanied by his father, wife and daughter.

In a brilliantly professional delivery Stuart explained just how international the production of highly technical equipment has become.

Of course the name Rolls Royce is synonymous with motor cars. Sadly today Rolls Royce no longer produces cars and that division of the company is now owned by Volkswagen, although they are still manufactured in Derby, the spiritual home of Rolls Royce.

Rolls Royce, in conjunction with truly international partners is a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines, stationary power plants and railway locomotive engines.

After giving us an explanation of some of the excellent gas turbines developed by the Rolls Royce consortium, Stuart concluded by giving us a glimpse into the future. The future apparently is electric! Already hybrid turbine engines partially powered by electricity are in the development stage and just like motor cars, it is inevitable that aircraft of the future will be powered solely by electricity.

A vote of thanks was given by our president, Richard Barker and Stuart presented the society with a mounted section of a Rolls Royce turbine blade for our museum.

Left Stuart Yule with his father - one of our members

Right - the mounted Rolls Royce turbine blade.          For display in our museum.

Donated by Stuart.

Photos - Tarkey Barker


Our Classic Car event this year was held on Sunday, 9th September. We were blessed with a glorious warm autumn day and our visitors seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves..

We had a steady stream of visitors to look at all the classic and vintage cars on display. Also, because it is the weekend of the Ipswich and area Heritage Day our Control Tower Museum is one of the attractions advertised. Fish and Chips and ice creams were available and a party atmosphere prevailed.

In addition to the many beautiful classic cars there was a wonderful static display of model aircraft. These models are radio controlled and one of models was even powered by a gas turbine engine. They are lovingly built and flown by dedicated enthusiasts.

A number of working stationary vintage engines were present. They were used at one time to pump water and generate electricity on farms and outlying houses.

It is very satisfying for our volunteers to see how popular our Control Tower museum is and we thank all the visitors for coming and supporting us.  


Above - a view from the Control Tower with many cars hidden behind the trees and a few of the many classic cars on display and some of the radio controlled model aircraft


We finally honoured the memory of a young New Zealand pilot on Sunday afternoon the 16th. September.

On a very warm autumn day a few of us from Martlesham Heath Aviation Society attended a modest Dedication Service led by Toby Tate, vicar of Martlesham and Brightwell.

A plaque has been attached on to a garden bench in the picturesque gardens at Seckford Hall to remember Pilot Officer George Montgomerie Marshall who tragically crashed in the grounds of the hotel on 30th July, 1941. He was 23 years old and is buried in the military section at Ipswich cemetery,

I have been in touch with his old school and his descendants. They are so pleased that after all these years we still remember him - and of course, many others who tragically lost their lives in WW2.

His story, "Tragedy in the Skies Over Seckford Hall", appeared in our October 2014 "Runway 22." The full story is available on our website on the "newsletter page."

On the very morning of July 30th 1941 RAF Martlesham Heath was visited by none other than  Marshall of the Royal Air Force, Lord Trenchard - Always referred to as "the Father of the Royal Air Force. The airmen at Martlesham were addressed by Lord Trenchard in the morning and P/O George Marshall would surely have been one of the pilots present - just two or three hours before he lost his lfe in the afternoon.

Alan Powell

On the left. P/O George Montgomerie Marshall. Centre members around the bench. On the left of the group is Rev. Toby Tate. Right - a reflection in the plaque of the view enjoyed over the lake.