Our usual first Friday of the month meeting at the Community Hall was replaced by an all day coach outing first to the De Havilland Aviation museum at Salisbury hall and then on to the recently refurbished RAF Museum at Hendon on 2nd August.

Friday September 6th and although 190 chairs were put out at the Community hall there were still several people standing at our monthly meeting. The occasion was a return visit of Colonel, (retd), Rich Graham for an illustrated talk, "The SR71 - Too Fast and High to Catch"

Rich Graham was accompanied by his wife who he met whilst posted to RAF Mildenhall. They now live in the United States, but Rich is over here to visit several locations to tell his fascinating story. Rich piloted one of the unique SR71 Blackbird aircraft for 7 years.

The Lockheed SR71 was a long range, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft capable of flying at Mach 3, (2,302 MPH). It was in service with in the United States from 1964 to 1998. 32 were built and although 32 were built 12 were lost in accidents None be enemy action.

An evening to remember! A vote of thanks was given by our president, Mr Richard Barker.


Six am is quite an early start, but necessary when visiting the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust Museum in Derby.  I was very surprised that 19 MHAS along with 2 non-members members were there exactly on time as was the Dabbs Luxury coach driven by Lee Dabbs.  All aboard and off we went with the weather promising a fine day but not as hot as we had experienced recently.

The journey was quite uneventful apart from the stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.  Luckily travelling west was not a problem regarding traffic, unlike travelling east which was very slow with huge traffic jam’s, we breathed a sigh of relief.  I would just add one thing at this point.  If you are contemplating taking your family in your car through these very extensive road works then think again.  You need eyes in all of those remote parts of your body in order to keep you on course, Lee remarked that the route changes with instant regularity so be ware.

Anyway, we arrived at the museum 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled time 10:00am to be met by Stuart Yule of Rolls Royce and Peter Collins Rolls Royce museum Manager.  For those of you who were able to come to our September 2018 meeting you will remember Stuart Yule delivering a talk on the history of Rolls Royce.  Described as a family affair in the newsletter – Stuart came with his immediate family including Dad, Fred Yule who is of course a MHAS member. Writing this I was surprised just how long ago it was that Stuart gave that talk and the time of us visiting the museum wow!!!

We gathered inside and Peter Collins recapped on the history of Rolls Royce before we were left to wander through the buildings which were once the engineering buildings so you can possibly visualise the size of them.  Despite that, every conceivable space was used to display more engines, both internal combustion and jet engines than you can shake a fist at, but where to begin?

Close to where we were standing were examples of the RR RB211.  Unfortunately it was this ‘High Bypass Turbo Fan’ engine that caused the nationalising of RR in order to save jobs.  This is a massive engine with the Turbo Fans making it seem that much larger.

Close by was an example of the RR Trent engine which made a great backdrop for a group picture.

Walking around there were jet engines of all sizes.  But RR manufactured many other engines including internal combustion aero engines some of which we are familure with… the Merlin and the Griffon to name just two of the most prominent and remembered engines.

Lunch was taken in the Brunswick Inn a short bus trip away from the museum.  This completed we returned to the museum and the business of looking at more exciting technology that many of us had forgotten about or never even new about.

RR produced engines for every conceivable use, planes, cars, trains, industrial usage, military use and probably some that I have missed.  There were even wooden mock ups of engines which probably cost more than their eventual working units.

As regards cars, the only vehicle there was an Armstrong Siddeley.  This vehicle needed a lot of TLC as this car does travel to shows etc.  My picture shows John Fuller, I guess Colin Whitmore should have been modelling the car but was unavailable; well that’s what they would say in the newspapers or on the TV isn’t it?

Thankfully our homeward journey was just as uneventful as that of the morning arriving home at around 8:00pm.  It was a really great and memorable visit.  Should you want to visit you will need to be quick as the doors are closing with the hope that the museum will be re-housed at some point in time in a new location.

Our sincere thanks to both Stuart Yule and Peter Collins from RR.  To Robert Alexander and to Howard King who unfortunately was not able to take part for medical reasons and Lee Dabbs who drove us there and back safely.  Next stop RR Germany but that’s another story.

Martyn Cook