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RAF Metheringham report

by Ian Homer. Posted to category: Education

on special Trust visit

The historic Second World War airfield of RAF Metheringham, which is in the middle of rural east Lincolnshire, was the latest location for the VTST Events Programme.

Ex-XH558 Navigator Andy Marson was the host for the day and he firstly regaled the audience with a fascinating and entertaining history about his career in the RAF, which contained many interesting and humorous anecdotes.

Andy gives one of his presentations to the assembled audience.  

The presentation included the time that he spent on the Vulcan during the dangerous years of the Cold War, his work at the Tri-National Tornado Establishment at RAF Cottesmore and the highly enjoyable years of being part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, flying in both the Lancaster and the Dakota during his tenure with this world famous and historic flight. 

In addition Andy outlined the significant part he had played in putting together the highly complex Victor/Vulcan refuelling plan during The Falklands Conflict, which subsequently led to Martin Withers and his crew on XM607 successfully carrying out the bombing mission on Port Stanley Airfield code named 'Black Buck One'. 

Preparing to climb-aboard the resident Dakota.

After a short break, when there was the opportunity to have an informal look around the airfield, Andy then gave the second of his talks, which was about the history of RAF Metheringham. Once again this was a fascinating and compelling background into the incredible commitment and bravery of the RAF personnel at the airfield who despite operating in incredibly difficult conditions played a highly significant role in helping to bring the war to a successful conclusion. 

The airfield was the home for a large number of Lancaster Bombers carrying out numerous bombing missions over the Industrial Heartland of Germany and making a significant contribution towards the victory over Nazi Germany.  Sadly, as with all Lancaster Squadrons, there were significant casualties in respect of both aircraft and aircrew, with many failing to return home to their loved ones. The airfield was also used by Dakotas, which were utilised to ferry casualties back from the front line and then being transported to an RAF Hospital which was located nearby.

Andy points out some of the key features of the airfield layout during WWII.

In the Main Hall at the airfield, which used to be the Camp Gynasium, there is a very moving tribute to all of those who were killed in action, with models of every one of the Lancaster aircraft which were lost during bombing raids being suspended from the ceiling.

Following on from the presentations a guided tour of the airfield took place which included the Air Raid shelter and featured many interesting background stories about how these buildings were used at the time The opportunity then came to climb aboard the resident Dakota; a considerable amount of work and effort has taken place to restore this aircraft to the good condition that she is in today and this is all down to the hard work and commitment that has been demonstrated by the volunteers at Metheringham, which has ensured that she now takes pride of place at the airfield.

The day concluded with an additional presentation by Mike Lemon - an ex-Vulcan Crew Chief, who gave an enlightening talk about the aircraft from the perspective of the ground crew, providing a very interesting 'behind the scenes' view about life at the 'coalface' in a Vulcan Squadron and outlining some thought provoking facts and figures which highlighted and indeed confirmed, the vitally important role that the aircraft played during her years of service with the RAF. 

Many thanks to Andy, Robin, Margaret and the rest of the team for an excellent day and for the kind hospitality which was extended to us.


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