News Archive


May Bank Holiday Update 2015

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the visitors who came and supported the May Bank Holiday / R.A.F. Harrowbeer Archive Week-end.

A lot of hard work goes into putting on such an event and the helpers of the various charities and those who help the Archives give up a lot of their own time for such an occassion ( this time getting very wet and cold ). Thank you for your time, commitment and dedication.

The weather could have been a little kinder to us which would have made a lot of difference to the numbers that visited.      Unfortunately not everything could be put out due the the wind a rain.     The tentage gave a certain amount of cover, but sadly they have taken their toll by fighting the wind resulting in very worn patches a tears.

On a brighter note - for me ( Michael ) the Archivist of R.A.F. Harrowbeer Archives the week-end was very successful in as much as some of the visitors had stories to tell regarding Plymouth during the Blitz ( always interesting ), peoples recollections of the airfield during the war and their experiences.     There was even a gentleman whose father was serving on the airfield, he met a W.A.A.F. on the airfield and they got married ( these are two new names for the ' Personnel at Harrowbeer ' files.     On Monday morning i was talking to a gentleman who was serving at R.A.F. Scampton at the time of the' Dams Raid ' ( No.617 Squadron ) and was relief Batman for Guy Gibson.     For me this is what it is all about meeting people, talking to them and hearing their stories. If you have a story to tell please give me a call, come and see me so that we can share it before it gets lost.

At present the next R.A.F. Harrowbeer Archive Week-end will be the August Bank Holiday.

 


' The Spitfire Society ' replica Spitfire comes to R.A.F. Harrowbeer Archives

Outside ' Knightstone Tearooms ', Yelverton, Devon for the whole month of August there will be a full size replica Spitfire VB  Serial No.BL924 situated in the car park.

The replica belongs to ' The Spitfire Society ' and will be on site to promote the Society, and as an educational aid to enable the public to see a full size, iconic piece of our heritage.

More information can be obtained from ' The Spitfire Society ' membership secretaries :- Lucy and Michael Hayes    Tel. 01822 853679.

 


All set for the CHSW family dog show at Harrowbeer...

Judy Pride, Community Fundraiser for Children's Hospice South West, said "we are delighted to be a key part of the 70th Anniversary Event at Harrowbeer and providing the insurance cover.

"Everything is in place for a fun weekend - our family dog show coordinated by Jenny Blackhall has been generating lots of interest and is always a popular attraction on the day.

'Mr Fowley' the famous Leonberger dog will be with Jenny and he always delights the crowds. Our 'Precious Lives Appeal' is nearing completion, thanks to the hard work of our fundraisers and the generosity of local people.

"Coming to Harrowbeer for this special weekend means we can bring our loyal followers who often travel a considerable distance to support us - and enable them to absorb some of the fascinating facts about the history of the airfield. It also spreads our net wider with people who may not know much about the good work we do."

The dog show is due to start at 1pm on Saturday and run for most of the afternoon - there are lots of classes to enter... so lots of chances for your four legged friend to win a rosette!

 

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Judy added "we are delighted that the well known Star Wars costume group from Cornwall, Storm Troopers ST will be joining our Fundraisers at the weekend. They are great supporters of Children's Hospice South West and are always a great attraction with Sci-Fi fans - so don't be surprised if you bump into Darth Vader!"

 

 


Plans for the 70th Anniversary Event are coming to fruition!

With days to go before the 13/14 August - plans for the special community event to mark the 70th Anniversary of the official opening of RAF Harrowbeer are coming to fruition.

Ticket sales for the 1940s Dinner Dance at the Moorland Links Hotel on Friday 12 August are going brilliantly - with just a few left. If you would like to attend, please ring Caroline Easton on 01752 774 452 as soon as possible.

The aerial displays have now been confirmed* - so expect the Fairey Swordfish from the Royal Navy Historic Flight; the yellow Sea King helicopter from RAF Search and Rescue at Chivenor; and the iconic Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight!

The new Memorial from the national charity Airfield's of Britain Conservation Trust has now been sited. Local Westcountry specialist monumental masons set the Memorial beside Knightstone Tearooms - adding Harrowbeer to the chain of former airfields being commemorated with one of these standardised Memorials. The unveiling will take place on Saturday 13 August.

The service sheets have now been printed for the Service of Remembrance and the individual hand-written poppy crosses have been grouped appropriately and are ready to be laid. The Air Training Corps have meticulously planned the logistics of the Service and Parade. And there will be at least 10 Royal British Legion Standards present for a very moving occasion.

A huge amount of work has been put into opening the Dispersal Pen to ensure it is ready for visitors for the Anniversary weekend. It is a real 'window' on the past - so make sure you get a glimpse!

The Souvenir Brochure is at the printers and should be available very soon - we'll update the website when they are on sale, then you can pop into Knightstone to pick up a copy.

Hospital Radio Plymouth are recording a special programme with our Chairman, Michael Hayes. This will be broadcast to the Plymouth hospitals, raising awareness of the airfield. 

The Exhibitors and Stallholders are all ready to attend and a great weekend is in prospect - with the Children's Hospice South West family dog show (Saturday pm) as one of the highlights!

We look forward to seeing you at this special event in just a few days time!

 

(*Please remember that while every effort will be made to ensure that they take place, the BBMF display and RNHF flypast are subject to aircraft serviceability and weather on the day. Likewise, the SARF Sea King helicopter role demonstrations will be subject to service demands at the time.) 

 


Excitement mounts as plans for the aerial displays come together!

We are delighted that the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is committed to attend*. The iconic Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane will perform a special display. The sound of those Rolls Royce Merlin engines over land is something not to be missed!

We have heard today that the Royal Navy Historic Flight Fairey Swordfish LS326 is scheduled to perform a flypast in tribute to the nine aircrew of three Fairey Swordfish from Harrowbeer lost in a single sortie on 1st May 1944.

In this special 70th anniversary year, the RAF Search and Rescue Force is also wanting to pay its own tribute to the air and ground crews who work together to save the lives of those in peril. Harrowbeer has a strong bond with the modern day SARF as 276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron was formed here on 21st October 1941 - giving ditched aircrew a realistic chance of survival. Plans are coming together for a role demonstration by a Sea King helicopter from Chivenor on both the Saturday and Sunday of the RAF Harrowbeer 70th Anniversary Event.

It's all too good to miss - make sure you put the weekend (13th and 14th August) in your diary!!

  

(*Please remember that while every effort will be made to ensure that they take place, the BBMF display and RNHF flypast are subject to aircraft serviceability and weather on the day. Likewise, the SARF Sea King helicopter role demonstrations will be subject to service demands at the time.) 

 


RAF Survival Equipment goes on show at Harrowbeer...

A stunning display of RAF Survival Equipment is being brought to the RAF Harrowbeer 70th Anniversary Event.  The display which includes a Tornado ejector seat, life vests, life rafts, audio visual films and display boards will promote the state of the art equipment in use in the RAF.

The display has proved hugely popular with the public at recent county shows as well as local air shows - we anticipate the same reaction here!  There will be RAF personnel on hand to talk about the different equipment, how and where it's used, as well as promoting the RAF itself.

The Survival Equipment Display will bring a great new focus on the RAF - in addition the the RAF Search and Rescue stand which will promote the service they provide across the country as well as their own 70th anniversary (see the News item below - 31 March); RAF Recruitment and also the Air Training Corps - also celebrating their 70th anniversary!

Come along and see for yourself!

 


Iconic Vintage Mobile Cinema comes to Harrowbeer...

We are delighted to announce that a well-known local business has committed to sponsor the Vintage Mobile Cinema to bring this iconic vehicle to our 70th Anniversary Event.

This is a particularly exciting time, as the Vintage Mobile Cinema has just finished recording a series of programmes with the BBC.  The series entitled The Reel History of Britain will be screened nationally on BBC2 on September 5th this year, and will go out at 6.30pm every weekday for four weeks.  The series is presented by Melvyn Bragg and will be an entertaining and moving look at the social history of Britain, seen through a variety of archive documentary films courtesy of the British Film Institute.

The Vintage Mobile Cinema is a restored 1967 unique 22 seat cinema.  The unit features a striking Perspex dome above the cab, giving the vehicle a retro-futuristic feel, not dissimilar to some features of a Lancaster bomber.

The Vintage Mobile Cinema is the only surviving unit from a fleet of seven, built by the Government in 1967 to promote British industry and as such represents an important piece of transport heritage. 

Inside the vehicle is a cinema in miniature, with 22 traditional tiered cinema seats, modern state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment, with climate control for maximum audience comfort. 

The traditional cinema seats have been refurbished using modern, fire-retardant materials, and are arranged in pairs in ascending tiers, with plenty of leg room to provide a comfortable environment for the audience.

We plan to screen a mixture of short films over the weekend including an RAF film on survival equipment – this has a direct link to 276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron which was formed at Harrowbeer.  The South West Film and Television Archive are digitising a film for us with archive footage of this corner of Dartmoor.  Marek Borzecki, a respected Polish film maker has given us copies of two of his films showing Polish airmen and their aircraft – 302 City of Poznan Polish Spitfire Squadron is featured (they were based at Harrowbeer in 1941/42); as well as the stunning Memorial to the Polish Air Force which is sited at RAF Northolt.

We're delighted that the Vintage Mobile Cinema is appearing at our event; particularly as it features heavily in the BBC2 series – it is already quite well known, especially in the South West, and now it is going to become very recognisable and very popular, over the next few months.  Kieron Collins, Managing Editor for the series said “There are a couple of episodes that deal with specific stories related to World War II and I read about the history of RAF Harrowbeer, on your website, with interest.  If we do get the opportunity to make a second series, we may well consider it as a potential story.”

Come along and see the Vintage Mobile Cinema for yourself and make sure you catch one of the films!

If you’d like to learn more about the Vintage Mobile Cinema please visit: www.vintagemobilecinema.co.uk or for the story of the restoration of the Cinema – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTpKlP9vbwA&NR=1

 


A Special Service of Remembrance for Harrowbeer...

Service of Remembrance

We mark the 70th anniversary of the official opening of RAF Harrowbeer, with a special Service of Remembrance at the Memorial Stone which was unveiled in 1981 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary.

 

10am on Saturday 13th August 2011

RAF Harrowbeer Memorial Stone

Leg o’ Mutton Corner, Yelverton, PL20 6AA

 

On this anniversary, the Community will come together again to salute the brave young men and women of our Armed Forces, past and present, and to commemorate all those who have given their lives in the Service of their country.

We will remember them.

 The Service

The short open-air service welcomes veterans and their families, as well as current and ex-service personnel and their families.  Representatives from the countries of those who served at this airfield are warmly invited.  Standards from the Royal British Legion and other organisations will be present.

 Field of Remembrance 

A Royal British Legion poppy cross will be individually handwritten for each person known to have died – whether from RAF Harrowbeer, from aircraft which crashed nearby, or those on current deployments thousands of miles from home. 

The inscription will include their Service, their name, rank and age, as well as their squadron or unit. The poppy crosses will be grouped appropriately and set around the RAF Harrowbeer Memorial Stone.

 Roll of Honour 

As a tribute to the Service personnel who died, Cadets from the Air Training Corps will read each of the names on the Roll of Honour.

 The laying of poppy wreaths and tributes

Following the two minute silence, marked by a Bugler from 6 Rifles, Royal British Legion poppy wreaths will be laid to commemorate squadrons and personnel.  Other wreaths and tributes may also be laid.

 After the service

The Parade will form up and march back to the former Watch Office (now Knightstone Tearooms), led by the City of Plymouth Pipe Band.  The Parade will include representatives from the Royal British Legion; Cadets from across the Plymouth & Cornwall Wing of the Air Training Corps; young people from the Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Corps as well as military and civilian vehicles.

In recognition of the importance of the service, Maristow Estate has kindly waived the car parking fees at Leg o’ Mutton Corner for the day. 

 


Six weeks to go to and it's all coming together for the Big Event!

The RAF Harrowbeer 70th Anniversary weekend will be launched with the fabulous 1940s Dinner Dance - staged by the Roborough Rotary Club at the Moorland Links Hotel on Friday 12th AugustTickets are limited, so please book quickly!

Plans are in place for the special Service of Remembrance on Saturday 13th August - the Community will come together to commemorate all personnel who served at RAF Harrowbeer, especially those who gave their lives.  We will also remember the brave young men and women of our Armed Forces who are currently deployed overseas.  Please join us if you would like to...

The Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust Memorial will be unveiled by the Director General of the charity as part of the official opening ceremony on Saturday 13th August.

The line up continues to grow for the main event:

  • The national Airfix Make and Paint Roadshow
  • Hospital Radio Plymouth
  • RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - display by the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane
  • RAF Search & Rescue Displays
  • A variety of vintage military vehicles
  • Military memoriabilia, artefacts and archive materials
  • Arena displays by the Air Training Corps and Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Corps
  • The Royal British Legion and Royal British Legion Riders
  • 'Millie's Food Memories'
  • Living history displays
  • Children's Hospice South West Charity Dog Show
  • Chandler's Event Catering luxury kitchen unit
  • Jazzacadabra and Roger Mark's Spitfire Five swing bands
  • Stonehouse Climbing Wall

and much much more...

Also expected...  the Vintage Mobile Cinema; the RAF Survival Display; and the Royal Navy Historic Flight's Fairey Swordfish!  Keep checking the website for more news!

This is a very special, one-off event being supported by the local community and local businesses.  Anyone wishing to provide sponsorship, donations or in kind contributions, please contact us - we would love to hear from you!

 


Polish Airmen to be remembered at Harrowbeer...

Dr Stefan Petrusewicz, Vice President of the Anglo Polish Society  Bristol and the South West, has kindly agreed to lay a wreath at the Service of Remembrance on Saturday 13th August.  The wreath will commemorate the brave Polish Airmen of 302 (City of Poznan) Squadron.

No. 302 (City of Poznan) Squadron was a Polish fighter squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom in 1940.  It was one of several highly-respected Polish fighter squadrons fighting alongside the Royal Air Force during the World War II.

The Squadron was one of the four Polish-cored Royal Air Force squadrons that participated in the Battle of Britain.  It consisted mainly of Polish pilots, many of whom were veterans and highly experienced.  The Squadron was formed on 10th July 1940.  They piloted Hawker Hurricanes and were put under the control of No. 12 Group RAF.

They arrived at Harrowbeer in October 1941, under the command of Squadron Leader Kowalski, and immediately exchanged their Hawker Hurricane fighters for Supermarine Spitfires

Once they had trained with the new aircraft, they became ‘fully operational’ from the 1st November 1941 and were engaged in the defence of Plymouth and its dockyard.  They also took part in fighter sweeps over France and undertook convoy patrols in the Channel. 

On the 11th November 1941, the Squadron was visited by Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz, the Polish President.  The Polish Air Force Colour was presented to 302 Squadron (it was rotated through the 14 PAF squadrons).  Receiving the Polish Air Force Colour was a moment of great pride and significance for the Airmen.  Many of the Pilots were decorated for their bravery.

The Poles were well liked by the local community and after they left Harrowbeer at the beginning of May 1942, they were greatly missed. 

 


Heritage Weekend 18-19 June marks the start of Armed Forces Week...

RAF Harrowbeer Heritage Weekend 18-19 June 2011 marks the start of Plymouth Armed Forces Week.

RAF Harrowbeer Archives will be hosting one of their special weekends at the Knightstone Tearooms.  The Museum will be open to view - with artefacts and memorabilia on show. 

In the build-up the the Big 70th Anniversary Event in the summer - it's worth spending some time browsing the folders of archive information about the history of the airfield.

Hospital Radio Plymouth plan to send a reporter to record personal stories about the airfield for a forthcoming programme.  So if you have a tale to tell...  pop along - we'd love to hear it!

The Harrowbeer Interest Group display stand will be on site and members of the group will be leading guided walks of the airfield. 

There will be some charity stalls to browse and the Tearooms will be open as usual - so make sure you drop in for a bite to eat or one of their delicious teacakes!! 

 


Chandlers Event Catering signs up for Harrowbeer...

The famous fine food of Chandlers Bistro in Plymouth will be available at the RAF Harrowbeer 70th Anniversary Event - with their Luxury Kitchen Unit providing a range of tasty food throughout the weekend. 

Award winning Chandlers Event Catering has the newest and most technically advanced catering units in the country.  No expense has been spared in designing top of the range outside catering kitchens and coffee operations.

Chandlers Event Catering has been at top events - such as Wimbledon, The Motor Show, Royal Cornwall Show, Yeovilton Air Day, The Fastnet and Pirate FM Concerts to name just a few.

At the 2008 Devon County Show, they were presented with the Bronze award for catering.

With twenty-seven years experience in the catering industry and a host of awards and accolades, Chandlers all new mobile Event Catering Units are the ultimate in modern outside catering.

The Luxury Kitchen Unit, stunningly designed in silver and black stainless steel with low voltage and LED lighting, electronic moving menu displays and towed with a colour coded 7.5 tonne refrigerated truck, will be on site supplementing the traditional fare from the Knightstone Tearooms.

Chandlers pride themselves on minimising the impact on the environment and the Luxury Kitchen Unit is completely self sufficient - the generator uses natural gas, rather than petrol, so emissions are clean-burning and quiet.

Chandlers take a pride in ensuring their staff are all highly trained and hold all the necessary certificates required for food handling. There is always a first aid trained staff member on board.

The ergonomically designed Luxury Kitchen Unit is fitted with state of the art equipment and adds the professional touch to the production of delicious fresh food, barista coffee and cold drinks.

Come along and sample their well-priced menu including: Bacon Rolls, Steak Bagettes, Teriyaki Beef Noodles, fresh salads and much much more...! 

 


Plans looking grand for the special 1940s Dinner Dance...!

The Rotary Club of Roborough, Plymouth are pleased to announce that the Menu has now been finalised for the special 1940s Dinner Dance which is launching the RAF Harrowbeer 70th Anniversary Event:

Welcome drink of Pimms or fruit juice

Starter:  Roll Out the Barrel Soup of the Day or Home Guard grown Melon

Main Course:  Turn those Lights Out Roast Beef with Black Market Vegetables or Vegetarian Option

White Cliffs of Dover Sweets: Orchard Fruit Salad or Hedgerow Jam Roly-poly and Custard

Tea/Coffee

Cost to £27.50 per ticket - which includes the meal and dancing to Dave Hankin and his superb Band playing music from the 1940s.  There will also be a fundraising raffle with fabulous prizes so make sure you wear your lucky shoes!!

Tables of 10 so why not organise a group of friends to come along for a fabulous night out!  It'll be real wartime spirit and everyone will be making sure that you have a good time, so please book a ticket or two and come along!  

News hot off the press is that they have some uniforms and dresses available with some being genuine 1940s and others that are very good replicas of the style of dresses of the time.  These are in sizes 10 to 22.  The uniforms are £25 to £30 but the dresses are only £5 and hats are a snip at £3. There are outfits for a Maid and also Nurse (complete with stethoscope!).  Anyone brave enough to wear a fox fur or mink stole (complete with heads and feet) can buy them for less than £10!

For more background information, please scroll down to the previous News Item on the Dinner Dance (dated 7th February).

Make sure you don't miss out! - please contact Caroline for more details and to book tickets, please contact:  caroline@eastontraining.co.uk or 01752 774452 

 

 

haven't got a group to gome with 

 


Millie brings a taste of wartime food to Harrowbeer...

'Millie's Food Memories from World War II' - come along to see our specialist re-enactor demonstrating some of those wonderful recipes, never to be forgotten! Take a trip down memory lane to recall some of the best (and the worst!) that rationing had to offer!

Who can forget Woolton Pie or dried eggs, spam or corned beef fritters? Yum!

Demonstrations of some of the recipes used during the war, and some reminders of what it was like living during wartime, will be on show over the weekend.  Was it really better to be living in the countryside???

There will also be reminders of rationing with examples of just how little each person could expect - remember that when you're buttering your teacake in the Knightstone!

Pat is a specialist re-enactor with a company of like-minded historians.  Pat usually has the role of cook for Medieval, Tudor and Victorian periods where she brings a flavour of those times to each event. The team mainly spend weekends at events in various period locations, including at Buckland Abbey.

Pat has played the part of a matron at Castle Drogo when they were depicting World War II.  She worked with children who were in role as evacuees from London. It all went swimmingly - however they just couldn't believe what they were supposed to eat when they were in character!!

We're all used to bananas and oranges being around all the time now... do you know when they were available in the forties??  We all eat far too many sweets now... do you know what the ration was??  Come along and find out! 

 


Official Commemoration by National Charity...

Kenneth Bannerman, Founder and Director General of Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust, the national charity which recognises and commemorates disused airfields, has added Harrowbeer to the growing number of airfields receiving an ABCT Memorial.

These striking Memorials commemorate the airfields themselves; the people who flew from them; and the communities which surrounded them.  

Mr Bannerman, whose lifelong passion to recognise our disused airfields - both military and civilian - founded ABCT to acknowledge the significant role and unique  contribution airfields have played in our lives since 1909.  The charity and its website receive global interest with sustained internet attention from well over 100 countries.  

Harrowbeer will now be part of a growing chain of standardised Memorials which are being erected across Britain to ensure the significance of these places is preserved for future generations 

Carved from some of the best granite in the world, our Memorial will be a real tribute to the part the airfield played in the fabric of local life here on the edge of Dartmoor, both during and after the war. 

Many disused airfields have been built on or turned back into farmland.  Although the site of the Harrowbeer airfield is now mainly moorland, remains of approximately 110 airfield buildings can still be seen.  As the former Watch Office (Control Tower) is still visible as part of the Knightstone Tearooms, it has been agreed that the Memorial will be sited on the outside of the boundary wall of the Tearooms.

The Memorial will act as focus for everyone wanting to be more aware of local heritage and will attract visitors from across the country.  It will also draw additional attention to the RAF Harrowbeer Memorial at Leg o' Mutton Corner which was unveiled on August 15th 1981 by the Hon EF Ward, Harrowbeer's first Station Commander, as a tribute to all who served at RAF Harrowbeer.

Mr Bannerman has kindly agreed to unveil the Harrowbeer ABCT Memorial on Saturday 13th August as part of the official opening ceremony for the 70th Anniversary Event.

For more information about the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust, please visit  their website www.abct.org.uk 

 


Professional photographer to make official record of the event...

Mike Kinsey, the well respected professional photographer from Princetown, has kindly agreed to make the official visual record of the RAF Harrowbeer 70th Anniversary Event.

Mike is the main contributing photographer for SNAPSTAR which he manages and runs, as well as providing other photo and media services.

Mike has been a keen photographer since childhood, when his Grandad gave him an old foldout bellows camera and he took it to the zoo. As a teenager he had a darkroom in the attic of the family home, where he processed and printed Black and White films. He had his first action shot published in RUGBY WORLD in 1978 - and is still waiting to be paid!

Thirty years service in the Royal Navy and Police followed, where Mike was able to work in aerial and maritime environments including underwater and surveillance operations. He latterly used photography as an intelligence and briefing tool in the Counter Terrorism field.

Now retired from one career, Mike is developing another long-cherished ambition to become a professional and creative photographer, reporter and writer.

Mike will be taking photographs at the Harrowbeer Heritage Weekends as well as during the setting up of the main event. Some of these images will be used alongside the audio-record being made by Hospital Radio Plymouth and included on the souvenir CD which will be compiled for sale after the event. 

Mike has offered a complete collection of his photographs for the Harrowbeer archives which will provide a lasting legacy of the Anniversary Event.

If you'd like to see some of Mike's great photos, take a trip to Princetown and pop into  Duchy Square Centre for Creativity during May or into the Fox Tor Cafe.  For more information about SNAPSTAR, please check out their website www.snapstar.co.uk 

 


First Heritage Weekend of 2011 is nearly here...

RAF Harrowbeer Archives will be hosting the first of their special Heritage Weekends at the Knightstone Tearooms over Saturday 30th April, Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd May - come and discover some more about the airfield and learn more about the plans for the Anniversary Event in August!

The small Museum with wartime artefacts and memorabilia will be open to view and the Harrowbeer Interest Group display stand will be on site and HIG members will hopefully be leading some of their popular guided walks of the airfield.

Hospital Radio Plymouth plan to send a reporter to record personal stories and memories of the airfield which will then be compiled into a programme to be broadcast at Derriford Hospital over coming weeks.  If you have a tale to tell and want to make sure they record it, please contact Michael Hayes on 01822 853679 and he will let HRP know.

There will be the usual charity stalls to browse and the Tearooms will be open as normal.  Michael will be on hand to tell you all about the plans for the Big Event in the summer - and make sure you pop in for a meal or a cuppa and one of their famous teacakes! 

 


Harrowbeer supports CoastRider on his epic trek for Combat Stress...

Monday 11th April sees the start of an epic charity motorcycle ride around the coastline of mainland Britain, using only minor roads closest to the sea.

Mike Woolley, a well known local tree surgeon from Walkhampton, will travel between 5000 and 6000 miles on a Yamaha XT660Z motorbike to raise funds for Combat Stress, the UK's leading military charity specialising in the care of Veterans' mental health.  This vital charity provides a free 24hr helpline and is currently raising funds for a national chain of local support centres.  They need £30-million - so if you can, please give generously.

Mike, a former columnist with Trail bike magazine and a keen long distance motorcycle traveller, will document his two month long trip with a daily blog http://www.coastrideruk.blogspot.com/ including photos and video clips for supporters to follow his progress as well as getting involved, either by giving money through the site, or offering practical help with food, fuel and accommodation as he travels.  Contact him if you can help with publicising his trek and help him raise awareness of Combat Stress.

Mike comes from a Service family and has a close interest in the former RAF Harrowbeer airfield.  He has hair-raising tales to tell of working on trees at the back of a property which had been used by military personnel during the war!!  Mike has agreed to come to the 70th Anniversary Event to continue raising the profile of Combat Stress and to tell us all about his epic journey - come along and meet him!

Mike sets off from Plymouth Hoe on Monday 11th April.  He will head for Cornwall, keeping the sea to his left and then continue around the whole of the country!  To donate to his fantastic cause, please go to: http://www.justgiving.com/CoastRiderUK .

 

 


Harrowbeer celebrates 70 years of RAF Search & Rescue

 

On the 6 February 2011, the RAF Search and Rescue Force celebrated its 70th Anniversary.

Born out of the Battle of Britain, its predecessor, the Directorate of Air Sea Rescue was formed at the HQ of RAF Coastal Command in 1941 with a mandate to form a combined and effective rescue service for downed Allied aircrew that up to that time, were being lost at an alarming rate. Only one in five would survive ditching in the seas around Great Britain.  

No 276 Squadron was formed at RAF Harrowbeer on 21 October 1941, from detachments of air sea rescue aircraft at Harrowbeer, Roborough, Warmwell, Perranporth and Fairwood Common.  The Squadron's area of operations covering the western end of the English Channel and the Bristol Channel.

Airmen from 276 Squadron practiced dingy drills in the swimming pool of the nearby Moorland Links Hotel.  Aircraft from the Squadron practiced over Burrator Reservoir to improve the effectiveness of their dingy-drops. 

Defiants and Spitfires were acquired during 1942 for spotting ditched crews and Ansons for dropping dinghies and supplies, Walruses being used for pick ups.  In April 1944 Warwicks equipped for dropping airborne lifeboats were received but these were transfeered to No 277 Squadron in November.

Following the formation of the directorate, the number of airmen rescued steadily increased through the war reaching its busiest period during the D-Day month of June 1944 - when around 400 rescues were recorded.  Figures vary but by the end of the World War II, over 13,000 lives had been saved from the seas around Great Britain, of that total, 5,721 were aircrew, 4,665 non-aircrew and the figure also includes 277 enemy airmen.

An application has been made for a display at our event by a SAR helicopter from a current Search & Rescue Squadron to mark the 70th anniversary of the Force and the direct links with RAF Harrowbeer.

 


Hospital Radio brings Showstage to Harrowbeer...

A ward winning Hospital Radio Plymouth is set to bring their Showstage to the Anniversary Event.  HRP will provide music and entertainment throughout the weekend and will be at the centre of all the fun. 

The crew will include well known presenters with a passion for the 1940s and military band music; as well as the rest of the team who keep the 'show on the road' and make it all happen!  presenter

Weather permitting, they hope to record the Remembrance Service on Saturday 13th and then broadcast it in the hospital on Sunday 14th. 

Plans also include making a programme which will include airfield history and personal stories.  If you have a Harrowbeer tale to tell, please let us know. 

We hope the programme will be made into a CD for sale after the weekend as a momento and to keep the history alive.

For more information, please check out their we bsite www.hospitalradioplymouth.org.uk/ .

 


Airfix brings its FREE Make-and-Paint Roadshow to Harrowbeer!

Darrell Burge, Marketing Manager for the Airfix Division of Hornby has put the 70th Anniversary Event on the Airfix Roadshow programme

The Airfix Team will bring along their FREE Make-and-Paint Roadshow giving youngsters of ALL ages the chance to experience the joy of Airfix model making. 

Airfix Team members will be on hand to help if you have any questions and once the model is finished you can take it away in your very own 'Hangar Box'!

The Team will also bring along a small Airfix shop with kits to buy and all sorts of other great Airfix gift products.be bringing along our free event – the Airfix Make-and-Paint, where youngsters of ALL ages and genders can experience the joy of Airfix model making.  Once the model is finished they can take it away in their very own “Hangar Box”.  We’ll also be bringing along a small shop, with not only kits to buy, but also other great Airfix gift products.   

This is the furthest West the Roadshow has travelled - they are hoping to inspire new kit builders and attract experienced modellers - let's give them a really warm westcountry welcome!

 


TASS provides mobility support at the Anniversary Event...

Tavistock Area Support Services (TASS) is a well known, popular local charity making a difference to local people through a wide range of activities offered through The Anchorage Centre in Tavistock. 

TASS supports older people and those with a physical disability - with over 800 people accessing their services each week.  Staffed mainly by volunteers, TASS offers a wide range of activities at The Anchorage Centre and through their Outreach support service. 

TASS has four accessible minibuses providing transport and has developed TaviMOBILITY offering loans of wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walking aids etc.

We are delighted that TASS has pledged to support the RAF Harrowbeer Anniversary Event weekend by providing mobility support.  They will be bringing at least one of their accessible minibuses to enable people with mobility issues to attend the Remembrance Service on Saturday 13th August.  Please book early as places are strictly limited 

They have also offered to bring their mobility scooters (3, 4 and 5 wheeled).  These will need to be pre-booked and will be available on a first come first served basisManual wheelchairs and walking aids are also available to be booked.

To make a booking, please contact the TASS Transport Coordinator on 01822 617525

For more information about TASS itself, please check out their website www.tasstavistock.org.uk - they will also have a stand at the Anniversary Event promoting the valuable work they do in the community.

 


Planned Tribute Fly-Past by Royal Navy Historic Flight ...

The Royal Navy Historic Flight, based at Yeovilton, has informed the 70th Anniversary Event Planning Group that they plan to pay tribute to the two Fleet Air Arm Squadrons (No 834 and No 838) which flew from RAF Harrowbeer during the latter part of WWII. 

No 834 FAA Squadron - six Fairey Swordfish aircraft arrived at Harrowbeer on 14 April 1943 and were seconded to Coastal Command on night patrols.

No 838 FAA Squadron - arrived on 20 April 1944 with Fairey Swordfish bi-planes from Machrihanish.  They left RAF Harrowbeer on 8 August 1944 for duties at Worthy Down.  838 Sqn was used for operations in the English Channel to seek and destroy enemy U-Boats and E-Boats.  The detachment was a General Reconnaissance Wing formed at Knightstone house (now Knightstone Tearooms) on 22 April 1944.

Particular tribute will be paid to the nine aircrew from 838 Sqn at RAF Harrowbeer who died in 1944.  A sortie of three Fairey Swordfish bi-planes took off from the airfield on the night of April 30 1944.  Tragically all three crews were lost in the very early hours of May 1st - two aircraft crashed in France and the third was badly damaged and ditched in the sea off the English Coast.

Fairey Swordfish aircraft have the distinction of being one of a very small number of aircraft which were in operational front line service at the outbreak of WWII, and still in front line service after the declaration of peace in Europe.  In so doing, the Fairey Swordfish has the added distinction of being the last bi-plane to see operational front line service in any of the three Services of the British Armed Forces. 

It is therefore most fitting that the RNHF has provisionally booked a fly-past of a Fairey Swordfish and a Sea Fury for the afternoon on Saturday 13th August - we will post more news on the website when information becomes available.

 


Local Air Cadets take an important role in the RAF Harrowbeer Event...

In this special 70th Anniversary Year of the Air Training Corps, members of the Plymouth & Cornwall Wing of the ATC have pledged their support for the RAF Harrowbeer Event

On the 5th February 1941, the Air Training Corps was officially established with King George VI as the Air Commodore-in-Chief.  To mark this significant anniversary, over 400 Cadets and Staff from the Plymouth & Cornwall Wing celebrated 70 years of air cadets with an Anniversary Parade through Truro town centre on 6th February 2011.

Flt Lt Phil Newcombe, OC of Tavistock-based 2312 Squadron, is coordinating the involvement of Cadets and Staff at the Harrowbeer Event.  Cadets from across the Plymouth & Cornwall Wing will take an important role in the Remembrance Service on Saturday 13 August - including the laying the poppy crosses and the reading of names on the Debt of Honour.  They will then parade back to the main site and become involved in the activities of the day.

On Sunday 14 August, the Cadets will be providing a mix of displays demonstrating drill and leadership skills to promote the ATC.  They will also take part in sporting activities to evidence their skills - whilst entertaining the crowds!  There is even talk of a Harrowbeer Trophy for an inter-squadron challenge! .

 















wing celebrates 70 years of air cadets

 

Over 400 Cadets and Staff from across the Wing hold an Anniversary Parade through Truro town centre to celebrate 70 years since the formation of the Corps on 5th February 1941 

 

 


Special 1940s Dinner Dance launches the RAF Harrowbeer weekend!

The Rotary Club of Roborough, Plymouth, is staging a special fundraising Dinner Dance on Friday 12th August 2011. The 1940s themed dance will be held at the Moorland Links Hotel and will launch the RAF Harrowbeer Anniversary Event in style!

To get 'in the mood', everyone will be encouraged to enter the spirit of the event and wear 1940s costume; evening suits (black tie) or military dress. There may be a prize for the best dressed man and woman!

The Dinner will be based on a 1940 menu - with emphasis on the sort of food that country folks could get access to. Plans are afoot for ‘roll out the barrel’ soup of the day, followed by ‘turn those lights out’ roast beef with all the trimmings or vegetarian dish of the day both served with 'black market' vegetables and the meal may finish with ‘white cliffs of Dover' sweet selection!

A superb 8 piece band will play 1940s music to 'keep the troops entertained' and their singer will make sure the evening goes with a swing - bring your dancing shoes!

The Moorland Links Hotel has special connections with RAF Harrowbeer as it is where the pilots practiced their dinghy drills prior to missions - it was also a popular haunt for them to relax when they were off duty!

The evening will be a 7 for 7.30pm start and carriages at midnight - mind the blackout!  For those travelling a distance, apart from this lovely Hotel, there are lots of B&Bs and other hotels locally where you will also find a warm Devon welcome!

Numbers are strictly limited, so if you are interested in attending, please contact: Caroline Easton for more information on 01752 774452 or by email: caroline@eastontraining.co.uk.

 

 


March 5 sees the 75th Anniversary of K5054 Supermarine Spitfire...

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Spitfire’s inaugural flight!

K5054 was the Air Ministry registration given to the (Vickers) Supermarine Type 300 Spitfire prototype.

Construction of K5054 began in December 1934 and her maiden flight was on 5 March 1936 at Eastleigh Aerodrome (later Southampton Airport) piloted by Vickers' chief test pilot Joseph "Mutt" Summers.

This celebrated British single-seat fighter aircraft was first seen by the public at the RAF Hendon Air Pageant in 1936 and only a few years later formed the backbone of RAF Fighter Command.

Minor modifications and refinements were made to the Type 300 as suggested by flight trials over the following months, and K5054 emerged as the pattern for the production version of the now legendary Supermarine Mk.I Spitfire.

There will be a full-scale, non-flying, replica of K5054 at the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne on 5 and 6 March to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the iconic aircraft’s first flight.  The replica, which is normally based at the RAF Museum at Tangmere, will be on loan from the Spitfire Society. 

 


The Joseph Kennedy Memorial Hurricane comes to Harrowbeer...

This full scale replica Hurricane will be displayed at our Event as a memorial to Joseph Kennedy (a pioneer aviator during the Great War) and the brave pilots who flew these iconic aircraft during WWII.

This Hurricane is the last surviving aircraft made for the classic 1969 film 'The Battle of Britain'.  Over the coming months it will be restored to its former glory and will be a striking addition to our Event.  It is extremely well made on the principle of the original Hurricanes with a centre steel frame with wood formers and stringers covered with fabric. 

If you want to see it before our Event in August, it will be on display at the 'Battle of Britain Living History Show' on the 11th and 12th of June near Taunton.  For more information please see the SpitfireSpares website.

 


Top rank Jazz Bands agree to play at August Event...

Ever-popular local band Jazzacadabra, led by Band Master Chris Costin will entertain the crowds on Saturday 13th August!  Recently listed as one of the top five jazz gigs in The Times - you are promised a great afternoon!

World class trombonist Roger Marks is drawing together talented jazz musicians from the South West to form his special Spitfire Five for one day only!  Catch them on Sunday 14th August.  Roger has recently returned from a month on a top notch international cruise liner leading an excellent jazz band and entertaining the passengers to great acclaim.  He even played in New Orleans - every jazzman's dream! 

 


Forces Sweethearts sign up to sing...

Confirmation has been received that our very own Forces Sweethearts have signed up to sing at the event in August!

Bringing the spirit and charm of the 1940s to life with powerful vocals and bubbly personalities - our very own Starlets, Kate and Claire, are going to add their own glamour and chic sophistication!

With all the well known hits set to make your toes tap... their vocal harmony with a vintage twist will take us all on a trip down memory lane!  Come along and enjoy some of the best popular songs of the day!

 


Full-size Replica Spitfire with Merlin Engine...

The owner of the full-size replica Spitfire has confirmed that he will be bringing this fantastic aircraft to the 70th Anniversary Event for the whole weekend!  The replica is fitted with a working, water-cooled Merlin engine which will be fired-up at regular intervals over the two days. 

Anyone who would like to don flying gear, sit in the cockpit, be given a briefing on the controls and then feel the iconic Merlin fire-up...  can book their slot beforehand.  It's a fantastic photo opportunity!

There are a limited number of fire-up slots available - the first slot has already been booked!  Each fire-up slot costs £35 - please contact us if you are interested!

Inbetween fire-ups it will be possible to don the flying gear and sit in the cockpit of the Spitfire for photos - cost £10 per session.

For more details on the fire-up slots please contact the Event Organiser.

Information on the Spitfire can be found at www.spitfirespares.co.uk 

 


Charity Dog Show for Children's Hospice South West...

 As part of making the 70th Anniversary Event fun for all the family, 'Mr Fowley' the famous Leonberger dog is helping his owner Jenny Blackhall to organise a charity dog show in aid of Children's Hospice South West.  Their Precious Lives Appeal is raising vital funds to build 'Little Harbour' a new children's hospice in St Austell, Cornwall, which will provide support for families from this area.

Times and details of the Charity Dog Show will be published soon - if you would like to know more,   please contact us.

Everyone is welcome...  please come along!                

 


City of Plymouth Pipe Band to lead parade...

We are delighted to announce that the 'City of Plymouth Pipe Band' have agreed to play at the special Remembrance Service to be held at the Memorial Stone, Leg o' Mutton corner, on Saturday the 13 August at 10am.

The Pipe Band will then lead the parade round to the site of the  main event  for the official opening.

Everyone is welcome to join us for the Remembrance Service.  For more information about the service, please contact us.

 


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