Showing posts from February, 2018

Getting ready for the 2018 season

If I thought last week was cold it was nothing compared to yesterday. The thermometer on the car said 2 degrees, but with the easterly wind chill factor it must have been around minus 10 degrees. However, we all battled on as it's only a few weeks until the 2018 season begins. All the painting is nearing completion, items have been cleaned and repaired where necessary and displays are beginning to be put back together. The entrance gates have had a new lick of paint and are now bright red. You really can't miss them now. The days that we are open are coloured in green on the calendar shown below, (please click on the calendar to enlarge it) and the hours are 10 a.m to 5 p.m. The last entrance time is 4.15 p.m, but that really doesn't give you enough time to do the museum justice. You really need a minimum of 2 - 3 hours, but a whole morning or afternoon is best. We have our "NAAFI" on site where you can get teas, coffees, cold drinks, crisps and biscuits.

Coopers Tools

The museum received a donation of a collection of old coopers tools from a Naval dockyard on the south coast of England. After a good clean up and being treated for woodworm they have been put on display.The photos only show part of the collection, some tools are very old and could go back to the 1700's. Barrels were used for storage for almost everything on board a ship, food, water, beer, rum and gunpowder, so a cooper was a vital occupation in a Naval dockyard. Water didn't keep well in barrels, it developed algae and tasted putrid and sour after a very short time. The Navy tried beer next but that didn't keep well in hot and humid conditions. Rum became popular when ships began making regular journey's to the West Indies. It kept well in casks and had lime juice added to it for vitamin C in an effort to prevent scurvy amongst the sailors. Sailors who didn't take their daily tot were paid 3d, about 1p in today's money.  The daily tot was abolished on

It's so cold.

It was so cold at the museum on Friday, about 5 degrees not including the wind chill factor. Being 1000 feet above sea level and on top of Davidstow Moor you wouldn't expect anything else.  The hangar doors were wide open to let the fresh air in and you could hear the wind howling around the building. My job for the day was to paint the struts of the wheel under the wing of the Fairey Gannet. Lying on the concrete floor to paint was painfully cold, but it's the little details that are so important and it had to be done. I shouldn't really moan as poor Sheila was outside in the bitter cold painting the entrance gates bright red. The gates look great now and will really contrast well when we raise the RAF flag and the Union flag beside them when we open. No photos this time as my fingers were too cold to work my camera. It's only a few weeks until we open for the season. Exact dates of opening and any special events will be on the blog as soon as they are confirme

Purple Poppies For Remembrance Of Animals

A very valid comment has been made regarding Animals At War and how they are remembered. The purple poppy has been used to remember the sacrifice and roles of animals in war. However, the organisation that introduced this have now withdrawn it. To see their reasons why please go to the "Animals At War"  30th January post It is a shame that the purple poppy no longer has it's place alongside the red poppy that we associate with remembering the brave men and women who themselves, willingly or not, gave the ultimate sacrifice and became "victims" of war. The purple poppy pin. A horse and pigeons made to acknowledge the purple poppy for animal remembrance in a Wiltshire village last Remembrance Sunday.

Davidstow Airfield

The runways and buildings on Davidstow Moor airfield are still in place but in a much dilapidated condition. The Americans built the site during 1942. The runways have huge potholes in them but are still used for helicopter exercises by the RAF. They were used for practise during the Falklands conflict as the terrain is very similar to that on the Falkland Islands. There is a right to roam policy concerning the airfield whereby anyone can walk on the airfield and take a look at the buildings - at their own risk. The local farmers have "commoners grazing rights" so you will always see horses, and sheep on the land. The sheep use the buildings for shelter when it's raining. As said in a previous post 4624 Squadron RAF Brize Norton are, in conjunction with The Cornwall At War Museum, working to restore the Bomb Aimers Training building. This is the only building receiving any attention on the airfield. On a good weather day you can see for miles from the top floor of

F.I.D.O Trials 1943

 F.I.D.O - Fog Investigation & Dispersal Operation, sometimes called Fog Intense Dispersal Operation, was trialled at R.A.F Davidstow Moor in August 1943. The system had been developed by Arthur Hartley to enable bombers to land safely when returning from raids and their airfield was fog bound. The system involved the laying of pipelines along each side of the runway. The pipelines were interspersed with burners at regular intervals and the pipes were connected to a fuel source, normally the airfields own fuel dump. When dense fog covered the runway fuel was pumped from the source all along the pipes. A jeep with a flaming brand tied to its rear drove quickly along the pipelines igniting the burners. Sometimes the burners were lit by men on bicycles, or even men running along the runway. The heat from the flames evaporated the fog droplets so that the air over the runway became clear enabling the pilot to see the runway to land his bomber safely. After a trail of one month