From the Woodhall Spa noticeboards, September / October 2018

Autumn’s in the air, but there’s still a lot going on in and around the village. Here are some seasonal suggestions for time out:

 

 

 

September 18

Music for Woodhall welcomes one of the team of resident organists at the famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Born and educated in Wigan, Lancashire, John has been playing the organ since the age of 8 and he’s been at the Blackpool Tower since he took up the job at the age of 16, straight from school. John’s unique playing style means he is always in demand to both ballroom dancers and die hard fans of organ music.

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Travel the Aviation Trails

“These series of trails are the musings of an aviation enthusiast with too much time on their hands. I simply have a love of aviation (in particular military) having been introduced by my father’s stories of his time in the Royal Air Force during the 1950s.”

This is the opening gambit by the writer of “Aviation Trails”, a blog inspired by his own love of aviation which stems from his father and his own love of aircraft. This is a personal treasure trove for all those interested in aviation, featuring 53 trails throughout Great Britain, from Kent to the Scottish Borders, packed with info and pictures. Coningsby and Woodhall Spa airfields feature in Trail 1.

Aviation Trails Home Page
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American reconnaissance pilot flew a Spitfire in 1944

A friend of mine has come across a remarkable film about John Blyth, an 18 year-old just out of high school who was trained to take pictures of damage done to German targets by US bombers in 1944.  He flew in a British Spitfire fitted with extra fuel tanks where the guns were suppose to be.  In other words, he flew over Germany unarmed. At 18 years old, he was all alone, behind enemy lines, with no guns, no escort, and he gladly did it.

This documentary, filmed in 2005, is built around an interview with the then 83-year-old Spitfire pilot, combined with sequences extracted from two suitcases-full of 16mm home movies inherited by filmmaker William Lorton from his great-uncle who served as a Flight Surgeon. Wait for the golden moment when John sees his 18-year-old self on archive film for the first time.


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Dam Busters film director dies (and the back story!)

A fascinating new post from Charles Foster’s Dambusters Blog:

“It’s sad to have to report that the film director Michael Anderson died on Wednesday night, at the age of 98. He was best known to readers of this blog as the director of the 1955 film, The Dam Busters, but this was just part of his long career in the film business. At the time of his death he was the oldest living Oscar nominee for best director.”

“By the early 1950s, he was under contract as a director to Britain’s biggest film studio, Associated British Pictures, for whom he would eventually produce five films. ABP had bought the rights to Paul Brickhill’s best-selling book, The Dam Busters and commissioned a script from the writer of Journey’s End, R C Sherriff. Anderson was selected as director”

“What is not widely known………is that the film was nearly scuppered by a contractual dispute with Guy Gibson’s widow, Eve, after the shooting was completed. Continue reading

Lancaster crash story on video

Image courtesy George HorneI was recently reminded of a film called “Per Purum Tonantes”, made by a former student of mine at the Lincoln School of Media, George Horne. It’s an abridged version of a film he made about the night of the 18th February 1943, when Lancaster Bomber W4270 crashed in a farmer’s field during a training mission, resulting in the deaths of all seven of its crew. Lincolnshire historical researcher Di Ablewhite tells the story of how the film came to be made.

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Dambusters film remake delayed by WW1 project

Image courtesy Charles FosterCharles Foster reports that Peter Jackson’s remake of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, which has now been on the cards for almost 15 years, has been further delayed as the director now concentrates on his current movie project to bring new life to film footage shot during the First World War, held in the Imperial War Museum’s archives.

The film will premiere at the BFI London film festival, where it will be shown in 3D, before being shown on BBC One and sent to all schools for the 2018 autumn term

Charles takes a somewhat dim view of this news: “Everyone would agree that this is a very worthy venture, and that it will also showcase the cinematic techniques for which the Jackson team is justifiably famous. However, anyone with an interest in a certain other project which is supposed to be in his studio’s pipeline will feel more than a little deflated that this would now appear to be his priority. We are, of course, talking about the remake of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, which has now been on the cards for almost 15 (yes 15!) years.”

Latest post on The Dambusters Blog

Peter Jackson talks about the World War 1 project: Continue reading

Dams Raid 75th Anniversary

From the Dambusters Blog:

Preparations are now in hand for events next summer to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Dams Raid. The first dates have now been announced:

 

 

Saturday 12 May 2018. The 617 Squadron Association Annual Dams Dinner will be held at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa, for members of the Association and invited guests.

Sunday 13 May 2018, 10.00am. 617 Squadron Association Annual Wreath-laying Ceremony and Service, 617 Squadron War Memorial, Woodhall Spa. Members of the public welcome. Continue reading