Vera gets a makeover in Canada

Don’t worry, it’s only temporary! Petwood Hotel Director Emma Brealey recently spent some time in Hamilton, Ontario, and sent back a souvenir video (via Facebook,) showing “our” Lancaster being transformed with the temporary markings of the Ruhr Express, KB700, Canada’s first built Lancaster. All was revealed at a special event at the Canadian Warplane Heritage museum. “It’s so wonderful to see our Canadian friends on screen again – and doesn’t Vera film well?!”

[If you can’t hear any sound, uncheck the default speaker mute setting on the Facebook player control bar at the bottom right of the screen]

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Reward offered for stolen Dambuster logbook

Photo courtesy Charles FosterThe latest twist in the story of the stolen logbook is that Shere Fraser Lowe, the daughter of its owner Sgt John Fraser, has offered a £5,000 reward for information leading to its return. It was loaned to researcher Alex Bateman by the Fraser family for his work. Bateman was jailed for two years in February this year for theft after failing to return it. Shere explained: “Some people say it’s just a document, a piece of paper, but that’s not what it is to me – it’s priceless. Because I lost him at a very young age – I value every little piece – so to get it back would be like getting a piece of my father back.”

Thanks once again to Charles Foster, who has followed this story so diligently on his excellent Dambusters Blog. Continue reading

Dambusters blog hits a million!

Sincere congratulations to Charles Foster, creator and doughty editor of the Dambusters Blog, which has just passed the million hits mark. In noting this achievement, Charles comments on the enduring fascination of the Dambusters raid:

 

“I think the reason may be because although the raid itself is the stuff of legend, it also represents a bigger story: that of the ‘greatest generation’ who fought tyranny, came through the years of austerity which followed, and built a better society in which all could flourish.”

Many of those who today visit the Squadron Bar, our lovingly preserved 617 Squadron Officers’ Mess here at the Petwood Hotel, former home to those who flew in the 1943 raid, might agree. | Related posts

Dambusters photos restored to family after Bateman trial

From Charles Foster, the Dambusters blog:

Before the trial of Alex Bateman, recently jailed for the theft of Flight Sergeant John Fraser’s logbook, the Metropolitan Police found a photo album belonging to  Flight Officer Ken Earnshaw in Bateman’s London house. Both officers flew on the same Lancaster in the second world war.

Despite being found guilty, Bateman continues to maintain his innocence and refuses to disclose what happened to Fraser’s logbook, but the Earnshaw  photo album will shortly be returned to its owner’s descendants in Canada.

After Bateman’s trial, the police entrusted the album to Shere Fraser Lowe, daughter of Flight Sergeant John Fraser, so that she could return it to the Earnshaw family. In two days time she will present the photo album to Earnshaw’s nephew Jim Heather at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta.

The full story

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Plan your own Lincolnshire Aviation trail

I read recently that Lincoln is “the perfect base to explore Lincolnshire’s rich aviation heritage”. Well “perfect” is debatable – Lincoln is a fine city, but why not avoid the city crowds and make Woodhall Spa your Lincolnshire aviation trail base?

For instance, where else can you stay and dine in a hotel which was home to the 617 “Dambusters” Squadron in 1942, complete with the original officers’ mess? The Squadron Bar at the Petwood Hotel features a range of memorabilia and tributes to Guy Gibson VC, Leonard Cheshire VC and their Officers, and so is itself an aviation hotspot, often overlooked in tourist articles.

There are other advantages, apart from peace and quiet. Woodhall Spa is nearer than Lincoln to some key aviation destinations, such as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre and Thorpe Camp. Other must-do aviation attractions a little farther afield, such as the Newark Air Museum or Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre, are within easy reach by car. You are less likely to get snarled up in city traffic than you would be in Lincoln, which is a nightmare right now with the building of the new bus station complex.

So, to help you plan your ideal Lincolnshire aviation trail, here are some useful links, and a memorable video: Continue reading

Log book thief jailed for two years

From Charles Foster, Dambusters Blog, February 11:

“Alex Bateman has been sent to jail for two years following his conviction for the theft of the logbook belonging to Flt Sgt John Fraser, the bomb aimer who flew in John Hopgood’s crew on the Dams Raid in May 1943.”

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Dambusters: The case of the stolen log book

In an earlier post I quoted Charles Foster, who runs the Dambusters Blog: “Dambuster writer and historian Alex Bateman has been charged with the theft of the logbook belonging to Flt Sgt John Fraser, who took part in the Dams Raid as the bomb aimer in John Hopgood’s crew.” Bateman’s trial began last Monday (9 January 2017) at Wood Green Crown Court.

Charles has reported proceedings in detail day by day: Continue reading