|by Bill Bawden, PRO|
18 April 2017
ACA Meet Again at Fairoaks
Members of the Woking and District AirCrew Association have continued to be active and 2017 began with the January and February meetings taking the form of enjoyable and informal lunches at The Cricketers at Bagshot.
There has, of course, been a great deal of speculation about the future of Fairoaks Airport following the announcement of the plans for its closure and the redevelopment of the site. But, for the time being at least, the ACA will continue to meet at the Flight Centre on the third Tuesday of each month and evening meetings resumed in March with a most interesting illustrated talk given by members of the British Airways Heritage Centre.
Hal Green and Jim Davis traced the history of civil passenger aviation in Britain from its origins in 1919 at Hounslow Heath, through the move to Croydon in 1920 and the formation of Imperial Airways, the forerunner of BA, in 1924. The story continued to the Second World war years and the setting-up of the nationalised airlines at Heathrow at the end of that period.
Members and guests at the April meeting were entertained with a talk by the author of the historical fiction novel ‘The Stranger at the Window’, Guy Mcelveney. Although the names have been changed, the events told in the book closely follow the story of Guy’s family members including, in particular, his great-uncle who flew 25 bomber operations in 1944 with No 578 Squadron before he was killed when his Halifax was shot down near Amiens six days after D-Day.
Memories of the Battle of Britain
Borrowing the coach and driver from the Woking Air Training Corps, a party of ACA members made a memorable visit to Bentley Priory at Stanmore, the former headquarters of Fighter Command. After refreshments and an introductory talk, the visitors were shown a film of the career of Sir Hugh Dowding who was the Commander-in-Chief during the Battle of Britain. They were then taken on a tour of the grade II* listed mansion house including Dowding’s office and the reconstructed filter and operations rooms. After lunch they were driven back to Fairoaks, stopping on the way at the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial with its impressive views over the Thames and London.