Huw Hopkins' 2012 blogGAR Entries

APR 23 2012
blogGAR: Sywell Aviation Museum Opens its Doors in 2012

Sitting on the train up to Wellingborough on the morning of Saturday the 7th of April, peering out of the window as the countryside faded into the low cloud and murk, it wasn’t looking hopeful for any kind of aviation action!

I was going up to meet Thomas Pitts and head to Sywell for the annual museum opening where Elliott and Greg Marsh would also join us – all being well we would see a Spitfire display too. The museum this year was not just re-opening after the winter, but a new hall was being unveiled to the public for the first time including an expansion to the USAAF section and a new POW/Luftwaffe exhibition. In the USAAF display were the original and ultra-rare 20th Fighter Group, 79th Fighter Squadron operations boards, which were fascinating to look at. The 79th flew P-38 Lightnings out of Kings Cliffe during World War II.

Luckily as the train rolled into Northamptonshire the weather began to break, with large swathes of blue beginning to appear. This allowed Peter Teichman to arrive from North Weald to display his Supermarine Spitfire PR.XI, PL965, before the attendant crowd, the wonderful sound of the Merlin blowing the winter cobwebs away. As the first warbird display of the year for me, it was incredibly welcome! Peter landed on and the Spitfire joined the assembled line-up of Fokker Dr.1, BE-2C and a pair of Tiger Moths.

By this time the car park was buzzing with members of the public, military re-enactors and military vehicles. During the opening ceremony Peter Teichman was presented with a bomb rack for his Spitfire Mk.IX project as a thank you for displaying.

As only my second visit to the airfield I got to see more of the renowned art deco interiors to be found, firstly in The Pilots Mess café & departures lounge and later on in the Aviator Hotel’s bar and restaurant – all really superb looking rooms. Clearly it was all too much for Elliott who, after seeing the café and departures lounge, with all the excitement became airborne whilst attempting to descend the stairs down from the second floor…

It was then time to retire to the bar and restaurant for a generous and delicious lunch with a side of much discussion and laughter – just the way it should be! One hot topic was the airshow season ahead and the general consensus is that it looks like it's going to be a superb year!

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2012-04-23 - Richard Samwell
Nice Article obout Sywell and the Museum and to see that its expanding, You could say that 'Sywell' is my 'Home' Airfield as I was born just down the road in Northampton. I saw Peter Teichman and his Spitfire at Old Warden Two Years ago so I can only imagine how Enjoyable it was for you. Roll on June and RNAS Yeolvilton air day,(Nearest one to me now I'm living in Plymouth)Thanks once again for a fine article.

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