Old Warden 5th July 2015...

Old Warden 5th July 2015…

July 5th saw the Shuttleworth Collection hold its annual Military Pageant at Old Warden aerodrome in Bedfordshire.  Famous for its WW1 and pioneering aircraft collection (most of which are operational), the show also added flying displays by more modern aircraft from further afield including the Avro Vulcan, a BBMF Spitfire and the Bristol Blenheim.  On the ground a large display of WW1 era equipment had been gathered and there were numerous trade stands to entertain the large crowds who attended.  The journey to and from the show were particularly memorable, aboard a 1916 AEC Y Type lorry, the Avro Vulcan display was not to be missed and a display by Hurricane and Seafires was remarkable in their swooping effortlessness and speed, particularly the Seafire that put in a show that seemed more akin to watching a Swallow than an aeroplane.  The sun even shone quite a bit and the organisers were talking about record crowds.  From a work point of view it was a chance to meet lots of vehicle owners ahead of our own Great War Steam Fair in April 2016…

On Land

We Start with the convoy of two AEC Y Types and a Hallford making their way across Befordshire for the display.

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Below: Part of the line up, with a familiar Beamish visitor nearest the camera – the Crossley Tender.


Below: Great War Society members instructing the public on field skills.


Below: Phelon & Moore motorcycle.


Below: Albion lorry.


Below: LGOC B Type bus – the London Transport Museum’s well known ‘Battle Bus’.


Below: Another Crossley.


Below: AEC Y Type.


Below: The Hallford again.

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Below: US Nash Quad and Italian Fiat – both as found and in their ‘barn find’ condition still.

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Below: Vauxhall staff car with replica tank in the background (rather shorter than the originals but fully mobile).



Below: 1913 McCurd – a resident at Old Warden and well known after its early restoration by Tate & Lyle.


In the Air

Below: The crowds were out in force for the airshow during the afternoon – many had turned out to see the flying display by the sole operational (in the air) Avro Vulcan XH 558 which will be grounded later this year as it has reached an age where the technical manufacturers support cannot assure its airworthiness.  As a result it has been a major attraction wherever it has gone this year, and the Old Warden display promised to be loud, as the huge aircraft performed as tightly within the confines of the airfield as was practical.


Below: The sheer size of this plane has to be seen to be believed – even in the air it is massive and menacing and the noise is takes the breath away!  It made several slow and fast passes, lots of climbs and turns before one deafening roar along the crowd line and then up into the sky with the sun highlighting it against the white cloud – really something to remember and though these things have to be retired, the loss of such an impressive and noisy performer must be regretted if nothing else as a reminder of how far we have come since the cold war race to equip with such technologically advanced aircraft and the scale of their menace when seen in close proximity.  See the Vulcan to the sky website for more information on its final performances if you want to catch it – after September that’s really it…

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Below: In contrast to the Vulcan, but again an awesome performer when making fast and low passes along the airfield is the newly restored Bristol Blenheim, seen here on the ground (as my camera mostly couldn’t cope with flying aircraft!).

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Below: A row of Hawkers from the large flying collection at Old Warden.


Below: SE5 awaiting its slot to fly (in the end it was too windy to do so for the WW1 aircraft).

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Below: This Dragon Rapide offers regular flights around the local area, as well as performing as part of the display during the day.


Below: Three RAF trainers – Tiger Moth, Magister and Tutor in low formation.


Below: A small part of the workshop, complete with Spitfire undergoing long-term reconstruction.