Wings and Wheels Society.
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|Thursday 8th February 2018|
8th February 2018 meeting was well attended; Speaker Peter Evans, Presented
an illustrated show titled Mainly Coasters… mainly Local. The show focused
on local shipping, and the final years of coaster operation on the
Gloucester & Sharpness Canal up until the late 1980’s, also Avonmouth & the
South West was featured using his high quality collection of maritime images
to illustrate the past history with fascinating dialogue. The show also
covered Pete’s vast knowledge of where the various ships were built, and
also how they ended their days, with quite a few of them running aground or
sinking in faraway seas after many years of reliable service. It is now hard
to believe that well over 1,000te of goods per vessel - that ranged from
Wood Potash and other Nitrogen agent Chemicals, also including Rice, as
well as Fuel Oil to name a few materials passed through our local canal
system on a once daily basis to and from local industries. Also vessels that
carried these goods came from such distant places as Russia/Poland/Africa
and Asia. Photos of the only visit to the canal of the passenger ship M.V
Balmoral (that got stuck at one of the canal swing bridges) was shown and
discussed. The speaker’s photography included fantastic sunsets and very
atmospheric night time ‘long exposure pictures’ of docks and vessels. The
speaker’s excellent humour also made the evening show even more fascinating
and very enjoyable. At the end of the show Rich Kelsey did a vote of thanks
to the speaker. The Society also made a donation to Severn Area Rescue
|Thursday 11th January 2018|
Thursday 11th January 2018 meeting was well attended; Speakers Rich Kelsey,
Dave Lamb & Nick Clarke Presented illustrated shows titled A View from the
Cockpit ‘learning to fly’ and a view from the Buffet Car featuring steam
trains and ale!. The Society also celebrated its 15th year by
a financial donation to the Severn Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service,
the Blood Bikes charity that is based in Gloucestershire. For this ‘Blood
Bikers’ Dr Tony Dix & Derek Price brought a motorcycle along to show society
members. Rich Kelsey did a brief show marking the achievements of the
society and donations to charities from its funds. Dave covered the first
half of the evening with an illustrated show on his experiences of learning
to fly and some of his flying adventures: that included flying to France a
few times, landing at Granville Aerodrome near Mont Saint-Michel, also
flying over the D-Day beaches and a visit to World War II Memorials. Part 2
of the evening seen Nick & Rich covering heritage railway steam galas and
main line rail tours – that included steam haulage from Penzance to Carlisle
and Newcastle, via many places such as Seaford and Kings Cross London!
Preserved railways from Derbyshire and the West Somerset, Bodmin & Wenford,
Great Central Leicestershire, and North Yorkshire moors were covered, with
many humorous stories, finishing off with a set of atmospheric night steam
locomotive photos on the Watercress Line at Ropley. At the end of the show
Ian Thomas did a vote of thanks to the speakers.
|Thursday 14th December 2017|
Thursday 14th December 2017 meeting was well attended; Speaker Fred Winter
Presented an illustrated show titled Fred’s Digital Rail Travels Vol: 1, the
speaker took us on a Railway Enthusiasts tour of the UK & Europe - featuring
Bulgaria, Ireland & Britain. Fred started the evening with scanned digital
photos giving a humours look at his childhood growing up with railways,
finally taking us through to his first digital camera and his early
adventures with it. Many European ‘in a day trips’ were covered including
flying to Italy and taking a train via Pisa and eating Pizza enroute to
Venice. The speaker also covered his passion for all things GWR and his
volunteer work at the GWS Didcot. Some excellent photography of the GWS rail
motor on the Looe branch was included. The next part of his show took us to
Dublin Ireland and joined the 2016
Croagh Patrick tour, this tour with the Railway Preservation Society Ireland
featured haulage from diesels and Steam traction to Belfast using ‘No4’ a
2-6-4 ex LMS tank engine (Jeep) and ‘No85’ Merlin a V Class 4-4-0 compound
locomotive. Fred then showed members
his recent 2016 PTG Bulgaria Tour photos, this featured some very
interesting locations such as Sofia, and used steam traction in the form of
an ex German WW2 Kriegslok loco to a massive 2-12-4 BDZ tank engine, as well
as other types including narrow gauge steam engines some of which were built
by Skoda. The speaker’s photos were of high quality and were taken using
Canon Fuji and more recently Lumix compact cameras. At the end of the show
Mr Kelsey did a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 9th November 2017|
Thursday 9th November 2017 meeting was well attended; Speaker Ken Duffy
presented an exciting pictorial journey of Russia titled: Russian Aviation
Adventures Vol 1. This talk included Moscow Airshows such as MAKs at
Zhukovsky air base and the once secret Soviet Airforce Museum at Monino, and
closed with a section on Russian Ekranoplans. The show concentrated on his
extensive tours of mainly the Moscow area over the past 10 years, starting
off with Ken and his colleagues flying in formation with the Russian
Airforce training team in L39 jets in 1998 at Vyazma, something that would
be hard to do today. Moscow Monino and MAKS Airshows were covered in detail,
especially in 2005 when the world political stage was different allowing
USAF B1 Bombers to do a flying display, mixed with all types of Russian
produced helicopters and aircraft from the manufacturers of Sukhoi Mig
Antonov Mil and Kamov to name a few. Ken and his colleagues also visited
many other Russian Airforce training and Squadron bases that were at Ryazan,
Engle’s, St Petersburg, Samara, including the MAI (Moscow Aviation
Institute) were many sections of western aircraft from the cold war are
still studied by students to this day! The second half of Kens show finished
with an in-depth look at Russian (wing in ground effect craft) Ekranoplans,
covering the KM – Caspian Sea Monster, A-90 Orlyonok, the ‘Great Lun’ and
Bartini prototype that now rests in the Monino Russian Airforce Museum in
Moscow. This part of the show was accompanied by a look at Kens excellent
scale models of these fascinating craft.
At the end of the show Mr Kelsey
did a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 12th October 2017|
Thursday 12th October 2017 meeting was well attended;
Speaker Mike Fenton presented a pictorial show titled: Brimscombe Bankers
from 1845 and Chalford Rail Car to 1918. The show concentrated on
fascinating history of these local railway icons, the shows were based on
the speakers own personal research meeting ex staff that worked the railway
and GWR records. Brimscombe: The final link in the line from Swindon to
Gloucester was completed when the section from Standish to Kemble was opened
on the 12 May 1845. From Stroud the line climbs steeply above the Chalford
Valley at a gradient of 1 in 60 to the western portal of Sapperton Tunnel,
continuing at 1 in 90 to the summit. In steam days the gradient added
significantly to the line’s working expenses, trains frequently needing
assistance from the banking engine which was stationed at Brimscombe. At
first the line was broad gauge, which the speaker went into much detail
about this, including early locomotives types, also early built wooden
viaducts such as Frampton Mansell in 1843 that were later re-built around by
stone encasing some of the original wooden structure. Chalford Rail car
(part 1): When the railcars were first introduced in 1903, there were no
platforms built at all the new halts along the Stroud valley – they were
just gravelled areas, and the railcars had retractable steps which were set
down to let passengers off. The galvanised shed and coaling/watering
facilities at Chalford for the railcars were provided ready for the
introduction of the service. Mike explained the saga of the Chalford Rail
Motor shed burning down in January 1916 that also destroyed GWR Rail Motor
no 42; the story encompassed the efforts of GWR staff Harold Gubbins and
Signalman Harry Grimmett that raised the alarm to save the stricken
building. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey did a vote of thanks to the
|Thursday 11th May 2017|
Thursday 11th May 2017 meeting was very well attended; When Speaker Ian
Thomas presented a pictorial show titled: Switzerland, Norway and Sweden by
Train. This was a high quality photographic show of Ian and Jill’s recent
European rail adventures that included breath-taking views and stunning
landscapes. Part 1 of the talk started in Switzerland where they explored
many of the mountain railway regions. That included the Bernese Oberland one
of Switzerland´s very scenic narrow gauge railways, which also included the
Jungfrau line to the ‘Top of Europe - Highest Station’ at approximately
11,000 feet above sea level. Ian also captured the unspoilt beauty of the
Bernese Highlands and the mighty Silberhorn Mountain. They also travelled up
the Schilthorn taking a series of rail and cable cars, reaching the
panoramic revolving restaurant at the summit named the Piz Gloria, which was
featured in the 1969 James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The
Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne was also visited - exhibiting all forms of
transport (including many locomotives, automobiles and some aircraft).
Outside the museum a Swissair Convair 990 Coronado jet airliner is still
displayed on a stand. Part 2 of the show was a trip by rail from Sweden to
Norway. Starting at Stockholm and travelling as far north as Narvik, near
this point the train was held up by rain deer on the track. Then travelling
south they took in the fantastic scenery of the famous Flam railway. The
trip also covered many snow covered mountains and crystal clear fjords to
great photographic effect. Near the end of this rail adventure Ian also
captured a short sunset at midnight, whilst also photographing a freight
train in good day light conditions at such a late hour! At the end of the
show Mr Kelsey conducted a question and answers session, and did a vote of
thanks for the speaker.
|Thursday 13th April 2017|
Thursday 13th April 2017 meeting was very well attended; When Speaker Group
Captain Jock Heron OBE gave an illustrated talk titled ‘60 Years of Aviation
Secrets - Area 51’ the talk focused on the USAF Top Secret Test Site at
Groom Lake Nevada. The talk also included once restricted information on Spy
Planes and the base in its early years. Area 51 sits on the edge of a
dried-up lake bed cradled by mountains; only 90 miles or so from Las Vegas,
well defined with “Do not Enter” signs that stand guard with security
cameras and razor wire fencing on the base's perimeter. Area 51 can be found
just inside the Nevada Test Range and very near to the 1,350 square miles of
where many types of nuclear weapons were exploded above and below ground
until the test ban treaties of 1963 and 1996. However recent declassified
documents have helped to shed light on the facts behind the myths of Area
51, from the U-2 CIA spy plane missions that helped to unlock the secrets of
the Soviet Union in the 1950s that include the USSR R-7 Rocket development
at Baikonor, to the ground-breaking American Lockheed stealth A12 aircraft
that was obsolete before it even first served its country, and the
record-breaking Mach 3+ recon plane the SR-71 Blackbird, which helped to
spot North Vietnamese missile bases in the late 1960s and 1970s; and from
the beginnings of stealth technology to the development of the F-117 stealth
fighter, and not forgetting the B2 Sprit Stealth flying wing bomber. The
isolation of the base may be one good reason that no one unauthorised could
ever land there, however Jock Heron whilst doing an RAF exchange with the
USAF in 1965 was on a training flight in an F105 Thunderchief flying close
to the restricted area when smoke suddenly appeared in the cockpit and a
genuine emergency landing on the Groom lake strip took place! The runway
with its over run strip is approximately 6 to 7 miles in length – this
obviously accommodated Jock and his co-pilot with a safe landing, they were
quickly escorted to a secure area and made to sign official papers! Jock at
the time (but ok now) could not mention that he then seen the forerunner of
the SR71 blackbird an A12 that was ready for a mission, flanked by a F101
Voodoo and F104 Starfighter to hide its engine signature. Unbelievably a
similar flight only a few weeks later saw Jock and his co-pilot repeat an
emergency landing at Groom Lake, this time the plane was repaired quickly by
ground crew, and they were speedily sent on their way! The speaker discussed
many prototypes from the USAF Bell X-16 to Soviet era captured aircraft that
were used in an Aggressor training squadron. The talk ended with a look at
the next-generation of prototype hyper sonic aircraft and drones that are
more than likely to be developed at Area 51 in the future. At the end of the
show Mr Kelsey conducted a question and answers session, and then gave the
Speaker a vote of thanks. Also a donation to the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust
from our Society was also made to Jock Heron; this will go towards the
preservation and up keep of the Trusts unique collection of aero engines.
|Thursday 9th March 2017|
Thursday 9th March 2017 meeting was very well attended; When Speaker Paul
Barnett gave an illustrated talk titled ‘The Severn Railway Bridge’ the talk
that focused on the life of this historic site including the Bridge
disaster. The talk covered the railway bridge’s design, and along the way to
unravelled several myths by presenting some newly discovered evidence.
Railway Bridge was built in the 1870s by designer
George Baker Keeling and the
Severn Bridge Railway Company, primarily to carry coal from the Forest
of Dean to the docks at
Sharpness; at that time it was the furthest downstream bridge over the
Severn. The company was taken over in 1893 by the Great
Western Railway and the Midland
Railway Companies when it got
into financial difficulties. The bridge continued to be used for freight and
passenger services until 1960, and saw temporary extra traffic on the
occasions that the Severn
Tunnel was closed for
engineering Work. The Bridge was constructed by Hamilston's Windsor
Ironworks Company Limited of Garston,
Liverpool. It was approached from the north via a masonry viaduct and
had twenty-two spans. The pier columns were formed of circular sections,
bolted together and filled with concrete. The wrought iron spans, each 41m
long, were then put in place, as well as the southernmost span, the rail
steam operated Swing Bridge over the Gloucester
and Sharpness Canal. The whole bridge was 1,269 m long and 21 m above
high water, a total of 6,800 tons of iron being used in its construction. A
number of accidents took place at the bridge over the years, with vessels
colliding with the piers due to the hazardous nature of the waterway. On 25
October 1960, in thick fog and a strong tide, two barges (named the
Arkendale H and Wastdale H) which had overshot Sharpness Dock, collided with
one of the columns of the bridge after being carried upstream. Two bridge
spans collapsed into the river. As they fell, parts of the structure hit the
barges causing the fuel oil and petroleum they were carrying to catch fire.
The speaker noted from his new research that the 1960 accident was not
further ignited by gas from a fractured main – this was inaccurately
reported in the media of the day. Repair work was part under consideration
when another collision occurred the following year, after which it was
decided that it would be uneconomical to repair the bridge. It was
demolished between 1967 and 1970, with traces remaining, also including the
barges that still can be seen at low tide. Paul covered in detail the
memorials that have been recently put in place on either side of the Severn,
that will ensure the men that lost their lives, and the heroes that
prevented the accident becoming even much worse on that tragic night in 1960
are remembered, more details on this can be found on the Friends of Purton
At the end of the show Mr Kelsey conducted a question and answers session,
and then gave the Speaker a vote of thanks. A donation was also made to the
Stroud Vintage Transport and Engine Club (SVTEC) from our Society.
This will go towards the South Cerney Steam & Vintage gala in August that is
a charity run event.
|Thursday 9th February 2017|
Thursday 9th February 2017 meeting was very well
attended; When Graham Sturgess - trustee of the Vale of Berkeley Railway
gave an illustrated talk on the VBR’s history and conception, the assembled
locomotive and rolling stock fleet, and plans for running the Heritage
Branch Line and its Workshop facilities at present and into the future. The
speaker began with a history of the line. Starting in the 1870’s when
interest was growing in linking up the railway lines of the Dean Forest with
the mainline from Birmingham to Bristol in order to speed up the
transportation of coal from the Forest. Work started on the construction of
the Severn Railway Bridge in 1875 by the Severn Bridge Railway Company with
the line from Berkeley Road (on the MR mainline) to Lydney via Sharpness and
the Severn Bridge fully on Oct 17 1879. Soon after this the Severn and Wye
and Severn Bridge Railway Company was formed, but went bankrupt in 1893.
Unusually the following year the line was jointly purchased by the Great
Western Railway (GWR) and Midland Railway (MR). At this point the railway
was renamed the Severn and Wye Joint Railway (S&WJR). The main revenue for
the company was from coal and mineral trains, passenger trains also ran, but
from the 1950’s the passenger services on other parts of the ex S&WJR were
slowly discontinued. The service from Berkeley Road to Lydney via Sharpness
continued, until the night of October 25th 1960. That night, in thick fog
and a high tide, two barges, Arkendale H and Wasdale H missed the entrance
to Sharpness Docks and hit column 17 of the bridge. The barges were carrying
about 10,000 gallons of petroleum/heavy fuel oil which ignited, fracturing
the gas pipeline on the bridge, resulting in 2 of the 22 spans collapsing on
the barges, sadly killing 5 of the crews. As a result of the accident, the
passenger service was severed and by 1964 the stations were closed. The
bridge itself was never repaired and in 1967 work started on its demolition,
being completed in 1970. However by the early 1960’s Berkeley & Oldbury
Power Station came into operation, by 1964 at Berkeley (ex-station goods
yard) a special gantry crane was erected for the transfer of nuclear fuel
flasks by train to Sellafield. Nuclear traffic still continues to use the
line today. In 2015 the Vale of Berkeley Railway was founded, and have a
phased approach to building a Heritage line in co-operation with Network
Rail. The first phase is to build a temporary station on the edge of Forest
Sidings at Sharpness to another temporary station at Berkeley. The second
phase aims to reconstruct the original 1878 MR Sharpness Station and GWR
Signal box. Whilst the actual station buildings have gone some of the
original platforms still survive. A line would then be taken off Oldminster
junction to this station site. Phase 2 would also concentrate on improving
facilities at Berkeley, perhaps starting reconstruction work of the 1875 MR
Station Building itself and re-installing a suitable MR signal box. Later
Phases would look to developing the railway further, possibly extending
further up the line towards Berkeley Road and improving facilities for
visitors. Rolling stock and locomotives are currently being restored in the
dockyard loco shed (this is a temporary but well equipped engineering
facility – that will move to the forest sidings area in later years). Motive
power at Sharpness currently includes Diesel Class 14 & 03, Steam
locomotives also include an LMS 4F and Black Five to name a few. At the end
of the show Mr Kelsey conducted a question and answers session, and then
gave the Speaker a vote of thanks. A donation to the VBR Signalling fund
from our Society was also made.
|Thursday 12th January 2017|
Thursday 12th January 2017 meeting was
very well attended; When Bill Morgan Trustee of the Bristol Aerospace
Collection (Bristol’s new Concorde Museum) gave a talk on the past 100 years
of Bristol aircraft manufacturing, and the lead up to the new Bristol
Aerospace collection due to open in the summer of 2017.
Bill started his talk with the history of Sir George White who is
known for being the father of Bristol’s rich aviation heritage, which
continues to this day. His initial interest in flight may have been kindled
as early as February 1904 when the Bristol Daily Mercury printed an image
captioned “The Aerostat (manned balloon) in mid-air”. Later Sir George
witnessed the Wright Brothers flying and in August 1909 he was said to have
attended the Rheims Air Meet. On February 19th 1910, when all his plans were
in place, Sir George announced the formation of the British & Colonial
Aeroplane Company (later the Bristol Aeroplane Company), setting up a
production line in two bus sheds in Filton. Within a few months, the factory
was building the Bristol biplane known as the Boxkite. Sir George continued
to expand the business and, since then, there has been over 100 years of
continuous aerospace production in Filton. Notable aircraft produced by the
company include the 'Boxkite', the Bristol Fighter, the Bulldog, the
Blenheim, the Beaufighter, and the Britannia, and much of the preliminary
work which led to the Concorde was carried out by the company. BAC went on
to become a founding component of the nationalised British Aerospace, now
BAE Systems. Bristol Siddeley was purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1966, who
continued to develop and market Bristol-designed engines. The BAC works were
in Filton, about 4 miles north of Bristol city centre. BAE Systems, Airbus,
Rolls Royce and GKN still have a presence at the Filton site where the
Bristol Aeroplane Company was located.
Near the end of the talk the future museum and its exhibits were
discussed - such as the show stopping centrepiece that will be Concorde 216.
Designed, built and tested in Bristol, she was the last Concorde to be built
and the last to fly. Other aircraft exhibits will include a Bolingbroke Sea
Harrier and Bristol Freighter to name but a few. At the end of the show Mr
Kelsey conducted a question and answers session, and then gave the Speaker a
vote of thanks. A donation to the new museum from our Society was also made.
|Thursday 8th December 2016|
Thursday 8th December 2016 meeting was
very well attended; When Dick Shepard gave an illustrated talk titled: My
Life as a Stuntman - Part 1. The talk began with a short film show that
including exciting video clips, that contained the destruction of many stunt
cars and awesome jaw dropping ‘T bone dives’ which he mainly walked away
from! Dick’s actual talk began with an account of how he spent a frustrating
childhood waiting for the end of WW2. As soon as it was over, he entered the
first post war motorcycle scramble and carried on with every motorcycle
activity as it became available – including trials riding, grass track
racing, speedway, motorcycle football, ice racing and even the Wall of
Death! He was a first year driver when Stock Car Racing was introduced in
1954 and went on to run his own motorcycle and car crash stunt shows. These
lead to a career in Television riding motorcycles as Boon on ITV (to name a
few), and such classic big screen films – such as helping Michael Caine make
a clean getaway with the gold bullion in the ‘The Italian Job’ as well as
helping James Bond 007 escape his pursuers in ‘Thunderball’ and ‘Diamonds
Are Forever’. Dick stories with lots of humour - covered 30 years of racing,
with continuous leaping and wrecking motorcycles and cars. As he stated in
his show there is not many stunts he has not done on wheels and even mounted
on four hooves! Many world records still stand to his credit, which include:
Riding motorcycles through tunnels of fire, performing ‘T bone dives’ in
cars taking off at 160mph, driving over or through anything and everything
including the upper floor of a pub, and walking away from over 2000 car
crashes. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey conducted a question and answers
session, and then gave the Speaker a vote of thanks.
|Thursday 10th November 2016|
Thursday 10th November 2016 meeting was very well
attended with approximately 60 members and special guests attending; When
Speaker Rich Kelsey and Pilot Dave Lamb gave an illustrated talk titled: The
Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway from the Air. The two part show took the
society members on a visual journey, highlighting the landscape along the
route of this once picturesque line of the West Country, the show also
including locomotives that worked the line and a 50 year (closure)
anniversary pictorial review of recent steam railway galas in 2016. An
additional narrative ‘eulogy’ from local railway historian Ian Thomas marking the Mendips
line in the snow bound winter of 1962 – 1963 was read out. The S&D often
hailed as the “serene and delightful” by its disciples, was also dubbed
“slow and dirty” by its dissenters. The last gasp of this steam-powered
cross-country route from Bath Green Park to Bournemouth West was 1966 after
more than 100 years of operation. Its passing was mourned by devoted
enthusiasts – and its unique character is still celebrated today like a
‘rock-star’ in railway mythology! The
beginnings of the line started in the 1850’s to move goods and passengers
from Poole to Burnham so trains could connect with steam ships to South
Wales, however the GWR Severn tunnel opened in 1886 that curtailed this type
of Victorian traffic on the line, but fortunately by that point the S&DJR
had changed its focus linking Evercreech to the Bath Spa Midland Railway
station then named Bath Queen Square. The new part of this route developed,
and by 1910 expresses were regularly running across the line from the North
West & East of England to Bournemouth, one famous train was named the Pines
Express. The S&D express’s and freight trains were often double headed and
freight trains banked on the first half of the 115 mile route - climbing
through the steeply graded non-ventilated tunnels out of Bath (now reopened
as a cycle route), the then train crews grafted hard driving the steam
locomotives to the summit of 811 feet at Masbury. Closures: The branches
from Edington to Bridgewater North, Highbridge to Burnham and the
Glastonbury to Wells line were closed to passengers (as they reduced in
numbers!) by 1952. Many stories of how the project was photographed from the
air and ground were covered. The society was also honoured to have S&D
(Midsomer Norton) trust members Peter Russell and Roger Newman that both
travelled from some distance to receive a donation from our Society to the
S&D trust charity. Mr Thomas gave the speaker and pilot Dave Lamb a vote of
thanks, also including a discussion about the hard work the duo had done to
deliver this project that was photographed over a few years, and also making
this a very special evening for the members.
|Thursday 13th October 2016|
Thursday 13th October 2016 meeting was very well attended; When Speaker (and
Owner of Colour Rail) Paul Chancellor gave an illustrated talk titled: The
5th Colour Rail Journey, focusing on 1950s-1960s UK Steam including past
Diesel locomotives. Paul concentrated on specific areas to illustrate the
far ranging and incredibly well stocked archive that Colour Rail holds. It
has been trading for nearly forty years; it is a supplier of high quality
pictures depicting steam, diesel and electric railway locomotives as well as
buses trams and trolleybuses from the 1930s to the present day. In total
Paul has around 250,000 pictures on file and the collection continues to
grow. Pauls show Number five (in a series) took the viewers around the UK,
Starting at Crewe loco works and station where many of the images were in
black & white to illustrate the way Paul is now moving the collection
forward. Showing an ex-works Garratt loco in August 1952 (shortly before its
tragic demise), and LMS diesels 10000 and 10001. We then moved on to Oxford,
a real cosmopolitan city that welcomed all the various BR regions and in
particular its wooden engine shed which incredibly managed to carry on until
the end of steam without burning down! Scotland - at Dundee the former B12
locomotive 8531 featured along with a 1949 shot of a J36 in apple green
livery, plus photographs of Dundee’s famous trio of A2 Pacific’s: 60528,
60530 and 60532. Looking splendid on Perth shed was 46252 ‘City of
Leicester’. A further step change in location took us to the city of Exeter
which was illustrated by visits to both stations, Queen Street and St.
David’s. Highlights there were: Merchant Navy locos and a Castle Class loco
at Exeter St. Thomas, the famous banking engine in the form of a Z Class. A
Bullied Loco ’92 Squadron’ 34081 which had obviously been on fire; and
Warship diesel D835 was shown at Exeter along with A4 class 60024 named
Kingfisher on a rail tour. Shed shots were also the order of the day up in
the north east at Stockton and Middlesbrough shed, a very dirty looking B12
loco with a ship in the background and some great panoramic views of the
then new Thornaby Tees shed was worth seeing. The evening show rounded off
with visits to London Sheds. Old Oak Common, Willesden, Camden where
Princess 46207 was shown, whilst at Kentish Town Scot class loco 46112
looked magnificent. Neasden, Cricklewood that had an unusual visitor in the
shape of B1 loco no 61105. At
Finsbury Park - Deltic D9003 ‘Meld’ was brand new and there was also a
lovely night time view of six Deltic’s in a row. At Stewarts Lane depot a
magnificent schools class loco 30915 ‘named Brighton’ with white -walled
wheels for the Royal Train duty! This view dated back to 1953. Going further
out we arrived at Hither Green and finally back to Nine Elms: here panoramic
views recorded the end of Southern Steam in 1967. At the end of the evening
a question and answer session was held, and then Mr Kelsey gave the speaker
a vote of thanks.
|Thursday 12th May 2016|
Thursday 12th May 2016 meeting was very well attended; When Speaker Peter
Davey gave an illustrated talk titled: Around Bristol by Tram 1875 to 1941,
showing fascinating photos from the Davey family collection charting the
history of the Tram from the early horse-drawn type to the dismantling of
the network. Peter is an historian of trams in the Bristol area and still
maintains the Bristol Tram Photography Collection, and a museum of
memorabilia. He is also an author and narrator, and is very much involved in
the Bristol Rocks Railway restoration project. The show started with a
history of the Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company Ltd that operated from
1875, when the Bristol Tramways Company was formed by Sir George White,
until 1941 when a Luftwaffe bomb destroyed the main power supply cables. The
first trams in Bristol (horse-drawn, with a maximum speed of 6 miles per
hour) were introduced in 1875. Electric trams were introduced in 1895, the
first city to do so in the United Kingdom. At its peak there were 17 routes
that included Hanham Filton and Westbury on Trym, with up to 237 tramcars in
use. In 1929 the White family sold its controlling interest in the company
to the Great Western Railway, but by 1932 control had passed to the Thomas
Tilling Ltd & William Verdon Smith (nephew of Sir George White) who remained
as chairman but was replaced in 1935 by J.F. Heaton of Thomas Tilling, so he
could concentrate on the Bristol Aeroplane Company. In 1937 control of
Bristol's tramways passed to a joint committee of the Bristol Tramways
company and Bristol Corporation. Abandonment of the tramways began in 1938,
due to popularity of the new Bus routes, but this was halted temporarily by
the outbreak of World War II. Tram operations ceased in 1941 with the
Luftwaffe's Good Friday raid, which set central Bristol on fire. A bomb hit
the Counter slip bridge, St Philips, next to the electricity generating
centre, and severed the tram power supply. The final tram from Old Market to
Kingswood was given a push by passers-by and freewheeled its way into the
depot! Almost all Bristol's trams were scrapped; however, one is preserved
by the Bristol Aero Collection (soon to be opened at Filton). Another
memorial to the system is a length of tram track still embedded in St Mary
Redcliffe churchyard, where it was blown by a bomb probably in the 1941
Blitz. The Bristol Tramways company continued as a bus operator, but the
name was not changed to Bristol Omnibus Company until 1957. At the end of
the talk Mr Davey showed some of his Bristol tramway memorabilia to the
society, complete with even more humorous stories. At the end of the evening
a question and answer session was held, and then Mr Kelsey gave the speaker
a vote of thanks.
|Thursday 14th April 2016|
Thursday 14th April 2016 meeting was very well
attended, When Speaker Peter Evans gave an illustrated talk titled ‘A Lad
with a Camera from 1963-67’ the show covered his great enthusiasm for
Railways, beginning as a lad taking photos of Steam and Diesel locomotives
during changing times at the end of steam traction on British Railways, the
show also included the then Cold War era of West Germanys steam scene. The
two part show started with Pete’s excellent black and white slides of a
Railway enthusiasts' brake van tour mainly around the ‘doomed
Beaching cuts - lines’ of the
Forest of Dean using a couple of GWR 0-6-0 Pannier Tanks. It was called 'The
Severn Bore' and was so popular that the limited enthusiasts accommodation
offered by the brake vans was soon fully booked so a repeat tour was run
some weeks later in the summer of 1964, this tour also allowed passengers to
view and walk on the remaining Lydney section of the then abandoned Severn
Railway Bridge. Peters show then moved on to use of colour slide
transparencies - photographing the last days of the Somerset & Dorset line
mainly in the Midford viaduct and Templecombe areas. The Speaker also
travelled on the S&D line from Bath Green Park to Bournemouth West a couple
of times before its closure. Pete also showed excellent line side shots of
express trains such as the Cornishman hauled by Diesel Electric Sulzer
powered Class 45 & 46’s Peak locomotives on the now preserved section of the
Honeybourne line near Winchcombe. The show moved on to the central wales
line and also included (as a diversion for the evening) a barge trip up the
Worcester to Birmingham canal. Peter also covered many aspects of humorous
stories and facts that were picked up during his travels. Part two of the
evening seen the then young lad and his excellent camera skills travel to
Scotland photographing A4 Pacific’s at Aberdeen, and many other north of the
border locations. Then onto London sheds such as Nine Elms photographing
many types of Southern steam locos including Bullied Pacific’s. Also by the
late 1960’s Peter saved up money to go on rail tours to the then Cold War
era West Germany taking excellent line side photos that also included
Deutsche Bundesbahn Round House loco depots that were full of steam
traction, steam continued service in West Germany until 1977. The speaker
ended the evenings show with fantastic colour slides of the final days of
steam over Shap summit in Cumbria,
and then a final look at his travels over the old Waverly route now closed,
but the subject of future re-opening or preservation in some sections, as it
has also recently re-opened from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank. Mr Kelsey
gave the speaker a vote of thanks, and particulary noted Peters excellent
photography, and the pleasure it was for the Society to view such an
interesting slide archive.
|Thursday 10th March 2016|
Thursday 10th March 2016 meeting was very well attended, with approximately
70 members attending. Speaker Rich Kelsey and Pilot Dave Lamb took us on an
illustrated visual journey titled: The River Severn from the Air. The
pictorial show highlighted the topography of the fascinating Severn
landscape from source to sea. It featured the Severn Valley Railway and the
Severn Bore and weather events along its journey, also including floods and
the 1963 big freeze, to name but a few areas covered. This show was also a
fund raiser for the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA). The show started
with a five minute overview of SARA by Deryck Pritchard who is their
Fundraising Officer, he discussed how they operate and save lives as a
registered charity. The main show was divided into 2 parts geographically,
the first part being Plynlimon to Worcester and the second part from
Tewksbury to just beyond the Severn Bridges. The speaker started off with
how the photography project started in 2010. Rich and Dave discussed the
hours flown and the types of Aircraft that were used from Cessna 152
Aerobat’s to the trusty Piper PA28 work horse! flying from Kemble and
Staverton airfields. All aspects of the Severn were covered in visual detail
from the Plynlimon summit to the Severn Bore and its daring ‘surfers’.
Mr Kelsey also covered many aspects of humorous stories and historical facts
and tales that were picked up during the project. The River Severn (in Welsh
can be known as: The Afon Hafren, or even in Latin: Sabrina) it is the
longest river in the United Kingdom, at about 220 miles. It rises at an
altitude of 2,001 feet on Plynlimon, close to the Powys border near
Llanidloes, in the Cambrian Mountains. It then flows through Shropshire,
Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, with the county towns of Shrewsbury,
Worcester and Gloucester on its banks. The Severn is the greatest river in
terms of danger and volume of water flow in England and Wales. The six main
weirs and lock systems from Lincombe to Maisemore, were also photographed in
detail, and brought about much interesting discussion. The speaker showed
his trade mark ‘night photography’ skills showing the river at Worcester in
flood on a Christmas 2012 evening. Mr Kelsey noted that he used a few photos
taken by other authors (one being Peter Ireland) to show the Tewksbury
floods of 2007 when the river came perilously close to his family home. The
Ironbridge Gorge and Severn Valley were also covered in detail from air and
land, using high resolution aerial photography to also describe the Wyre
Forest area to name but a few. Richard also noted that the River is usually
considered to become the Severn Estuary after the Second Severn Crossing
between Severn Beach Sudbrook, Monmouthshire. The river then discharges into
the Bristol Channel and then ultimately the wider Atlantic Ocean. The final
photos of the evening were a series of sunsets from Aust to Sharpness. At
the end of the evening a donation was given to SARA via Mr
Pritchard. This donation also included Society funds from a previous show by
Mr Woollard. Ian Thomas did the usual society vote of thanks and brought the
fantastic evening to an end.
|Thursday 11th February 2016|
Thursday 11th February 2016 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Paul
Woollard presented a pictorial show of Steam and Diesel Locomotives in the
Gloucestershire Landscape and beyond - through the seasons. The show began
with Paul talking about his love of the dramatic landscape’s and
photography. Paul’s work is often published in railway magazines, and is of
a very high quality, showing trains in such landscapes. The show encompassed
this mainly in the Severn Estuary area. All types of rail traction were
covered, that included preserved steam and diesel locomotives. Paul’s
dedication and planning showed that along with patience and careful use of
natural lighting, the photographer could always produce an excellent
photograph. The photographer also discussed the changing rail scene over the
past years. Paul not only produced an excellent two part presentation
visually, he also kept members amused with anecdotes and humours stories
that related too many of his shots. The show moved through the seasons by
monthly steps starting with dramatic snow and frost scenes in January.
Quarter of the way through the year, seen the speaker and friend’s travel
abroad to take absolutely stunning photographs of trains mainly in the
French southern Alpine and Coastal regions. This included both freight and
passenger trains crossing breath taking viaducts and bridges, one shot
included the famous steel constructed Garabit Viaduct designed by A Eifel
(opened in 1885). Part two of Pauls show also included a railway photo
charter evening on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway; this
finally drew the evenings show to a close with some excellent sunset and
steam locomotive silhouette’s. At the end of the evening a question and
answer session was held, and the speaker was thanked by Mr Kelsey.
|Thursday 14th January 2016|
Thursday 14th January 2016 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Group
Captain Jock Heron OBE gave an illustrated talk titled The Birth of the RAF
‘MRCA Panavia’ Tornado, the show started with a look in detail at its pre
design history. In the 1960s, aeronautical designers looked to
variable-geometry wing designs to gain the manoeuvrability and efficient
cruise of straight wings with the speed of swept wing designs. The United
Kingdom had cancelled the procurement of the TSR-2 and subsequent F-111
aircraft, and was still looking for a replacement for its Avro Vulcan and
Blackburn Buccaneer strike aircraft. Britain and France had initiated the
AFVG (Anglo French Variable Geometry) project in 1965, but this had ended
with French withdrawal in 1967. In 1968 West Germany, the Netherlands,
Belgium, Italy and Canada formed a working group to examine replacements for
the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, initially called the Multi Role Combat
Aircraft (MRCA). Britain joined this group in late 1968, represented by Air
Vice-Marshal Michael Giddings, and a memorandum of agreement was drafted
between Britain, West Germany, and Italy in 1969. Around this time four
partner nations United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, agreed
to form a multinational company named Panavia Aircraft GmbH, to develop and
manufacture the new MRCA. Jock Heron and other RAF/MOD personnel assisted in
the design programme mainly with cockpit layout and operation that also
included many other aspects of this new design. A separate multinational
company, Turbo-Union, was formed in June 1970 to develop and build the RB199
engines for the aircraft, with ownership similarly split 40% Rolls-Royce,
40% MTU, and 20% FIAT. The prototype RB199 engine was put through its paces
in flight under an Avro Vulcan used as a test bed. The first of more than a
dozen Tornado (as now RAF named) prototypes took flight on 14 August 1974 at
Manching, Germany. The trials proved successful, although some of these
early prototype aircraft were lost - mainly via pilot error. The contract
for the Batch 1 aircraft was signed on 29 July 1976. And so the first
Tornados were delivered to the RAF and German Air Force in June 1979. The
first Italian Tornado was delivered in September 1981. Production came to a
final end in 1998, the last batch of aircraft being produced going to the
Royal Saudi Air Force, who ordered a total of 96 Tornado’s. Worth noting is
that in June 2011, it was announced that the RAF's Tornado fleet had flown
collectively over one million flying hours. "The Panavia Consortium produced
just short of 1,000 Tornados, making it one of the most successful post war
Western Europe bomber programs". At the end of the evening a question and
answer session was held, and finally the speaker was thanked by Mr Kelsey,
also a donation from our Society to the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust was made.
|Thursday 10th December 2015|
Thursday 10th December 2015 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Graham
Hobbs gave an illustrated talk titled The Sapperton Canal Tunnel, the talk
looked at its construction which began in 1783, and the speaker described
with interesting and humorous stories how the tunnel was hewn by hand from
the rock and clay of the Cotswolds. When built it was the longest canal
tunnel in Britain. On 17th April 1783, the Thames & Severn Canal Act was
passed. Work on the tunnel commenced in October 1783 and took five and a
half years to complete. Robert Whitworth (1734-99) was the Chief engineering
consultant to the Thames & Severn Canal Company. The tunnel is 3.5km long
and is located at the canal's summit. It has no towpath. Boats were moved
along by the crew, who lay on their backs and propelled it with their feet
by pushing against the tunnel roof. It is much wider than earlier canal
tunnels, which were built for narrow boats, and could accommodate the larger
Thames barges. It has a horseshoe cross-section, 4.6m wide and 4.7m high,
with the crown of the roof 3.1m above water level. To construct the tunnel,
26 access shafts, 2.4m in diameter, were sunk (small bore tunnels, just
large enough for a standing man) were also dug in both directions from each
shaft and in one direction from the portals. The headings were joined
together and the whole alignment checked. Then the tunnel was excavated to
full bore by hand, with gunpowder used for rock blasting. The soil and rocks
was removed through the shafts and portals, and deposited nearby. Eventually
on 20th April 1789, the first vessel passed through the tunnel. Despite a
slight bend in the middle, it is straight enough to be able to see through
from one end to the other (when there were no blockages). At the time of its
construction, and until 1811, the tunnel was the longest in Britain. Over
the years, the canal was drained frequently for repairs. This allowed the
clay lining to dry out and crack. By the mid-19th century, it was reported
that the tunnel's width was reduced to 3.6m in some places. In around 1904,
to combat the ingress of water, vulnerable sections of the tunnel were lined
with concrete, with outlets provided for the springs to discharge into the
canal above the water line. On 11th May 1911, the last official barge passed
through the tunnel. And by 1916 roof falls had made is impassable to
navigation. Then the Thames & Severn Canal was abandoned in stages from 1927
to 1933. However In June 1952, the Coates & Daneway Portal was Grade II
listed. A more modern survey in November 2008 found that at least 450m of
tunnel including the two main areas of roof collapses will require
reconstruction and relining for future preservation. The central section, in
particular, is deteriorating. In the future the canal trust plan to renovate
and open the tunnel for barges, the re-opened canal could also be
potentially used to move large volumes of water for domestic use. At the end
of the evening the speaker was thanked, and also a donation from our Society
to the Cotswold Canal Trust was made.
|Thursday 12th November 2015|
Thursday 12th November 2015 meeting was very well attended.
Vince Robertson gave an illustrated talk titled: Behind the Frontline - RAF
Ops in the Cold War. Vince began his illustrated talk focusing briefly on
his early RAF Pilot years Flying Vulcan's for the ‘V’ Force with Blue Steel
stand-off nuclear missile’s (these weapons were affectionately nick-named A
Bucket of Sunshine). For many reasons the speaker was chosen for special
operations surveillance duties, being based in West Berlin. He was attached
to The British Commanders'-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany
(BRIXMIS); this was a military liaison mission which existed to operate
behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, during the Cold War. BRIXMIS
existed from 1946 after the end of the Second World War – until the eve of
the reunification of Germany in 1990. Created by an agreement to exchange
military missions, the stated object of BRIXMIS – and the Soviet equivalent
in the British Zone, SOXMIS – was "to maintain Liaison between the Staff of
the two Commanders-in-Chief and their Military Governments in the Zones".
This liaison was undertaken by approximately 60 British staff. This liaison
staffs were issued passes allowing freedom of travel and circulation, with
the exception of certain restricted areas, within each other's zone. Such
"tours", as they became known, were conducted in uniform and in clearly
identifiable vehicles. Nevertheless the liaison role also presented an ideal
opportunity for the gathering of military intelligence through
reconnaissance and surveillance. This opportunity was fully exploited by
both sides. The British Mission comprised members of the British Army, Royal
Navy and Royal Air Force who conducted uniformed liaison activities in
marked cars and Chipmunk light aircraft. The British contingent used Opel
cars mainly converted to four-wheel drive in the UK. However, the
operational need for a vehicle with a higher degree of cross-country
performance led them to acquire a number of extensively modified Range-Rover
vehicles. These proved to be difficult to maintain in West Berlin due to
availability of spares. So they acquired a single Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Geländewagen as the general tour vehicle, and later in various models, they
lasted in service until they ceased operations in 1990. The vehicles
sometimes sustained heavy damage from being aggressively chased and rammed
by Soviet and DDR Police vehicles! Also a De Havilland Chipmunk T10 was used
for photo-reconnaissance missions under the Potsdam Agreement to use the
airspace over West and East Berlin, as well as the air corridors to and from
West Germany to the city. A total of two Chipmunks were based at RAF Gatow
and RAF aircrew (that included Vince) was posted to BRIXMIS and had access
to them for the conduct of photographic reconnaissance flights often using
Nikon Cameras and 1000mm telephoto Lens’s that captured images on Black &
White film. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, the mission was stood
down; however one of the Chipmunks is still in RAF service with the Battle
of Britain Memorial Flight.
|Thursday 8th October 2015|
Thursday 8th October 2015 meeting was very well attended.
Dennis Cartwright gave an illustrated talk titled: Isambard Kingdom Brunel –
‘The Great Railway Engineer’ which focused on the life and times of this
versatile 19th Century Engineer, remembered for his construction of tunnels,
bridges and viaducts for the Great Western Railway.
Brunel was one of the most
versatile engineers of the 19th century, responsible for the design of many
tunnels, bridges, railway lines and ships, leaving the design of the GWR
locomotives to his trusted motive power design engineer Sir Daniel Gooch.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born on 9 April 1806 in Portsmouth. His
father Mark was a French engineer who had fled France during the revolution.
Brunel was educated both in England and in France. When he returned to
England he went to work for his father. Brunel's first notable achievement
was in planning the Thames Tunnel from Rotherhithe to Wapping. The work for
which Brunel is probably best remembered is his construction of a network of
tunnels, bridges and viaducts for the originally intended 7ft broad gauge
Great Western Railway. In 1833, he was appointed as their chief engineer and
work began on the line from London to Bristol. Achievements during its
construction included the viaducts at Hanwell and Chippenham, the Maidenhead
low arched Bridge, also Box Tunnel – that during its construction killed up
to 100 workers. Brunel is noted for introducing the broad gauge in place of
the now in place standard gauge on this line. While working on the line from
Swindon to Gloucester and South Wales he devised the combination of tubular,
suspension and truss bridge to cross the River Wye at Chepstow. This design
was further improved for his famous bridge over the Tamar at Saltash at
Plymouth. He also pioneered a single track atmospheric railway from Exeter
to Newton Abbot, that he intended to free up locomotives and use a vacuum
propulsion cylinder in a leather sealed tube in between the track, this
proved problematic as it was always under attack from rats and sea water.
Brunel was also responsible for the design of several famous ships. The
'Great Western' launched in 1837, and the 'Great Britain', launched in 1843,
this was the world's first iron-hulled, screw propeller-driven,
steam-powered passenger liner. The 'Great Eastern', launched in 1859 was
designed along with John Scott Russell, and was the biggest ship ever built
at that time, but was not commercially a success and proved difficult to
launch. Brunel died of a stroke on 15 September 1859. The speaker ended his
talk with an illustrated show that included all railway gauges of the world.
|Thursday 14th May 2015|
Thursday 14th May 2015 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Richard Summers presented an illustrated talk titled: The Glos’ and Warks’ Railway – Part 2 Looking to Broadway & Beyond, this show covered the future of the preserved heritage line since the 2012 re-opening following the railway’s dramatic recovery from its major land slip disaster, including its Bridges to Broadway charity appeal.
The evening talk began with a recap on how the heritage line came into existence, and then set about purchasing the Cheltenham to Broadway track bed from British Rail in 1983. The Heritage line became operational between Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington in 2001. The speaker also explained the costs and infrastructure required to run a tourist heritage line. In 2005 track was being laid northwards towards Broadway, and so the new extension commences! This included track being laid across the Stanway Viaduct. In November of 2005 an engineering train becomes the first train to cross the viaduct since 1979. The 'Bridges to Broadway' Share Offer was launched in 2013 at Broadway station, then holding out the promise that work will commence on the final two miles from Laverton to Broadway. The main contract for some of the engineering work required was placed in 2014, mainly for refurbishment of the five bridges between Laverton and Broadway. Also in 2014 the Bridges to Broadway share issue passed the £400,000 mark. Mr Summers also explained the issues and further costs that are needed to be dealt with to enable the lines infrastructure to get to Broadway hopefully by 2018. A good use of aerial shots (taken by Mr Kelsey and Pilot flying Ace – Dave Lamb of Wings & Wheels) were used to explain the huge amount of work that is still needed to reach the railways goal. Also the speaker explained the railways current thinking on the Broadway to Honeybourne extension, the Heritage railway do not own this final section of track bed, and future plans for extension of the line will be seriously considered once Broadway is reached, the costs of this final extension are currently estimated at £10 million just to start with! After a question and answer session, Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. Also a donation was made by the Society to The Bridges to Broadway appeal fund.
|Thursday 9th April 2015|
Thursday 9th April 2015 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Richard
Osler gave an illustrated talk titled: Midnight Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in
Sweden, the illustrated talk focused on his flying adventure that was
completed with 3 Pilots & friends; flying a PA28 and a Micro light EV-97
Aircraft from the UK to the Arctic Circle via France Holland Germany Sweden
and Finland. The speaker started with details about the huge amount of
planning and preparation that went into this flying adventure of a lifetime.
The three pilots would endure 5 days of flying on the outward leg to get to
their destination named Pajala in Northern Sweden, close to the border with
Finland. The EV-97 flight started from Oaksey Park in Gloucestershire, along
with a PA28 that was also used to carry the pilot’s baggage! The adventure
really began after they had flown across parts of Holland and Germany, with
many stops on the route to refresh and refuel. When flying across large
areas of sea Richard explained that they all had to wear immersion suits as
a legal safety precaution. Many flying clubs in Sweden were visited, and
overnight stops saw the pilots staying in some very friendly and well
equipped lodges, which in most cases were flying club owned. One in
Falkoping and another in Tierp that was an ex Saab Viggen base in Sweden to
name just a few. When the final destination at Pajala (Northern Sweden) was
reached the pilots all had a chance to fly in the late evening with the sun
setting just after midnight! This far north also sees the Sunrise by 2am as
summer in the Arctic Circle has very short nights. So after 3 days of
touring with friends in the Arctic Circle that also included flying in other
aircraft types - such as Czech built EuroStar light aircraft it was time to
fly back to the UK, via Germany and Denmark. On the return leg of the
adventure the weather worsened, and the EV-97 struggled to return to Oaksey
Park – but all ended well and they finally arrived home after completing a
marathon 43 hours logged flying time in the EV-97. After a question and
answer session, Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks
to the speaker.
|Thursday 12th March 2015|
Thursday 12th March 2015 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Ian Thomas
gave an illustrated talk titled Mallard and the Gresley’s A4 Pacific’s -
streamlined steam of the 1930’s. The A4 Pacific’s were a powerful 3 Cylinder
4-6-2 steam locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley for the LNER in 1935.
Their design gave them high-speed capability as well as making them
instantly recognisable, one of the class 4468 Mallard, holds the world
record as the fastest steam locomotive in 1938 at 126mph. Thirty-five of the
class were built to haul express trains on the East Coast Main Line route
from London Kings Cross via York and Newcastle to Edinburgh. They remained
in service on the East Coast Main Line until the early 1960s when they were
replaced by Class 55 Deltic diesel locomotives. Several A4s saw out their
remaining days until 1966 in Scotland, particularly on the Aberdeen -
Glasgow express trains, for which they were used to improve the timing from
3.5 to 3 hours. The A4’s were introduced in 1935 to haul a new streamlined
train called the Silver Jubilee to run between London King's Cross and
Newcastle. The new service was named after the 25th year of King George V's
reign. During a visit to Germany in 1933, Gresley had been inspired by the
high-speed streamlined "Flying Hamburger" diesel trains, and the LNER had
considered purchasing similar trains for use from London to Newcastle.
However, the diesel units of the time did not have the desired passenger
carrying capacity and the investment in the new technology was prohibitive.
Gresley was sure that steam could do the job and so following trials in 1935
with an A4 Pacific recorded a new maximum speed of 108 mph (prior to 1938),
and completed the journey in under four hours. During a press run to
publicise the service Silver Link twice achieved a speed of 112.5 mph (also
prior to 1938), breaking the British speed record and sustained an average
of 100 mph, over a distance of 43 miles. Following this success, other
streamlined services were introduced: the Coronation (London-Edinburgh, July
1937) and the West Riding Limited (Bradford & Leeds-London & return,
November 1937) for which more A4s were specially built. Unknown facts about
the A4’s were also discussed, including the streamlining side valances which
were designed by Oliver Bulleid, but were removed during the War to improve
access to the valve gear for maintenance. Six of the locomotives have been
preserved; four of them are in the U.K and have run on the BR main lines at
some point during their preservation career. Another two have been preserved
in the U.S.A and Canada, rather appropriately due to their names. Both North
American-based A4s were moved to the NRM York in late 2012 on loan as part
of the NRM's 2013 celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Mallard breaking
the world speed record for steam in 1938. The speaker also covered the 95mph
run behind Bittern in 2013, from Newcastle to York by Pathfinder tours. Mr
Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 12th February 2015|
Thursday 12th February 2015 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Chris
Bigg give an illustrated Aviation talk titled ‘Project Cancelled’, which
focused on past abandoned post war aviation prototype Projects such as the
supersonic BAC TSR2 and the Saunders-Rowe Princess flying boat. The first
abandoned projects that were discussed were the Luftwaffe flying wing jet
and rocket plane research projects from the 1930’s. Also covered in
technical detail was the UK post war supersonic jet named the M.52 that was
being developed at the Miles Aircraft Company. However later that year, the
Air Ministry signed an agreement with the United States to exchange
high-speed research data. The USA Bell Aircraft company was given access to
the Miles drawings and research on the M.52 but the U.S. reneged on the
agreement and no data was forthcoming in return. Unknown to Miles, Bell had
already started construction of a supersonic design of their own the X-1;
this in many ways looked similar to the cancelled M.52. Chris discussed many
other planes including the Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 fighter prototype, this was
one of the world's first jet-powered flying boats, also the Saunders-Roe
Princess flying boat was discussed with Chris showing many images of this
beautifully styled machine, but the age of the flying-boat was over and the
two other examples to be completed were never flown. Helicopters were then
discussed - The Fairey Rotodyne was a 1950s British compound gyroplane
designed and built by Fairey Aviation and was intended for commercial and
military applications. The Rotodyne featured a tip-jet powered rotor that
burned a mixture of fuel and compressed air bled from wing-mounted Napier
Eland turboprops. A total of one prototype was built. Although promising in
concept and successful in trials, this program was eventually cancelled. The
termination was attributed to the type failing to attract commercial orders;
this was in part due to the high levels of rotor tip-jet noise. Development
was government funded; politics had also played a role in the lack of
orders, which ultimately seen the project cancelled. This lead to the
speaker’s tribute covering in depth the BAC TSR-2 that was the victim of
ever-rising costs and inter-service squabbling over Britain's future defence
needs, which finally led to the controversial decision to scrap the
programme in 1965. With the election of a new government the TSR-2 was
cancelled due to rising costs, in favour of purchasing an adapted version of
the F-111, a decision that itself was later rescinded as costs and
development times spiralled out of control. Eventually, the smaller
swing-wing Panavia Tornado (similar to the previously cancelled Avro AFVG
aircraft) was developed and adopted by a European consortium to fulfil
broadly similar requirements to the TSR-2.
Many other prototypes and ‘what may have been’ aircraft including the
controversial Nimrod AEW3 were discussed through the evening. The show ended
with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 8th January 2015|
Thursday 8th January 2015 meeting was well attended. Guest speaker Duncan
Willoughby gave a fascinating in-depth illustrated talk on space travel and
rocketry past to present. The timeline of space flight was discussed from
German V2 Rockets designed at Peenemünde (now part of Poland) by Nazi
Wernher von Braun. Also the famous USSR 1960’s Vostok Russian Rocket design
chief Sergei Korolev was also covered. The first manned spacecraft was
Vostok 1, which carried Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961
completing a full Earth orbit. The second manned spacecraft was from NASA
named Freedom 7, it performed a sub-orbital spaceflight later in 1961
carrying American astronaut Alan Shepard to an altitude of over 187
kilometres. There were five other manned missions using Mercury spacecraft.
Other Soviet manned spacecraft include the Voskhod, Soyuz, and the Salyut
and Mir manned space stations. Other American manned spacecraft include the
Gemini, and Apollo Spacecraft for the Moon Landings, the Skylab space
station, and the Space Shuttle for various missions including the Hubble
space telescope and supply flights to the International Space Station, that
has been manned since November 2000, being a joint venture between Russia,
the United States, Canada and several other countries. The future of space
flight also covered vehicles to take us to Mars and even land on Asteroid’s,
and the Moon. Also covered were private enterprises such as Virgin Galactic
and its space port. Boeing also is designing rockets, whilst the Europeans
are designing a 4,000mph hyper sonic space plane named the Skylon. Also
faster than the speed of light ‘Warp Drive Systems’ have begun to be studied
as preliminary research by NASA engineers. Since 1961 just over 530 humans
have been into space, with only 12 of these landing on the Moon. However it
now seems that the Chinese (closely followed by India) will be the next new
pioneers of space. The second part of the evening Astronomers Martin Sinton
& Ian Smith (of
www.camanddursleyastronomyclub.co.uk) did a talk on local Astronomy;
although the evening sky was not clear they allowed members to look at their
powerful telescopes. Martin and Ian showed members their own recent taken
images of the Cosmos, such as the Pleiades and Orion Nebula, also including
fantastic shots of the recently viewable Comet Lovejoy. They also
demonstrated software for viewing the solar system ‘as – Live Stargazing’
this can be downloaded as free from
.The show ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 11th December 2014|
Thursday 11th December 2014 meeting was very well attended.
Speaker Paul Barnett’s second in the trilogy of talks regarding the long
since abandoned hulks of the River Severn, Lydney’s Lost Fleet, including
The Lydney Ships Graveyard. This illustrated show transported us from the
hustle and bustle of a 1930s working dock, mainly engaged in the
transhipment of Forest steam coal, though to its eventual decline in the
1960s and recent rebirth as a sailing and tourism attraction of the Severn
Estuary. Present day Visitors to the nearby foreshore would be forgiven for
not noticing that the river bank is the last known resting place of some
twenty one trows and river going barges, that were previously constructed
all over the UK. Sadly like the dock, the foreshore is now devoid of this
once proud fleet, abandoned to the constantly shifting coastline. Little now
remains the odd timber here and some twisted iron ship parts still visible.
However with the use of a recently rediscovered historic archive’s and
images dating back to the early 1930s, Paul was been able to recreate a
comprehensive timeline to illustrate individual craft, their early
abandonment and current remains following decades of destruction. Pauls
fantastic archive of these old black and white photos mixed with present day
pictures – really brought the past historic story to life in detail. Society
Members enjoyed photos of the ships including their previous trips into
areas such as the central Bristol Harbour basin mainly in the 1930’s (e.g.
like the famous Welsh Back). Paul also covered some very humorous true
stories about harbour and boat people
that also linked us to the past business
practices of this once busy dock, that included use of the Lydney
Coal tipper (from railway trucks to vessels) as a diving competition tower!
The show ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 13th November 2014|
Thursday 13th November 2014 meeting was very well attended.
Speaker Ian Thomas presented an illustrated show titled ‘The Phoenix from
the ashes – Coaley Junction to Cam & Dursley Station’ this was a truly
colourful pictorial history celebrating 20 years of the new Cam & Dursley
station. The show also included a glance back into the past days of steam on
the Dursley Branch Line and Coaley Junction. Relevant photos and memorabilia
were also brought along for display by Society Members. The first part of
the show focused on the history - Coaley Junction station originally named
Dursley Road opened to passengers in Sept 1856, the passenger service was
withdrawn in Sept 1962. Thirty years later in 1992 a Phoenix from the ashes
arrives known as CoJAC (Coaley Junction Action Committee). By 1994 this
committee had worked so hard that the re-opening of a new station took its
first passengers in May of that year – Well Done to CoJAC! The group was the
brain child of Dr Clive Mowforth; other active Founder members of the
committee were Rob Harris, Ian Thomas, Ken Hall and Harry Atkinson, later
joined by Richard Spencer. To date approximately 1.8 Million Passengers have
used the new station so far. Part 2 of the evenings show seen Coaley
Junction to Cam and Dursley through the decades, from the 1970 & 80’s
British Rail Corporate Blue days, through to Privatisation in the 1990’s,
finishing with a mix of recent Heritage Diesel and Steam traction locomotive
hauled specials passing through the new station that included Engine types
such as Deltic, Western, Peaks, SR Bullied Pacific’s and an ex LMS Black
Five to name but a few. The show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 9th October 2014|
Thursday 9th October 2014 meeting was well attended. Speaker Group Captain
Ken Parfitt gave an illustrated talk titled: Bomber Command. The talk was
about his varied career in the Royal Air Force, as a Pathfinder Squadron
Navigator in Avro Lancaster’s during World War Two. The talk began with Ken
joining the Home guard in 1940 at the age of 16. Later he went on to join
the ATC, and then studied at Glasgow University Air Squadron mainly to train
as a pilot. After 40 hours of flying Tiger Moth aircraft he was called up
for active service. He was selected for the RAF, and due to his past studies
in Flight and Astronomy was chosen to be trained as a Navigator in Winnipeg
Canada. Early days of training were in Mk2 Avro Anson’s (normally night
flying). On returning to the UK and completing the training his first tour
of duty came with 61 Squadron, that seen many Avro Lancaster’s attacking
Nazi war machine targets, including his first trip over the Dortmund Ems
canals. Part of the Bomber Boys uniform consisted of a painted over button
that actually was a mini compass this could be put together with a magnetic
needle from a special issue comb, also a basic silk map of Europe was
concealed in the uniforms lapel, this was to aid the bomber crew’s if ending
up in enemy territory - to escape. Fortunately Ken never had to use this.
Near the end of the conflict Ken had lost many brave colleagues as lots of
Lancaster bombers were hit or shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire. Near
the end of the war whilst escorting the famous ‘617 Dam Buster Squadron’ to
destroy German submarine pens at Bordeaux, Ken and his crews Lancaster was
badly damaged by his
close friends Bomber that took a direct hit by the enemy, sadly exploding
whilst flying in close formation with them. This seen Ken’s Lancaster (badly
damaged) struggle back to England escorted by a Pathfinder Mosquito
aircraft. The crew later found out that 182 metallic bits of his colleague’s
aircraft were lodged in their Lancaster. At the end of the war the speaker
had completed 27 missions. The show ended with a question and answer
session. Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker. Also in the evenings show Wings and Wheels
presented a charity donation to Tony Eve Chairman & Secretary of the RAFA
Dursley & South Gloucestershire Branch.
|Thursday 8th May 2014|
Thursday 8th May 2014 meeting was well attended. Speaker Ian Thomas gave an
illustrated talk titled ‘Winter Steam in the Harz Mountains’. The talk
covered most aspects of his rail trip from Gloucestershire to Germany. The
show started at London St Pancras station, and Ian discussed the various new
high speed Inter City (ICE) trains that took them, via Cologne, to their
destination in the Harz Mountain region of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. The
town of Wernigorode was Ian and Jill Thomas’s base for their winter
adventure. From here they visited the Brocken summit (an Ex-Soviet East
German listening post) at 3,734ft by metre gauge steam traction. With
freezing weather and deep snow Ian excelled in his photography! The Class 99
East German built 2-10-2 steam locomotives showed the relentless gradients
no mercy; Ian captured the atmosphere in many of his photographs, pleasing
the Society members. That same day another special organised rail tour
arrived at the summit with a ‘1918 built’ German Class 94 four axle’ mallet
steam locomotive, providing further fantastic photo opportunities. As well
as the Harz Mountain Railway, they visited the towns of Quedlinburg and
Goslar, and the City of Hanover using the Deutsche Bahn local rail network.
Society members were also entertained throughout the evening with many
humorous stories from the tour. The show ended with a question and answer
session. Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the
speaker. Also in the evenings show Wings and Wheels presented the Community
Centre Chairman John Hudson with a donation for the facility charity trust.
|Thursday 10th April 2014|
Thursday 10th April 2014 meeting was well attended. Speaker Ken Duffey gave
an illustrated talk titled ‘Russian Red Star Aviation Volume 3’. The show
consisted of high quality images taken on Ken’s recent visits to the Moscow
2012 and 2013 ‘MAKS’ Air shows, including the 100th year celebrations of the
Russian Air force. The talk also included a visit to Minsk world and other
Aviation Museums in China. The two part evening show began at the Moscow
international air show, seeing all types of Russian aviation manufacturer’s
fighter bomber and civil aircraft flown, that included the new Sukhoi T50
stealth fighter bomber, MIL38 helicopter and Mikoyan MiG 35 variant. Also
included were the RAF Red Arrows trailing Blue White and Red smoke! Guests
also included a Hawker Hurricane, and an Airbus A380 to name but a few.
Monino aviation museum and a visit to the Park of Economic Achievement to
look at Kolerov’s mighty (Pre-R7) Vostok Space Rocket on display were also
included. On to China and a visit to the Zhuhai Airshow with lots of
discussion - especially on the visiting foreign aircraft types, and then a
visit to at least 4 aviation museums. One of the museums visited in Beijing
have a P61 Black Widow and Harrier jump on display. Also included was a
visit to the Xiaotangshan museum were a Supermarine Spitfire and English
Electric Canberra was on show. The tour concluded with a visit to the ‘China
Minsk world’ that is actually a 41,000 ton ex-Soviet naval aircraft carrier.
The vessel is now a floating museum. Ken also entertained Society members
with many humorous stories of the air show and museum visits. Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks
to the speaker.
|Thursday 13th March 2014|
Thursday 13th March 2014 meeting was well attended. Speaker Paul Gregory
gave an illustrated talk on the History of The Weston Clevedon and
Portishead Railway. The talk covered many interesting facts and humorous
stories about this unusual privately owned standard gauge light railway,
which opened in 1897 and after a short life closed in 1940. The speaker
explained the history of the 14 mile route that had 19 stations, the
majority of which were small wooden shelters with very low and often no
platforms. These were ideal as the company rolling stock carriages that were
originally destined for Argentina had steps to ground level at each end. In
later years the WC&P Railway purchased seven second hand London Metropolitan
‘Craven Jubilee’ type carriages one of the four wheeled coaches (Met number
353) is preserved today. This was also used in the recent 2013 Metropolitan
Railway celebrations. The WC&P railway always struggled to make money, even
in later years when it was owned by the ‘Light Railway King’ Colonel H F
Stephens. The line also used many varieties of second hand locomotives which
included two LBSCR Stroudley Terrier Tank engines, which proved to be
reliable and popular with the foot plate crews. The line was also linked to
the GWR terminus at Clevedon by a rarely used tight curve, and later a goods
siding at Portishead. However throughout the line’s life the railway
remained as a stand-alone entity.
Very little of the railway exits today, however the WCPR Group (formed in
2006) aims to keep the memory alive. This is done via signage and
interpretation boards; they are also keen to preserve what items remain -
including track bed sections that still can be walked. The Groups website is
is worth viewing, especially the pictures of trains operating through the
middle of Clevedon High Street known as the Triangle.
The evening’s show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 13th February 2014|
Thursday 13th February 2014 meeting was well attended. Speaker Dennis
Cartwright gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Footplate Experiences in Four
Continents’. The talk covered his locomotive footplate experiences from
Steam to Diesel traction in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.
The speaker started the evenings show with tales of childhood
memories of steam in the East Midlands, spending time on the Great Central
Railway. Later in life on completion of his education Dennis was involved in
language teaching, and eventually worked for the British Council which is
the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and
cultural relations. During this time he also had the chance to indulge in
his passion for world travel and railways, often writing letters to foreign
railway companies asking for permission to ride on the footplate of various
locomotives. This lead to cab rides on many different types of engine, that
included a Slovakian Skoda works built ‘Kriegslok
copy’ 4-8-2 three cylinder steam locomotive, however this particular
footplate ride story involved the speaker being arrested by the then soviet
style secret police! The speaker showed many excellent pictures of steam
trains in Malaysia and Nigeria in the 1960’s and 70’s. Also included in the
his own detailed hand painted locomotive illustrations. The evening’s show
of world-wide travels ended in British Columbia, with a train journey from
Vancouver to Lillooet which is situated at 860ft above sea level by the
stunning 24km long Seton Lake, which is surrounded by mountains that soar to
greater than 2000 metres in height.
The evening’s show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 9th January 2014|
Thursday 9th January 2014 meeting was well attended. Speaker Julie West –
Guild of Railway Artists, gave an illustrated talk titled ‘A Life Time in
Art’. The talk covered the artist’s creative portfolio - ranging from steam
locomotives to wildlife, also including various aviation topics, and a
recent commissioned work for new build ‘Clan Class’ Locomotive 72010 Hengist.
The evenings talk first focused on how Julie began her career with school
and college of art courses in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, and how she
progressed to her first commission – a LMS ‘Black 5’ on the North Yorkshire
Moors Railway. Not long after this Julie and her husband Paul moved from the
north east to the south west. The members were treated to many humorous
stories including how a commissioned illustration of a shop in Shirehampton
came about. The artist also showed how she works through a commissioned
painting from sketches to an accurate drawing, then transferring this to a
canvas for painting and finishing. Various commissions were discussed in
detail that included a Avro Lancaster, PBY Catalina flying boat, and many
Railway commissioned works that varied from a Prototype English Electric
Deltic to railway scenes at Eckington, to name a few.
Julie also brought along many paintings from her portfolio that
highly impressed the society members, especially with the high level of
detail that was captured on each subject. Paul also discussed how they are
involved with different preserved steam locomotive groups mainly at
Toddington, which now includes the Kingmoor ‘Black Five 44901 Co Ltd’
The evening’s show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 12th December 2013|
Thursday 12th December 2013 meeting was well attended. ‘Boeing 747 Pilot’
Andy Davis, gave an illustrated talk titled Flying – Two Extremes.
The talk focused first on his career and lifelong love of flying, including
how he became a champion glider pilot. Andy started his flying career at the
age of 15, and did his first glider solo flight by the time he was 16 years
old. Some years later after Graduating from University with a Mathematics
degree in 1978 Andy started a BA/RAF pilot cadetship. After completing this,
and many hours of flying for various commercial companies Andy finally
joined British Airways in 1987 as an airline pilot. The talk covered much
technical detail of pre-flight and flight planning including all operational
work that is associated with being the Captain of a Boeing 747-400. Andy
interestingly compared this to the ownership of his current competition
glider a Jonker JS1-Reveleation Sailplane. Jonker ‘high performance’ gliders
are designed and manufactured in South Africa, and can be purchased with an
installed jet sustainer system (although Andy’s sailplane does not currently
have this feature installed). The speaker also entertained the society
members with many interesting facts and figures including humorous stories
related to the different types of flying. Andy now has flown thousands of
hours for British Airways, and similar hours in gliders since his mid-teens,
his dedication to pilot professionalism was clear throughout the talk.
The evenings show ended with an in-depth technical question and answer
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 14th November 2013|
Thursday 14th November 2013 meeting was well attended. Speaker
Ian Boskett gave an illustrated talk
titled ‘The History of the Ashchurch to Tewkesbury Railway’. The talk also
included the Upton on Severn and Evesham lines.
The evenings show focused mainly on the past
history of Ashchurch Station, originally opened by the Birmingham and
Gloucester Railway in June 1840, the original station was closed to the
public by 1971, the station remained derelict and was final re-opened in
1997 with new platforms. Nearby freight sidings on the site of the Evesham
branch still exist to this day for the Ashchurch MOD Army Storage base. The
old Ashchurch railway site in its day had three or more signal boxes, and a
connecting curve linking the Tewkesbury (and Upton on Severn to Malvern
line) to the Evesham branch. Ian also focused on the Tewkesbury line history
in great detail, covering the opening of the first Tewkesbury station in
1840 that was originally positioned near the High Street, on what was to
become the Quay branch line leading to the River Severn and the Healing’s
Mill buildings. This original station was closed in 1864 when a new much
larger station opened on the Ashchurch to Malvern line. Sadly the Malvern
line was closed beyond Upton on Severn in 1952. The final demise and closure
of the Ashchurch to Tewkesbury line came in August 1961. Fortunately Ian and
his Son Jack have collected many historic artefacts of the local railway
over the past years. This collection of past memorabilia is often used in
other local history talks and tours around Tewkesbury (by Ian) to keep the
story of the branch line alive. Also many humorous stories related to this
entertained the Society Members. Part two of the evenings show seen the
speaker and his son change from digital projection to transparencies. Colour
slides of the speakers past steam railway photo shoots around the UK, with
some being set up for private groups (photo charters) showed a very high
standard of photography, some of the pictures being published in railway
magazines and books.
The evenings show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 10th October 2013|
Thursday 10th October 2013 meeting was well attended. Speaker
Maurice Freeman DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) gave an in depth talk
titled Flying the Spitfire and Meteor Jet, the talk covered in detail his
experience of flying as a pilot officer for the Royal Air Force during World
The evenings show focused on
how Maurice joined the Empire pilot training scheme in Durban South Africa;
where he flew Tiger Moths and Harvard’s. After gaining his Pilot Officer
status he was posted to the Desert Airforce in the Middle East. There he
first flew Hurricane’s and Spitfires with roles such as seek and destroy
enemy infrastructure, which also included reconnaissance. Here he was posted
to 241 Squadron which was a mix of South African/New Zealand & Argentine
pilots who had much camaraderie. Later in the War Maurice was moved to the
Italian theatre of war, which seen him continue to fly Spitfires, even
surviving bailing out of one aircraft after being shot down over enemy
lines, this gained him a DFC. By the time the war ended Maurice was
Commanding Officer of 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron. He finished his Mediterranean
flying time transferring Spitfires Hurricanes and Mustangs to various
aircraft dumps in Northern Italy. Pre Demob Maurice ended up flying Gloster
Meteor F.4 Jets in the famous 74 (Tiger) Squadron at RAF Colerne. The
speaker entertained the members with many fascinating and humorous stories,
ending the evenings talk explaining how he crash landed a Meteor in a field
near Melksham whilst just missing a Bus!
The evenings show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 11th May 2013|
Thursday 9th May 2013 meeting was well attended. Speaker Peter
Strong gave an
illustrated talk titled Sudbrook & the Severn Railway Tunnel.
The evenings show focused on
the history of this epic engineering feat, and it’s Construction from 1873
to 1886. Peters talk also covered stories and facts about the contracting
company that completed the tunnel. The construction company was owned and
managed by Thomas Walker (a Victoria philanthropist and temperance movement
champion). Walker ensured his workers had good living accommodation (unlike
other Victorian railway navvy equivalents) seeing many of them settling in
Sudbrook village with there families. The speaker also covered the many
dangers that the contractors faced during construction, at worst these were
major flooding incidents that set back the project completion date to 1886.
When the tunnel was completed Walker still employed many of the construction
workers, at the Sudbrook Severn Tunnel pumping station and even a small
local shipyard. Walker also lived with his family near the village of
Sudbrook; some of the other major projects that he worked on are the
Canadian Grand Trunk Railway and the Manchester Ship Canal.
The evenings show ended with a question and answer session.
|Thursday 11th April 2013|
Thursday 11th April 2013 meeting was well attended. Speaker Rob
Rowland gave an illustrated talk titled: Railways in Art. The evenings show
focused on Rob’s career as an artist and illustrator, his love of railways,
and how he became a member of the Guild of Railway Artist’s. Rob discussed
how some of his railway paintings focus on the East Midlands, particularly
the ex Great Central Railway around Nottingham. This East Midlands area is
where the speaker was brought up in the 1950s and 1960s. The Artist also
enjoys illustrating industrial heritage scenes such as Canals and Waterways.
Rob also mainly paints images of steam locomotives and canals at dawn or
dusk, and night time. He also includes rain and snow to add atmosphere to
the subject matter. Also the artist discussed how he researches the scenes
in great detail, before painting many of his commissioned works. Rob also
discussed how moving to Gloucestershire gave him inspiration to paint many
local past scenes, such as the old Severn Railway Bridge, and Gloucester’s
level crossings such as the now non existent California and Barton street
gates, and their once operational Signal Boxes.
The evenings show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 14th March 2013|
Thursday 14th March 2013 meeting was very well attended. Before
the advertised evening’s speaker started his show, founder member Rich
Kelsey gave a brief presentation that covered the previous ten years of the
Wings and Wheels Society. The celebration talk looked at how and why the
Society was formed in 2003, with attendance numbers rising on a yearly
basis. Dave Lamb discussed the Society Web site that has many photo
galleries currently holding a total of 25,000 transport images taken around
the world by the Dursley Wings and Wheels members. Richard also discussed in
detail how the Society self finances its requirements, with remaining monies
going to local charities – mainly of the speakers or the founder membership
panel’s choice. The next programme of speakers was announced seeing the
Society well into 2014 and beyond. Founder members and society members
agreed that the eight evening shows a year (or programme) provide excellent
value and entertainment, with each talk being a unique event. Later in the
evening Speaker Ian Thomas gave an illustrated talk titled
The Last Years of Steam in Gloucestershire. The show consisted mainly of
Colour Rail and various local author transparencies. The speaker showed
mainly new found material covering the Thornbury, Nailsworth and Dursley
branch lines to name but a few. Also the Severn Railway Bridge, Forest of
Dean and the Stroud valley lines were covered in detail. The emphasis was on
the fifty years since the Dr Beeching report detailing closures and
efficiency savings that the British Rail board would implement. Members were
impressed with the speaker’s depth knowledge including many historic dates.
The evenings show ended with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 14th February 2013|
Thursday 14th February 2013 meeting was well attended. Speaker
Patrick Hassell gave a talk titled The History of the Variable Pitch
Propeller. The show started with a highly technical in-depth look at
principles of powered flight, which included the use of velocity graphs. The
speaker then described the history of this innovative and very important
Early pitch control settings were pilot operated, normally two-position or
manually variable. After
World War I, An improvement on the variable pitch propeller type was the
constant-speed propeller. Constant-speed propellers allow the pilot to
select a rotational speed for maximum engine power or maximum efficiency,
propeller governor acts as a closed-loop
controller to vary propeller pitch angle as required to maintain the
selected engine speed. In most aircraft this system is hydraulic, with
engine oil serving as the hydraulic fluid. However, electrically controlled
variable pitch propellers were developed during
World War II and saw extensive use on military aircraft. The hydraulic
method still remains common to this day, with propellers being manufactured
around the world, and locally at Staverton by Dowty Rotol. The evenings show
ended with a question and answer session, including a mention of how Patrick
ended up on television discussing various British aviation topics.
Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 10th January 2013|
Thursday 10th January 2013 meeting was well attended. Speaker
gave an illustrated talk titled Wings and Wheels of New Zealand. The evening
the speaker describing how the adventure holiday was planned and organised
by the British Aviation Enthusiasts Society – first travelling via Sydney
Australia and on to Auckland New Zealand for three weeks, and then finally
returning to the UK via Singapore. The main part of the tour started in the
North of New Zealand, visiting a few airfields that seen society members
enjoying many pleasure flights in various vintage aircraft such as DH Rapide,
Dove, DH Moth Minor, Percival Proctor. At Ardmore airfield flights in
Harvard’s, P40 Kitty Hawk, and a Lockheed Catalina PBY amphibian flying
boat, and DC3 were enjoyed. The Tour also took in many tourist spots
including the hot springs at Rotorua. Several RNZAF Bases were visited with
conducted tours, before crossing to the South Island. Making their way south
they called in at various aviation sites and museums where engineers are
renovating vintage aircraft, this also included ‘Omaka Field’ were WW1
original and replica aircraft are constructed. Members of the tour also
enjoyed Whale Watching at Kaikoura. The highlight of the visit was the
Biannual ‘Wanaka Airshow’ for a few days. This airshow is a family oriented
show combining vintage vehicles, steam engines, classic and modern aircraft,
with a stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Returning northwards an
arranged visit was made to Mount Cook Airfield, where all tour members took
to the air once again for a flight and ski plane landing on the Tasman
Glacier at 6,800ft before returning to the airport. Enthusiasts also
travelled on the Tranz Alpine express from Christchurch to Arthur’s pass
taking in stunning views of the National Park’s Mountain ranges. Also no
enthusiast’s trip would have been complete without a ride on New Zealand’s
privately owned steam railway - the famous Kingstown Flyer. Then it was time
to travel back to Auckland and return via South East Asia, visiting
Singapore for three days before returning to the U.K. The proceeds from this
Wings and Wheels show were donated to Dr Tony Dix of the Severn
Freewheelers, which are a NHS charity funded motorcycle courier group, used
for emergency transfer of blood between Hospitals. Tony also brought along
one of the ex police motorbikes that they use.
Dave Lamb gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 13th December 2012|
Thursday 13th December 2012 meeting was well attended. Speaker
Jack Boskett gave an illustrated talk titled Steam in the Landscape. The
show started with the speaker (aged 24) talking about his professional
career as a photographer-working freelance for clients, newspapers and
various railway companies, which includes the London Underground. The show
also covered preserved steam on the mainline and preserved railways over the
length and breadth of the British Isles, including the Isle of Man. More
local haunts covered were the Severn Valley, and the Gloucestershire and
Warwickshire Railway that Jack is involved with, this includes taking many
PR photographs for them. The High quality photographs impressed and
fascinated the members, especially the monochrome images. The speaker also
discussed some of his photography techniques and the planning that goes into
creating his high quality images, with using the minimum Photoshop editing
tools. A question and answer session followed the end of the evening’s
fantastic show. Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks
to the speaker.
|Thursday 8th November 2012|
Thursday 8th November 2012 meeting was well attended. Speakers
Martin Sinton and Ian Smith gave an illustrated talk titled Space Travel and
Astronomy Part 2. The evening comprised of three sections that seen Martin
giving an illustrated talk on Astronomical Perspective, and Flights to
Jupiter including its exploration. Many interesting facts and figures about
Jupiter were discussed such as the volume and mass of the planet, the gas
giant being the largest planet in our solar system. The composition of the
planet is mainly made up of liquid metallic hydrogen with a solid core. The
great red storm spot that is a permanent feature of the planet was also
discussed in detail. Not viewable from earth is a fine ring around the
planet similar to Jupiter’s ice rings; however this is made up of dust
particles. Jupiter also has many moons that were also covered; the largest
of these are visible with a telescope from earth they are Io, Europa,
Ganymede and Callisto. The evening also seen Ian Smith providing an
illustrated show discussing how he is studying Astro Photography, along with
some of his examples that included an impressive photograph of Jupiter. Ian
and Martin also brought along 2 highly powerful telescopes with them, they
were a 1200mm ‘focal length’ Dobsonian, and a
2000mm (mirror lens) Schmidt cassegrain.
Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 11th October 2012|
Thursday 11th October 2012 meeting was very
well attended. Speaker Chris Bigg gave an illustrated talk titled: Warbirds
of World War Two. The talk focused on historic and modern day colour images
of British and American 1940’s aircraft. The aviation images ranged from
American aircraft manufacturing propaganda advertisements, to British 1940’s
air to air aviation photography by Charles Brown. Chris’s own ground to air
modern day images was also of very high quality. Chris not only covered
technical details of many aircraft. The speaker also included details of
iconic aviation moments of the Second
World War such the RAF ‘Dambusters -
617 Squadron’ raid on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe Dams in May 1943. Also
discussed in detail was the USAF B29 Superfortress’s ‘Enola Gay & Bocks Car’
which both dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945,
leading to the end of World War Two. The evening ended with a question and
answer session. Mr Kelsey gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 10th May 2012|
Thursday 10th May 2012 meeting was very well attended. Speaker
Chris Witts gave an illustrated talk titled: My Life on the Severn. The talk
focused on Chris’s life long involvement with the Estuary, and his working
life on the Severn tanker Barges. Chris being the author of many books on
the Severn started the show with an overview of the estuary, including its
200-mile journey from the mountains of Plynlimon through the West Midlands
and finally into Gloucestershire. Chris discussed how as a young lad of 16
he worked his way up to skipper on the Severn Barges, ferrying petroleum
from Swansea to Gloucester. He focused on the humorous stories, characters
and the hard life, along with the long hour’s that merchant seaman life
required. His career as a Skipper lasted for more than 30 years. Chris also
worked on the famous named tanker The Wyesdale H (H standing for the company
of Harkers UK); this tanker was sister to the Wasdale H that was part of the
Severn Bridge disaster in October 1960, this vessel still lies on the Severn
Estuary bed near Purton. The speaker also showed TV footage of various
programmes he has taken part in - mainly focusing on the History of the
Severn, including footage of Chris taking a 250te grain barge from Tewksbury
to Sharpness in the 1990’s. The evening ended with a question and answer
session. Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the
speaker. Wings and Wheels also presented the Dursley Community Centre trust
a donation for the much needed facility repairs. Wings and Wheels
next meeting is on Thursday 11th October 2012 at 20.00hrs at
Dursley Community Centre, when speaker Chris Bigg will be giving an
illustrated talk titled: Warbirds of World War Two. The show will look at
many classic 1940’s aircraft then and now.
|Saturday 28th April 2012|
Saturday 28th April 2012 - The Dursley Wings and Wheels Society
visited the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway. Members were treated to
a behind the scenes tour of the locomotive and coach restoration workshops
at Toddington and Winchcombe. This visit was part of the Societies third
fund raising event for the ‘Glos and Warks’ Railway embankment disaster
appeal. After the visit founder members Rich Kelsey and Dave Lamb presented
the G&WR Director Glyn Cornish with a donation, to view the gallery from
this visit please click Here.
|Thursday 12th April 2012|
Thursday 12th April 2012 meeting was very well attended. Speakers
Rich Kelsey and Ian Thomas presented a show titled: The Last 30 Years of
British Rail and beyond ‘Vol2’. The talk focused mainly on the BR corporate
blue era, but also included a narrow gauge steam adventure in East Germany.
The Speakers also brought along memorabilia of there past exploits. Rich and
Ian with their respective shows covered the length and breath of the
country, including steam hauled excursions. Some of the steam hauled rail
tours included the Welsh Marches area, and the awesome Merchant Navy class
locomotive - Clan Line hauling one of the Salisbury to Yeovilton Junction
specials. Richard also showed slides of the CEGB nuclear fuel flask test
simulated 100mph crash with locomotive 46009 on 17th July
1984. Mr Kelsey’s
show ended with a steam hauled trip to Kurort Kipsdorf– formerly in the East
German province of Saxony. This visit to the Weisseritz Valley Railway was
in June 1994, the line then was not preserved, and ran steam hauled freight
and passenger trains with up to 4 or 5 locomotives in steam daily on the
750mm narrow gauge line. Part two of the evening was by Ian - travelling to
Essex (and beyond) behind English Electric Class 50 locomotives on various
railtours. Also various visits to Scotland and local shots with humorous
stories highly entertained the society members. Ian also showed some
transparencies taken by Gilroy Kerr; these slides were also highly
appreciated by the audience. The legendary ‘Vol2’ mammoth show finally
finished just after 10pm. Mr Lamb gave
a vote of thanks to the speakers.
|Thursday 8th March 2012|
Thursday 8th March 2012 meeting was well attended. Speaker Rich
Kelsey presented a show titled: Kemble to Duxford a Pictorial Flying Visit.
The show started with narration and photos of a couple of the authors recent
pleasure flights in vintage aircraft from Kemble airfield, this included a
flight in a Percival Prentice and a de Havilland Dominie, however these
flights were only ‘circuits’ taking in aerial views of Cirencester and its
locality. The main part of Richards show was a flight to Duxford and return
in the same day. Richard and his Pilot friend ‘flying ace’ Dave Lamb hired a
PA28 light aircraft for the mission; this aircraft enabled them to complete
the outward trip in just over an hour, cruising at 126mph at an altitude of
3,000ft. Once at Duxford they had four hours to visit the Imperial War
Museum hangers and workshops facilities – which they did. The show included
high quality photographs of the museums aircraft, along with discussions
about technical details and many humorous stories. Some of the aircraft
discussed included various types of Spitfires, Flying Fortress’s and an
in-depth look the world record breaking SR71 ‘Mach 3’ Blackbird. After the
museum visit the PA28 aircrew (Rich and Dave) climbed back into the cockpit
of the Kemble Flying School owned aircraft for the return journey, retracing
their steps which included flying over the massive R101 Airship Hangers at
Cardington. With the sun near to setting the intrepid duo did a final
circuit of Kemble airfield before making a perfect precision landing. The
show ended with a question and answer session, after this Mr Lamb gave
a vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 9th February 2012|
Thursday 9th February 2012 meeting was well attended.
The evening started with Wings and Wheels
presenting the Community Centre secretary Andy Cooper with a cheque from
Energy Solutions, previously ‘founder society member’ Mr Kelsey had
successfully negotiated this donation for funding to help the much-needed
repairs to the facility. Speaker Graham Hobbs presented a talk on the
history of the Thames and Severn canal companies Brimscombe Port from 1641
to 1965. The port history was a very
interesting one starting its hectic lifespan from the 1780’s when the
Stroudwater Navigation and Thames and Severn Canals linked. 150 years
previous early engineers dreamt of joining the Thames and Severn estuary’s.
It is also known that up to the mid 1750’s boats did carrying goods to
Stroud by using the river Frome, however a canal and port were needed to
bypass the many limitations. Graham also covered many interesting and
hilarious stories linked to the canal history, his research was also used to
author and publish a book focusing on the entire story of the port. Also
covered in detail were the types of boats that had been manufactured at
Brimscombe port, these included sail and steam powered vessels that seen
service in many countries around the world. The show ended with a question
and answer session, after this a vote of thanks
was given to the speaker.
|Thursday 12th January 201|
Thursday 12th January 2012 meeting was well attended. Speaker
Peter Berry presented an illustrated rail adventure to the Pakistan
Afghanistan border, titled ‘The Khyber Pass or bust’. In 2006 Peter and his
fellow railway photographer’s sought special permission from the Pakistan
government to hire their own train (including armed guards) to travel to the
North West Frontier. Permission was granted, so with the train being ‘push
and pulled’ by up to three oil fired 1925 HGS 2-8-0 Locomotives, they slowly
made there way up the 5ft gauge Khyber Pass Railway. These steam locomotives
were originally built at the Manchester Vulcan Foundry works by Kitson & Co.
The journey from Peshawar to Jamrud seen the train climb through rugged
mountain scenery; this included many set up ‘run pasts’ for the
photographers that hired the train. Peters excellent photography covered the
people and sights, as well as breath taking views of the Steam hauled train
working hard in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The highest point of the
line that still existed in 2006 was Landi Kotal at 3,900ft.
This is also the end of the line where the Khyber Pass railway
terminates in the Hindu Cush Mountains. The return journey from Landi Kotal
to Peshawar seen Peter riding on the engine, this was actually sitting in
front of the smoke box! The brave photographers enjoyed this dangerous
adventure so much they attempted to hire the train again in 2008, however
with the political climate constantly changing in Pakistan this has seen the
demise of the railway and its locomotives. At present the 31 miles of
railway track are now disused, with the engines and infrastructure being
plundered for scrap metal. The show ended with a question and answer
session, after this Mr Kelsey gave the vote of
thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 8th December 2011|
Thursday 8th December 2011 meeting was well attended. Chris Bigg
gave an illustrated talk titled ‘The Bristol Brabazon’. The show started
with an insight into Bristol aircraft manufacturing history, of which the
speaker has worked in for many years. After setting the scene Chris
discussed the origins of the Brabazon that started in World War Two. The
speaker also discussed in detail the construction of the massive hangers and
lengthening of the running for the prototype aircraft. This included
flattening the village of Charlton. On September 4th 1949 The
Brabazon Mk1 completed its first test flight, the eight-engine 230ft
wingspan prototype airliner reached a maximum speed of 250mph. For a further
two years flight testing continued, this seen the Brabazon fly as far north
as Prestwick and attend many Airshows. Sadly the aircraft was not fast
enough to cross the Atlantic Ocean as originally planned. However the second
(Mk2) prototype that would have been more powerful was nearly half way
through its construction when the project was cancelled. Both aircraft were
cut up for scrap in 1952, however the ambitious legacy of technical
achievement continues to this day at the Bristol Airbus and Rolls Royce
factories. The lengthened runway and massive Brabazon Aircraft Hangers
survive to this day. The show ended with a question and answer session,
after this. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to
|Thursday 10th November 2011|
Thursday 10th November 2011 meeting was well attended. Richard
Summers of the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway gave an illustrated
talk entitled ‘The Fall and Rise of the Honeybourne Line’. The show focused
on the History of the line from its opening in 1906, with trains running the
full length of the line from Honeybourne to Cheltenham. The route was
popular and well used, famous trains like ‘The Cornishman’ crossed its
metals regularly, however by the 1960’s the passenger usage was in decline.
In 1976 a serious freight train derailment, which involved embankment
subsidence brought about the demise and final closure of the line.
By 1978 the track bed and infrastructure had been lifted. Around this
time a Society was formed to preserve and finally re-opened the line. In
1983 the preservation group obtained a light railway order, and so a new
heritage railway was formed. By 1986 the group were running steam locomotive
hauled trains from Toddington to Winchcombe, and by 2003 the first official
train reached Cheltenham race course station. Despite many success’s the
last couple of years have brought disaster and near financial ruin to the
preserved line with two embankment disasters, however the preservation group
‘still intact’ persevere to run the railway in two halves, they have also
nearly completed laying the first northern section of track to Broadway. The
line is a testament to the hard work and dedication of its members,
including a total volunteer workforce. The show ended with a question and
answer session, after which Wings and Wheels presented the Gloucestershire
and Warwickshire Railway with a donation for the embankment disaster appeal.
Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 12th October 2011|
Thursday 13th October 2011 meeting was
well attended. Patrick Hassell gave an illustrated talk titled ‘The Bristol
Blenheim and Bolingbroke’. The show focused on the technical detail of the
design and development of these
famous second world war aircraft. Originally designed at the Filton Aircraft
factory, the first prototype aircraft flew in 1935 and achieved an
air speed of approximately
280mph. The aircraft originally flew under the name ‘Type 142M’ however the
UK Ministry of Defence named it the Blenheim, and subsequently the Royal
Canadian Air force named the same aircraft type the Bolingbroke. The
aircraft were used widely across the world in the theatre of war, including
the first strike against German Navy forces in the Elbe Estuary. Peter also
focused on Bolingbroke 9048 that after much negotiation was brought back to
Bristol from Canada via the USA. this
aircraft is currently undergoing
restoration (including its Bristol Mercury radial engines), by the Rolls
Royce Heritage Trust and eventually will be a museum exhibit. The show ended
with a question and answer session.
Mr Kelsey gave
the vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 12th May 2011|
Thursday 12th May 2011 meeting was well attended. Carl Roedling gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Woomera to Wales’. The show focused on the speakers RAF experiences (approximately 50 years ago) working with Rocketry and Guided Weapons systems. The evening’s show was split into two parts. Section one of the show, saw the author explain the work he did in the remote desert area of Woomera Australia. This involved the testing of various UK rockets and missiles, which included names such as Seawolf, Bloodhound and Bluesteel. Here they also gained experience on remote flying of many aircraft types including RAF Meteors and Canberra’s. Carl entertained the audience with humorous tales of various near disasters and mishaps, fortunately all of the RAF testing programme was a success. The speaker also covered the concept and design of the Jindivik, a remote controlled jet (drone), used for target testing. The second part of the show moved to Llandbedr in North Wales, where some of the RAF remote guided weapons systems testing programme was later moved to. The base in North Wales flew up to 7,000 successful Jindivik sorties before the base closed in 2004. The show ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker. At the end of the evening Wings and Wheels also presented a charity donation to the Community Centre trust via manager Jane Ball.
|Thursday 14th April 2011|
Thursday 14th April 2011 meeting was well attended. Speaker Ken
Duffey introduced his illustrated talk, titled ‘Red Star Aviation Volume 2’
that focused on his recent 2010 visits to Moscow, Ukraine and China. The
show started with a brief visit to the Richskaya railway museum in Moscow,
this contained preserved steam locomotives that dated back to 1903. Kens
show moved on to the Ukraine, first visiting a MiG
21/23/24 re-work facility in Odessa. Many museums and national
monuments were also visited including Vasilkov Airbase, and Gostomel Air
show. Kens often-humorous stories of what happened during these travels
entertained the evening’s audience. Part two of the show seen the authors
November visit to China. A visit to the Beijing Military Museum of the
Chinese Peoples Revolution, seen many variants of Russian aircraft types.
The next museum visited was at Xiaotangshan, which again seen many Russian –
Chinese (copied) aircraft variants, that included two Tu4 Bulls (USAF B29
variants) that were possibly in service into the 1980s. Many other museums
and tourist sites were also visited. Kens show concluded with a visit to the
Zhuhai Air show in southern China. One of the highlights of this show was a
flying display by the ‘August the first – Peoples Liberation Army Air force
Aerobatic display team’ that operates Chengdu J10 jet fighter aircraft. The
show ended with a question and answer session.
|Thursday 10th March 2011|
Thursday 10th March 2011 meeting was well attended. Local
Photographer Paul Woollard gave an illustrated talk entitled
Steam and Diesel Around the Severn, through the Seasons. The show based on
Digital Format showed a shift in the creative photographers outlook, moving
from Medium (film) Format to Digital DSLR photography. Paul’s work is often
published in railway magazines, and is of very high quality, showing trains
in the landscape. The show encompassed a round trip of the Severn Estuary,
including the local branch lines of Sharpness and Tytherington. All types of
rail traction were covered, that included Class 60’s on oil trains, and many
preserved steam and diesel locomotives. Paul’s dedication and planning
showed that along with patience and careful use of natural lighting, the
photographer could always produce an excellent photograph. The show also
showed the changing rail scene over the past years. Paul not only produced
an excellent presentation visually, he also kept members amused with
anecdotes and humours stories that related to many of his shots. This show
was also used to raise money for The Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
embankment disaster fund. The show ended with a question and answer
session. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the
|Thursday 10th February 2011|
Thursday 10th February 2011 meeting was well attended. Richard Furness gave an illustrated talk titled Collecting Railwayana, Junk and Precious Artefacts. The speaker being a keen collector of rail posters locomotive nameplates and station (totem) enamel painted signs, gave detailed stories of how he came to collect such specialist and sought after items. Richard has also published 3 volumes of railway art posters that depict mainly 1930 to 1950 period rail holiday destinations. Some of the posters also depict areas such as LMS engineering workshops and various government owned infrastructures that include major seaports. Richard also described his work for the National Railway Museum archive, this work included building a searchable database to trace areas that railway poster artists painted, and catalogue unused prints that have been locked away for many years. This archive collection also involves digital restoration of posters, many of these images have been published in the speakers books. One of the latest editions to the speakers personal collection was by transport illustrator Laurence Fish (1919-2009), the work of this artist was also discussed in detail, Mr Fish was commissioned to paint rail, sea, road and aviation images that included aircraft such as the Britannia and Comet. The show ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 13th January 2011|
Thursday 13th January 2011 meeting was extremely well attended.
Peter Berry gave an illustrated talk titled Steam in Sub Zero China. Peter a
keen railway photographer and worldwide traveller started the show with
details of how this adventure holiday was planned, journeying deep into
Mongolia and the remote Gobi Desert. This tour of China in 1998 was in
February, one of the coldest times of the year. However with such
temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius (at 4,000 feet above sea level),
steam effects for photography from the hard working QS and QJ type
locomotives were an awesome sight. The visit was to photograph the last
fully steam worked line in China. Special permits and communist police
escorted the tour at all times. Peter also discussed the food they ate that
included wild mountain yak. This last working steam railway line in Mongolia
is primarily used for hauling coal, using 2-10-2 double-headed QJ
locomotives on 4,000 tonne trains. Nowadays Diesel and Electric traction is
used to haul these incredibly long coal trains. The show ended with a
question and answer session. Members also enjoyed a selection of Peter’s
high quality medium format colour prints that were also on show.
Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
|Thursday 9th December 2010|
Thursday 9th December 2010 meeting was well attended. Speakers
Mandy Pantell and Roger Milburn gave an illustrated talk
on the operation and fund raising work of the fly2help charity based at
Kemble. The illustrated talk was shown in two sections. Part one covered the
aircraft and operational activities of the charity foundation. Roger also
gave a history of his RAF flying career, which spanned from being a fast jet
pilot flying various types of
aircraft that included Hunters and Hawks. He also did thousands of hours
flying Hercules. Roger then gave an in depth talk with video clips focusing
on the aircraft that fly2help operate, which include a De Havilland
Chipmunk. Part two of the talk was covered by Mandy Pantell, who through her
own unfortunate circumstances became a Champion of the trust. Mandy gave an
insight into the help they give to
disadvantaged and disabled children to name but a few. One of the charity’s
main focus points is based on privileged pilots volunteering to help the
underprivileged look forward to having a great day out, that often includes
a flight over there home or school.
The trust (now in its fourth year) was founded by ex RAF pilot Phil O’Dell.
Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speakers. A charity donation was
also made by Wings and Wheels to the
Thursday 12th November 2010
Thursday 11th November 2010 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Richard Kelsey gave an illustrated talk titled ‘A Pictorial look at Gloucestershire Canals’. The illustrated talk was shown in two sections. Part one covered the Thames Severn and Stroud navigation. Part two covered the Sharpness to Gloucester shipping canal. Both talks featured many aerial views of the canals, as well as shots from walking the length of the canals at ground level. Details and in depth history of the canals construction, use and final demise were covered. Richard also included details of the aircraft and flight routes used. Which including meticulous planning by local ‘Flying Ace’ pilot Dave Lamb. Pictures obtained from the air were taken from 4 planned missions, totalling at least 5 hours airborne, using approximately 36 gallons of fuel. The whole photographic project was taken over the course of 2 years (2007 to 2009), resulting in 2,000 digital images being shot in total. Each section of the evenings show featured 180 images. The talk ended with a question and answer session, then to bring the evening to a close Mr Lamb gave the vote of thanks to the speaker. A charity donation was also made to the Cotswold Canal Trust.
Thursday 14th October 2010 meeting was very well attended.
Speaker Ian Thomas gave an illustrated talk titled The Rise and Fall of the
Severn Rail Bridge. The talk focused on the
history of the bridge and its surrounding areas. This show was also a
remembrance (with respect) to mark the fatal Severn Bridge Disaster that
happened on the evening of the 25th October 1960. This fatal
accident happened in thick fog when two petroleum laden barges missed the
entry to Sharpness docks and collided with the bridge, the following
explosion caused one stanchion and two spans to collapse into the river. The
disaster claimed the lives of five men, Ian Thomas read out the roll call of
the deceased during the show. This show was also used to remind members of
the 50th anniversary year exhibitions and memorial tributes that
will sadly mark the loss of life on
that particular October evening. Construction of the wrought iron bridge was
completed in 1879. The length of the tied-arch bowstring truss type bridge
when built was 4161 ft. The rail bridge was the third longest in the
country. Originally constructed by the Severn and Wye Railway Company to
carry trains 70ft above the estuaries high water mark. Many interesting
facts were discussed throughout the evenings show, including the story about
how a freight train passed over the bridge approximately one hour
before the tragic disaster. The talk ended with a question and answer
session, then finally Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday 13th May 2010
Thursday 13th May 2010 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Cyril Routley gave an illustrated talk on the SS Great Britain. The talk focused on the experiences of passengers that travelled on the steam ship in its early days of commercial operation. The speaker talked in depth about the first seven voyages to America since the ships launch in 1843. The detail covered also included how the different classes of passenger travelled. Births and deaths including illness were also part of the long distance voyages. Cyril explained the details of the ships first visit to Australia, setting off from Britain with 650 people on board, 1,500 tonnes of coal, and greater than 1000 animals, for supply of fresh milk eggs and meat. Passengers on these early voyages did not have passports because they had not been invented. The ship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the world’s first great ocean liner, and is now preserved in the Great Western Dockyard Bristol. The talk ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker. Also covered in the evening Wings & Wheels Society founder member Mr David Lamb presented the Community Centre, and the Dursley & District RAFA branch with a donation each towards their respective charity funds.
Thursday 8th April 2010
Thursday 8th April 2010 meeting was well attended. Speakers Ian Thomas and Rich Kelsey put on an illustrated show titled ‘The Last 30 Years of British Rail’ the slide show covered Diesel and Preserved Steam traction back in the BR Corporate Blue days. The speakers also brought along memorabilia from the period, each relating stories with humorous tales of there travels to places such as Wick and Thurso in Scotland, and southwards to Penzance and Portsmouth Harbour. Steam preservation pictures showed rusting locomotives being rescued from Barry Island through to operating on preserved railways in A1 condition. A good selection of creative night and daytime photography pleased the society members. Many classes of diesel locomotives were also shown including Class 55 Deltics, Class 46 to 45 Peaks, and Class 33 among others. Ian and Richard in the early 1980’s were known as ‘Peak Bashers’ this lead to many discussions during the show, during which they even covered technical details of there favourite locomotive classes. The mammoth slide show finally finished at 11pm. Mr Dave Lamb then gave the vote of thanks to the speakers.
Thursday 11th March 2010
Thursday 11th March 2010 meeting was extremely well attended, seeing the venue almost full to capacity. The Vulcan to the Sky Trust – Chief Engineer Kevin ‘Taff’ Stone gave a talk on the history and operational details of keeping Vulcan XH558 airworthy. Taffs illustrated talk covered the first flight of the prototype Avro Vulcan in 1952. The Cold war era was also covered in detail, with a vintage cine film clip showing footage of a Vulcan Squadron getting airborne in 90 Seconds! Using a Vulcan for bombing of the Falklands Port Stanley airfield in 1982 was also discussed. XH558 at one time was converted to a flying tanker role. Near the end of its RAF career the aircraft was used for flying displays. The aircrafts final RAF flight was in March 1993. The Vulcan now owned by the trust and with the aid of public and national lottery money was finally returned to its present flying status in 2007, with a flying display permit granted in 2008. The speaker talked with great passion about the trusts sole aim of keeping this historic and unique aircraft airworthy. The illustrated show ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker and other members of the trust that assisted with the evenings show.
Thursday 11th February 2010
Thursday 11th February 2010 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Neil Lover gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Tales of the Tiddly Dyke, Part Two’ focusing on the entire route of the Midland & South Western Junction Railway, and onwards to Southampton. Neil began the show with a look at what Cheltenham St James station looked like until the early 1960’s. These shots were mainly aerial views mixed with line side shots, in fact the whole of the evenings show consisted of many aerial and respective line side photographs. The history of line was covered in depth from its humble begins in 1872 to the final day of passenger service on the 10th September 1961. Neil talked in depth about many of the stations and junctions such as Andoversford, and the summit of the line at Foss Cross. Neil’s passion for his subject also included many interesting and often hilarious stories about the line and its work force. The various types of locomotives that worked the line were also discussed, some of which are now preserved. One engine by the name of Molly ended up working on the Channel Island of Alderney, where the rusting parts of this engine still exist today. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday 12th January 2010
This meeting was cancelled due to the inclement weather.
Thursday 12th December 2009
Thursday 10th December 2009 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Patrick Hassell gave a talk entitled ‘The Halford Jets’ focusing on the development of DeHavilland Goblin and Ghost engines. The illustrated talk began with a look at the history of Major Frank Halford (1894 – 1955). Halford learnt to fly in a Bristol Boxkite in 1913, and subsequently joined the RFC seeing active front line service in WW1. In later years he assisted in the design of the famous De Havilland Gipsy aero piston engine. In the early 1940’s Halford designed a simplified version of the Whittle Jet engine named the Halford H.1, which was eventually purchased by De Havilland in 1944, such derivatives of this newly named ‘Goblin’ jet engine were used in many types of aircraft including Meteor, Vampire and SAAB J29. By 1945 a much more powerful design of jet engine was flight-tested, this engine was named the Ghost. This engine design would eventually be used (in two pairs) to power the first production series of De Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner. The speaker focused on items and areas of aeronautical design that made Halford’s jet engines truly record breaking, and cutting edge technology. The illustrated show ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday 12th November 2009
Thursday 12th November 2009 meeting was very well attended. However the advertised speaker at very short notice was taken ill, leading to a programme change. Speaker Richard Kelsey stepped in, showing an illustrated review of recent local Steam Railway events. Richard started with the West Somerset Railway 2009 Spring Steam Gala, which featured some great photographic images of the visiting locomotives, which included LNER A4 Pacific 60019 Bittern and LMS 6100 Royal Scot. The speaker then showed pictures of the Pathfinder Severn Coast Express rail tour, which featured the new A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado hauling the train from Gloucester to Bristol via Cardiff, and later in the day onwards to Minehead. Society members were then treated to a viewing of Richards’s most recent photographs of Tornado, taken at Gloucester and Kemble stations whilst hauling the Thames Tornado rail tour the previous weekend. At the end of the evening Mr David Lamb gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday 8th October 2009
Thursday 8th October 2009 meeting was very well attended. Speakers Martin Sinton & Duncan Willoughby gave a talk titled Space Travel and Astronomy for the Layman. The talk started with an introduction on Astronomy by Martin Sinton, who explained different ways of star gazing, that ranged from the naked eye to very powerful telescopes. Also explained was how to use a Digital SLR to take pictures of the night sky, including the types of software such as ‘Deep Sky Stacker’ that can be used in conjunction with a DSLR body and a powerful telescope. Martin also showed some of his excellent images obtained in this way. These images included shots of the Andromeda Galaxy known as M31 that is 2.2 million light years from earth. Half way through the meeting and with a clear night sky outside Martin then set up a powerful telescope for some real star gazing! This powerful telescope allowed society members to clearly see Jupiter and its 4 moons. After this speaker Duncan Willoughby gave the second illustrated talk of the evening, which started with a look at how NASA will prepare for its next manned Moon mission, in what appeared to look like a new generation of Saturn Rockets, that will actually be named Ares1. The speaker explained how the same difficulties of the early days of space travel still lay ahead, and how the Chinese unlike there American counterparts are on schedule for a manned lunar mission in the near future. Also covered in detail was the possibility of a manned mission to Mars that would take up to 500 days. If society members are interested in joining a new local Astrology Society please look at www.cotswoldas.org . Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speakers.
Thursday 14th May 2009
Thursday 14th May 2009 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Ryan Green gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Airbus A380 from Concept to Service’. The talk started with an introduction about Ryan’s job as a project lead on the A380 wing section at Filton. A look at how all the aircrafts parts are manufactured across Europe, showed how the logistical problems in bringing them together to its final completion are solved. This involves specially made aircraft, ships and road transport. The centre hub of the A380 final construction is Toulouse in France. Many excellent images, diagrams and time lapse movies showed how Airbus technical innovations overcome the problems with designing such a massive aircraft, that has a maximum take off weight of 596 tonnes. The A380 first test flight was in April 2005, since then over 196 orders have been placed world wide from 17 countries. On a long haul flight the aircraft can carry up to 250 tonnes of fuel. At present 60 aircraft have been built with fuselage internals that range from double beds to bars and gymnasiums! This excellent talk by Ryan brought the 6th season of Wings and Wheels to a close. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday 9thApril 2009
Thursday 9th April 2009 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Mike Marsden gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Concorde Design and Development’. The show held on the exact 40th anniversary day of Concorde’s first British flight from Filton to Fairford, with aircraft prototype number 002G was well timed. The talk started with a lecture on the progression from transonic to supersonic flight. Early prototype test bed aircraft such as the Handley Page 115, and Fairy Delta 1 and 2 record breaking jets were discussed in detail. Design and efficiency of the Rolls Royce Olympus jet engine was also covered in depth. A final look at other rival supersonic jet airliners some of which did not get past the design concept, and a brief discussion on the Russian Tupolev Tu-144 Charger, brought the show to an end. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday March 12th 2009.
Thursday 12th March 2009 meeting was very well attended. Speakers Gilroy Kerr and Ian Thomas gave an illustrated talk titled ‘The Last days of Steam on British Rail’. The show started with Gilroy showing high quality transparency and black and white photographs that he took whilst following the demise of steam. As a long time rail enthusiast, and working as a signal man at Coaley Junction in his youth Gilroy started taking railway photos in the 1950’s. Also covered in his show was the British Rail steam finale rail tour on the 11th August 1968. Ian Thomas then showed an impressive collection of ‘Colour Rail’ slides. Ian as usual giving a fascinating detailed description of each photograph, that ranged from A4 Pacific’s hauling trains through freezing landscapes, along with some excellent night time shots. Ian ended the evening with a collection of slides taken locally, that included the last days of steam hauled services in the Stroud valley, Coaley Junction and the Dursley branch line. At the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker. Wings and Wheels next meet on Thursday 9th April 20.00hrs at Dursley Community Centre, when speaker Mike Marsden will be giving an illustrated talk titled ‘Concorde Design & Development’ for more information please contact Rich on 01453 544489, or visit wingsandwheelssociety.org.uk
Thursday February 12th 2009.
Thursday 12th February 2009 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Ken Duffey gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Red Star - A Russian Aviation Extravaganza’. The show started with a visit to the Russian Sea Plane show held at Gelendzhik near the Black Sea in 2008, which featured the Russian Knights and Swifts display teams that fly Mig 29 and Sukhoi Su27s respectively. This event is also a show case for Beriev Sea Planes, Ken and his party were very lucky and managed to secure a flight in a Be-200 water bomber. The talk then moved on to the Moscow area with visits to many aviation and war memorials. Kens excellent photography highlighted the rare types of aircraft on show especially at the Monino Soviet Air Force Museum, which is still, to this day, not known to many Russians. Mr Duffey is also known internationally for his articles in model aviation magazines, and delighted the audience by displaying his beautifully built scale model of a Tu160 Blackjack bomber. Kens visits to Russia and his Modelling articles can be viewed on his web site at www.flankers.co.uk at the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker. Wings and Wheels next meet on Thursday 12th March 20.00hrs at Dursley Community Centre when speakers Ian Thomas and Gilroy Kerr will be giving an illustrated talk titled ‘The Last Days of Steam on British Rail and Beyond’ 1968 to 2008. For more information please contact Rich on 01453 544489.
Thursday January 8th 2009.
Thursday 8th January 2009 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Peter Davey gave an illustrated talk titled the ‘Clifton Rocks Railway’ A journey through historic Victorian engineering in the heart of Bristol. The talk started with how and why the railway was conceived, construction finally started when a contracted Canadian mining company began blasting the tunnel in 1891. The railway (and tunnel) length was 500ft, and was angled at approximately 45 degrees, giving a steady climb from Hotwells to Clifton, this being a maximum height of 240ft. The railway opened in March 1893, linking Hotwells station to the Clifton area with its specially built ‘water reservoir lift operated’ tram cars. The line sadly closed in October 1934. However the outbreak of World War Two seen a different use for the tunnel, the top part at Clifton became an air raid shelter, and the lower Hotwells section became BBC broadcasting studios. The Tunnel now preserved along with some of its original contents survives to this day. Peter also noted that similar tram cars are still operating (although electrically) on the Bridgenorth lift railway. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday December 11th 2008.
Thursday 11th December meeting was very well attended. Speaker Patrick Hassell gave an illustrated talk titled the ‘Bristol Aero Company before Rolls Royce’ from 1917 to 1966. The talk started with the history and foundation of the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1910 when Sir George White opened his factory at Filton were the highly successful Bristol Boxkite was originally designed and built. Also covered in detail was the engineering partnership of Sir Charles Rolls and Henry Royce. Patrick discussed in technical detail why some of the early Bristol Engines were some of the most successful types ever built, these engines ranged from the Jupiter to Pegasus series of piston engines that helped aircraft reach record breaking altitudes of up to 54,000 feet. Finally the talk ended with details of much more modern engine types, such as the Olympus jet engines that powered Concorde Vulcan and TSR2 aircraft. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday November 13th 2008.
Thursday 13th November meeting was very well attended. Speaker Neil Lover gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Tales of the Tidily Dyke’ that focused on the Midland & South Western Junction Railway, Cheltenham St James to Andover section. The talk started with the lines birth in 1873 when the idea to build the cross country route was first investigated. Neil’s knowledge and stories about the line, backed up with historic railway images of the route, showed his passion for the subject along with aerial photographs, some of which were taken by the Luftwaffe in the early 1940s. The talk also focused on the lines demise and the two special trains that ran on the last day of service on 10th September 1961. Sadly the only working remains of the Tidily Dyke that exist today are the Andover to Lugershall branch, and the Cricklade to Swindon preserved section. At the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. Also two charity cash donations from the Wings and Wheels Society funds were handed over to local charities the RAFA Dursley Branch, and the Community Centre Association.
Thursday October 8th 2008.
Thursday 9th October meeting was well attended. Speaker Derek James gave an illustrated talk titled ‘The Schneider Trophy’ of which is a fascinating and important part of aviation history. The talk started with the reasons for the air race and its early beginnings in Monaco in April 1913, with a French pilot winning first race. The Trophy carried on after WW1 and was soon seeing competition planes reach speeds in excess of 200mph. The British flying S5 and S6 Supermarine float planes dominated the later years of this prestigious event. These aircraft reached speeds in excess of 340mph with powerful 1300hp Merlin engines, this design lead the way for the prototype Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft. By 1931 the last air race for the Trophy took place over the Solent and was totally dominated by the British pilots with their S6 seaplanes. At the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. Wings and Wheels would like to note that the speaker now in his 86th year actually took place in the WW2 D Day landings as an aircraft observer, employed by the Royal Navy.
Thursday May 8th 2008.
Thursday 8th May meeting was well attended, Speaker Derek Taylor gave an illustrated talk titled ‘The History of the Diesel Hydraulic Locomotive’ also accompanied by two of his 5 inch gauge hydraulic models. The show mainly focused on the hydraulic locomotive design and how it would replace steam traction on British Rail. Derek covered in detail how the hydraulic Warship class locomotive design originated from the German V200 type. The talk also covered The Hymek and Western class locomotives, with a final question and answer session. At the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday April 10th 2008.
Thursday 10th April meeting was well attended, Speaker Paul Barnett gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Fore and Aft’ a history of the Purton Hulks. The talk started with a look at the origins of the 81 vessels, which have been strategically placed on the Purton riverbank to prevent further erosion from the River Severn. The Hulks mainly consist of Ferrous Concrete Barge’s, Stroud Canal Barge’s and 5 English Schooners. Some of the vessels when in service have carried grain and ore from Spain and even further a field. The talk also focused on Paul’s work on campaigning to protect the Purton site. At the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker, along with a Society donation to Paul’s campaign fund.
Thursday March 13th 2008.
Thursday 13th March meeting was very well attended. Speaker Elfan Ap-Rees gave an illustrated talk on the history of the Weston Helicopter Museum. The talk started with a look at the origins of the collection, which now numbers more than 70 aircraft from all over the world. The museum also houses much history on development of the worlds first Helicopters. Some types of helicopters on display such as Dragonfly Lynx Sycamore and ‘Mi-24 Hind’ were discussed in detail, along with how they actually were transported to the Museum. The Helicopter Museum is also researching the possibility of owning a ‘Mi-6 Hook’ probably the largest helicopter ever built in the world! At the end of the evening Mr Lamb gave a vote of thanks to the speaker, along with a Society donation to the museum funds.
Thursday February 14th 2008.
Thursday 14th February meeting was very well attended. Speaker Peter Berry gave an illustrated talk titled Zimbabwe Steam Safari. The talk started with a look at the hub of Zimbabwe’s railway network Bulawayo. This is the main locomotive depot and workshops for the Zimbabwe Rail network fleet of ageing steam locomotives. Some of the locomotives still in use to this day include Class 15 and 16 Beyer Garratts, and even Class 7 locos built in 1888. For this illustrated show Peter toured the country in a special steam hauled train, with every photographic opportunity taken care of. Breathtaking shots of the famous rail bridge over Victoria Falls showed that Zimbabwe is certainly a country worth visiting. Also Peter included photos of the people and wildlife that made the show a very interesting insight into this part of Africa. At the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.
Thursday January 10th 2008.
Thursday 10th January meeting was very well attended. Speaker Ian Thomas gave an illustrated talk titled The Rise & Fall of the Severn Railway Bridge. This fascinating local history show started with a look at Victorian photographs taken when the bridge was under construction in the mid 1870’s. The bridge when completed in 1879 cost £280,000. The total bridge length was 4,161 ft, and was the 3rd longest railway bridge in the country. The 1960 disaster and downfall of the bridge were covered in detail, including a very recent visit to the Arkendale and Wasdale tanker wrecks in the Severn estuary at low tide. After the show Mr Dave Lamb on behalf of the Society gave a vote of thanks. Wings and Wheels
Thursday December 13th 2007.
Thursday 13th December meeting was well attended. Speaker Richard Kelsey (who had partially lost his voice so had to use powered amplification!) gave an illustrated talk entitled ‘Wings & Wheels 5th Year Celebration’ the show featured the societies summer visits to Delta Jets at Kemble, Tiger Airways at Staverton and RAF Lyneham. Pictures of local steam rail and road tours including a recent trip to Sharpness (first steam loco in 43 years), and the Dursley rail 150 celebrations made up the second half of the show and brought back many happy memories, the audience was given a brief look at what the society has achieved so far, including donations to local charities such as the Community Centre Trust, and the local RAFA Wings Appeal. After the show Mr Dave Lamb gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the Society.
Thursday November 8th 2007.
The meeting on Thursday 8th November was well attended. Speaker Derek James gave an illustrated talk entitled ‘Westlands Weird Wonders’ the talk covered the history of Aircraft & Helicopters manufactured by Westland’s from 1917 to present day. Derek gave a fascinating in-depth history of the first prototype and production aircraft, including diversification of production lines in the post war years that lead to manufacturing of Pianos and Milk Churns! World War Two saw the production of the famous Lysander, Whirlwind and Welkin high altitude aircraft. Derek finished the talk with a look at Westland helicopter types such as Sea King and Lynx.
Thursday October 11th 2007.
The October 11th meeting was very well attended. Speaker Bruce Hall MBE
gave an illustrated talk titled ‘Between Two Rivers’ a history of the Thames and Severn Canal. The talk covered the history of what is now known as the Cotswold Canal, which opened in 1779. After initial commercial success and decline the first section to close was the Lechlade to Brimscombe port section in 1933. The Stroud section onwards to Saul Junction finally closed in 1954. However Bruce concentrated on the preservation work of the Cotswold Canal Trust. The future of the canal was covered in great detail, including how the trust with lottery grants will navigate under the current M5 and A38 bridge sections with new locks and the River Frome. A donation was given to the Canal Trust at the end of the evening, including a vote of thanks to Mr Hall. The next meeting is on Thursday 8th November 20.00 at Dursley Community Centre, when Speaker Derek James will give an illustrated talk titled ‘Westlands Weird Wonders’ the talk will cover the history of Aircraft & Helicopters manufactured by Westland’s from 1917 to present day, for more information please contact Rich on 01453 544489, or visit wingsandwheelssociety.org.uk
Thursday June 7th 2007.
The annual summer evening visit to an aviation base on June 7th 2007 was well attended. The visit was to the Delta Jets facility at Kemble Airfield. The 30 strong group assembled outside Aircraft Hanger C2, where Delta Jets Chief Engineer Phil Rozee began the guided tour of the facility. The hanger contained many types of aircraft including Canberra’s and a Gnat. The main aircraft maintained and operated from the facility are Hawker Hunters, 8 complete examples of different marks could be seen on this visit. Delta Jets engineers discussed with society members the operational and technical difficulties that are encountered with keeping such aircraft flying. The evening’s visit finished with a group seminar photograph in front of a preserved non-serviceable Hunter. Mr Kelsey thanked Phil Rozee and the Delta jets engineers for making this fascinating visit possible.
Thursday May 10th 2007.
The May 10th meeting was very well attended. Professional Artist Eric Bottomley gave an illustrated talk entitled ‘Transport in Art’. Eric has been member of the Guild of Railway Artists since 1979, and has produced many fine quality paintings depicting the halcyon days of steam and vintage transport. His often-humorous stories of how he gained commissions and set up his own studio in 1976 proved to be very interesting. A detailed insight into his more recent painting of the Cornishman Express train leaving Gloucester, and Meteor jet fighters over the old Severn Railway Bridge showed that a huge amount of research is required before the artist painted these pictures. The evening ended with a vote of thanks from Mr Kelsey. Members are also reminded that the Kemble Delta Jets summer trip is confirmed.
Thursday April 12th 2007.
The April 12th meeting was very well attended. Speaker Paul Woollard gave an illustrated talk entitled Medium Format Railway Landscape Photography. The show was based on a theme of rail landscapes around the Severn Estuary. His careful planning of the chosen locations and good use of available light highlighted Paul’s high quality photography. The images showed preserved and modern day rail traction that included some excellent preserved steam locomotives hauling rail tours on the main line, and the preserved Dean Forest Railway. The evening ended with a vote of thanks from Mr Kelsey. Members were also reminded to register their interest in the Kemble Delta Jets summer trip no later than the next meeting.
Thursday March 8th 2007.
The March 8th meeting was very well attended. Speaker Derek James gave an illustrated talk titled The Bristol Aeroplane Company since 1910. The talk started with an introduction on Sir George White who pioneered the Bristol Box Kite aircraft that made its first flight on the 29th July 1910. From this date Box Kites were sold around the world. Aircraft design technology and innovation accelerated throughout the First and Second World War periods, the first plane that the Red Baron shot down was a Bristol Fighter! Derek covered the post war period with a detailed history covering the Bristol Brabazon and Britannia. The talk finished with the jet age and the introduction of supersonic aircraft including Concorde. The show ended with a question and answer session, followed by a vote of thanks from Mr Kelsey. Derek James is a local well known author and aviation historian, for a list of his published works it is worth looking at the following Web address: www.amazon.co.uk/Aircraft-Archive-Photographs-Derek-James.
Thursday February 8th 2007.
The February 8th meeting was very well attended. Speaker Dave Winter gave an illustrated talk titled Steam in China. The show covered many aspects of Dave’s trip to China in 1987. The journey began in Beijing with a look around The Forbidden City. Ice snow and freezing winter temperatures of minus 25 degrees! produced many excellent photographs of steam hauled freight trains in remote areas of China. One of the many highlights of the show was a visit to Datong locomotive building workshops, which were still building 2-10-2 ‘QJ-class’ steam locomotives. The show ended with a question and answer session, followed by a vote of thanks from Mr Kelsey.
Thursday January 11th 2007.
The January 11th meeting was very well attended. Speaker Hugh Conway-Jones gave an illustrated talk titled ‘The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal – Past and Present. The show covered the history and use up to present day of the Canal, including its Victorian origins. At Hardwicke the canal was dug out by hand to a depth of 40 feet. Hugh also discussed how complicated the navigation was to build, especially at Saul Junction were the two canals owned by separate companies had to cross. The regeneration of Gloucester docks including its unique 15 Victorian Warehouses was also covered. The show ended with a question and answer session, and Richard Kelsey gave a vote of thanks. Hugh Conway-Jones has an award winning web site www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk.
Thursday December 12th 2006.
The December 14th meeting was very well attended. Speaker Peter Berry gave an illustrated talk entitled ‘To the Roof of the World’ which included a steam railway journey on the Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway. A typical journey on the 60 mile long railway takes 6 hours, and terminates at Darjeeling (approximately 7,500 feet above sea level). The small ‘narrow gauge B class’15 ton steam locomotives that still work the line were built in 1880, by the North British Locomotive Company. Peter’s excellent photography also covered Monastery’s, Mosques, and the local people that work and live in Darjeeling. After the show Richard Kelsey gave Peter a vote of thanks.
Thursday November 11th 2006.
The 9th November meeting was well attended. Speakers Richard Kelsey and Ian Thomas gave a fascinating illustrated talk on Vintage Road Transport. The evening covered motorcycles of various makes including long forgotten names such as Panther and BSA. Vintage and classic Cars Lorries and Buses were also included in this memory lane pictorial visit. The evening concluded with Steam Traction and vintage Fire Engines.
Thursday October 10th 2006.
The 10th October meeting was well attended. Speaker Chris Turner gave a talk about the day-to-day operations of the County Air Ambulance. The illustrated show addressed the difficulties and highlights of the charity run air ambulance. The helicopter used is an EC 135 (Euro-copter), and cost approximately 2.4 million pounds, which excludes the cost of the specialist high tech medical equipment carried on board. Chris also discussed the various exemptions that they have from the Civil Aviation Authority that allow them to fly and land anywhere. The EC 135 at present operates from Strensham M5 service station. The Helicopter is manned on a 7 day 12 hour shift rota that is covered by a total of 5 pilots, 30 paramedics, and various ground staff. The air ambulance can also be ready to go to its destination from Strensham within 2 minutes. The evening ended with a question and answer session, followed by a ‘vote of thanks’ and a Donation to the Air Ambulance.
Thursday May 11th 2006.
The 11th May meeting was well attended. Speaker Barry Barnes gave a talk titled ‘ Australian Flying Corps at Leighterton & Tetbury 1918-1919’. The talk started off with the reasons why the local area was selected for the construction of WW1 Airfields and Aerodromes. Building materials arrived at Tetbury via the local Branch line, and then road steam traction engines moved the heavy loads to the new airstrips. This movement of material destroyed many local roads, and outraged the local Tetbury council. Also Tetbury town had many buildings acquired by the MOD for use as a military Hospital and HQ, along with a new barracks. State of the art advanced aircraft of the day were used for training purposes, types included the Avro 504, Sopwith Camel, RE 8, SE 5, and Snipe biplanes. Barry explained how the Leighterton photo-reconnaissance unit worked, many interesting aerial photographs of the Tetbury area still exist. The talk finished with recognition of the ANZAC day parade at Leighterton, that still takes place once a year to remember the gallant airmen who risked their lives, in the early days of military aviation. The evening finished with a question and answer session.
Thursday April 13th 2006.
The April meeting was well attended. Speaker Group Captain John Heron OBE gave a talk titled ‘The Harrier-Cold war operations & concepts’. The talk started with the history and development of the Harrier Jump Jet (VSTOL) at Hawker’s in 1957, by chief design engineer Sir Sydney Camm. John also discussed the prototypes from the Kestrel to GR3 model, then on to the present day GR7 Harrier jump jet. A history of cold war operations in the old West Germany brought the evenings talk to an end, with a question and answer session. At the end of the meeting a Wings and Wheels donation was made to John Herons patron charity the R.A.F.C. trust.
Thursday March 9th 2006.
The March meeting was well attended. Speaker Derek Taylor gave a talk titled ‘Building Model Steam Locomotives’. The talk started with the History of model engineering, and how 5 and 7.25 inch gauge railway modelling became popular. Mr Taylor also brought along three large 5-inch gauge railway locomotives, two of which were steam powered and one that was driven by a re-designed Honda pasola motor cycle engine! Mr Taylor also exhibited his latest engineering project a 7.25-inch gauge GWR 14XX tank engine, which was only built up to the chassis stage. The evening finished with a question and answer session on model railway locomotive engineering. For further information on Derek’s model locomotives and society visit www.bristolmodelengineers.co.uk
Thursday February 9th 2006.
The February meeting was very well attended. Before the evening’s entertainment began two cheques (from the Wings and Wheels funds) were presented to the local RAFA and Community Centre charities respectively by Wings and Wheels founder members D Lamb and R Kelsey. Speaker Derek James (local aviation historian and author) gave an illustrated talk entitled ‘The Flying Machine in Gloucestershire’. The talk covered the history of aviation in Gloucestershire, starting with the Bristol Box Kite. The aircraft factories at Gloucester that produced more than 10,000 aircraft were discussed in great detail. The talk also covered the first RAF jet aircraft that was built in Gloucestershire. The talk finished with the design and building of Concorde at the then British Aircraft Corporation plant at Filton. The evening’s entertainment closed with the Guest speaker fielding questions from the audience.
Thursday January 12th 2006.
The opening meeting of 2006 saw the welcome return to the projector of Ian Thomas who delivered a very interesting talk entitled "150 Years of Dursley Rail". It was clear that the local interest in the Dursley Branch line is still thriving! Ian entertained the society with stories and slides focusing on the Dursley to Coaley Junction branch line history from 1856 to 2006. Also included was the historic re-opening of the Cam & Dursley station. Ex local railway workers D Markey and G Kerr also told stories of signal box operations at Coaley Junction in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Local rail memorabilia, and historic photographs of the branch line were also available for viewing. The evening’s entertainment closed with the Guest speaker and friends doing a local-rail question and answer session.
Thursday December 9th 2005.
Decembers meeting enjoyed a talk by Chris Rawlings of Tiger Airways who fly a mixture of vintage aircraft out of Gloucestershire airport. Chris told of the many trials and tribulations involved in operating vintage aircraft.
Thursday November 10th 2005.
At the November meeting , Richard Kelsey took the audience on an Air Enthusiasts tour to Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. After resting in Sydney to get over the long flight, it was off to Auckland, New Zealand, to start visiting a few airfields and gain some air experience flights in various vintage aircraft such as DH Rapide, Dove, DH Moth Minor, Percival Proctor. Another airfield supplied flights in Harvard's , P40 Kitty hawk, and a Lockheed Catalina PBY amphibian flying boat. Also the Tour took in the various tourist spots in their travels, before being entertained again with flights in Tiger Moths, Chipmunks, Harvard's. Several RNZAF Bases were visited with conducted tours before crossing to the South Island. Making their way south they called in at various museums and sites where engineers are renovating vintage aircraft, and building replica World War One Aircraft. The highlight of the visit was the Biannual ‘Wanaka Airshow’ for a few days, this is a family oriented show combining vintage vehicles, steam engines, vintage military hardware, vintage and modern aircraft, with a backdrop of mountains this is a wonderful setting. Returning north a stop was made at Mount Cook Airfield where all Tour members took to the air once again for a flight and Ski landing on a Glacier and a short walk in snow before returning to the airport. A trip was also made on a Steam Railway Engine for a six mile run. then it was time to go north to Auckland and the final flight to Singapore via Sydney, staying for three days before returning to the U.K. The proceeds from this Show by the Wings and Wheels Society were given to the North Nibley Romanian Trust, the society was able to give them £150.
Thursday October 13th 2005.
The first show of the 2005 winter season sadly had to be cancelled due to a power cut just before our guest speaker for the night, Barry Barnes, was due to deliver his talk about the Royal Australian Air Force at Leighterton. Wings and Wheels Society would like to apologise to every one that turned out that night and Barry will be making another appearance at Wings and Wheels soon.
Thursday May 12th 2005.
The May meeting of the Wings and Wheels Society featured an illustrated talk on "Moscow Wings and Wheels" by one of the societies founder members Rich Kelsey. The show was a real treat for aviation fans as it featured, amongst many other things, a trip to the museum at Monino. Rich's show also showed a lot of the interesting architecture to be seen in Russia's capital city.
Thursday April 14th 2005.
Aprils meeting was a two parter entitled "Steam Safari in the Ukraine" and "Concorde in Bristol", these were delivered in fine style by Dave Winter. A feature of this show was the fine photography that showed to good effect the topography of the Ukraine.
Thursday March 10th 2005.
The March meeting was something of a departure for Wings and Wheels with local artist Barry Walding giving the society an insight into how he puts a painting together. This was fascinating, Barry paints a variety of subjects including wildlife, aircraft, and locomotives. Barry also bought along a selection of his prints for the members to purchase.
Thursday February 10th 2005.
The February meeting was a well attended evening, with steam engines galore. The speaker, Gilroy Kerr, gave a slide show of the "Last Days of steam in Britain and Europe". The show covered Gilroy's days as a signal man at Coaley Junction showing many types of engines that passed through what was, at the time, a main LMS Line, as well as scenes from Coaley Junction the show also showed steam engines around other parts of the U.K. This part of the show took us up to the demise of steam locomotives in this country. The second part of the show showed us steam engines in many parts of Europe. Gilroy's talk was fascinating and enjoyed by all who attended.
Thursday January 13th 2005.
The January meeting welcomed Mr Carl Roedling as the guest speaker, Carl gave a very interesting talk to the Society on the development of the miniature gas turbine and the models to which they are fitted. Carl explained how jet models were first flown using ducted fans driven by conventional glow ignition engines, this led onto the use of vehicle turbo charger components and eventually proper, manufactured gas turbines for use in models. Some of these gas turbines are very complex, having fully automatic start up and shut down facilities via a plug in ECU. As well as having examples of gas turbines on display Carl also bought along several examples of gas turbine models ranging from a sports delta training model to a full blown scale model of a McDonnell Douglas A4 Skyhawk. Carl's passion for the hobby was evident throughout and made for an excellent presentation that was well received by the attentive and appreciative audience.
Thursday December 9th 2004.
The December meeting of the society was quite an evening with a talk by guest speaker Group Captain J.D. Heron OBE, with the subject ‘From Schoolboy to Station Commander’ who early in his career was going to be an architect, until he seen the early jet aircraft, and saying I want some of that, joining the RAF and doing his training at RAF Cranwell, training on Provost jets and on to Hunter jets, being the Squadron display pilot, going on loan to France, flying Mystere and Mirage jets, and then going on loan to the United States, flying F105 Thunderchief’s and training American pilots that went on to Vietnam, after flying in many U.S. Aircraft, returning to the U.K. to fly and bring the Tornado's into operational use, and of course rising through the ranks, then being posted to the Falkland Islands as the RAF Station Commander, the evening finished with a question and answer session.
Thursday November 11th 2004.
At the November meeting, with a good attendance, before the Guest Speaker started there was a small presentation on behalf of the Society to it’s adopted Charity, and Patron, The Dursley and South Gloucestershire Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, Mr Dave Lamb presented a cheque for £150, to Mr Francis Bailey, Branch President, for its Annual Wings Appeal. Mr Francis Bailey, gave the Society many thanks on behalf of the Branch. The main subject of the evening was ‘The Jet Age Museum’ guest Speaker, Mr David Hunt, gave the history of the Gloster Aircraft Company, and how it started, and how the Brockworth Airfield came in to being, and how the Hawker Aircraft took over the site, and built Hurricane fighters there during the war.
Then on to the Jet Age with Frank Whittle’s development of the gas turbine, to the UK’s first turbojet aircraft the Gloster E.28/39 and on to the Gloster Aircraft’s entry into building Jet Fighters, Meteor’s and the all weather Javelin, at Moreton Valance, both these aircraft went into service with the R.A.F. With this History of Aviation in the County, the Jet Age Museum came in to being several years ago, but having to move from the site they occupied, and at present all Aircraft are in storage. The main hope is to build a new museum on a site at Staverton Airfield, they have applied to the National Lottery Fund for a grant, which they hope it will be successful, They also have the late Russell Adams complete Aviation photo collection of Gloster Aircraft presented to the Jet Heritage Museum to put on display.
Thursday October 14th 2004.
At the opening programme for the new season, at the Dursley Community Centre on Thursday 14th October, with a well attended audience, there was a talk and slide show on the ‘History of Local Railways’ guest speaker was Mr Ian Thomas, who took us around the Bristol/Gloucester main rail line, the Stroud main line, the Berkeley/Sharpness Line, and to finish with, a trip up the Branch Line from Coaley Junction to Dursley, giving many facts and figures on the History of these lines, to which the audience was most appreciative.
There was a vote of thanks to Mr Ben Ashworth, for allowing some of his collection of Railway Pictures to be shown, also a thank you to Mr D Markey and Mr B Thomas for bringing along photographs of Branch lines, which after the main slide show, members could peruse through the Albums that were on show, and there was plenty of reminiscent about days gone bye.
Thursday May 13th 2004.
The Wings and Wheels Society enjoyed a trip to the Delta Jets facility at Kemble Airfield for the last meeting before the Summer break, the Wings and Wheels convoy left Dursley at seven o'clock after meeting in the car park of the Dursley Community Centre. Upon arriving at the Delta Jets Hangar the Society was met by Delta Jets Chief Engineers, Andy and Steve. Andy welcomed us and then told us a little bit about the Delta Jets operation and what we could and couldn't do in the hangar. It's thought that most of the Societies members who made the trip took the opportunity to sit in the Folland Gnat and The Hawker Hunter that they very kindly opened up for us.
Rich Kelsey thanked Andy and Steve for their hospitality at the end of the evening before we found a local hostelry in which we enjoyed a beer (or three) while talking about the evenings events.
Thursday April 8th 2004.
Paul Woolard was our guest speaker this month, Paul entertained us with two talks entitled, "Railways in the Landscape" and "A River Severn Pilot Voyage". The first talk, Railways in the landscape took us on a journey all round the U.K. and foreign climes as well with railways in Portugal being featured. Many of Paul's slides showed Branch lines and industrial sites that are no longer in use, so the talk had a very good historical angle to it as well as treating the audience to some beautiful examples of "Atmospheric Photography". The second of Paul's talks featured some trips on the River Severn and the Severn Estuary that Paul was able to undertake when his Father was employed as a River Pilot on this, one of the worlds most tidal, Rivers. Of particular interest were some slides that illustrated how the Caissons for the second Severn crossing were put into place using a GPS stabilised crane barge. Paul has had some of his work published in the past, it was not difficult to see why as the slides that he showed the Society were of an excellent standard.
This was the last "Hall Meeting" before the society meets back in October 2004, It was an excellent end to our first season.
Thursday March 11th 2004.
There was a good turnout for the March meeting, despite the inclement weather (it snowed) and a change to the program. At very short notice the Societies very own Rich "Relentless" Kelsey gave an illustrated talk on air shows at Kemble and Fairford over the past years, covering vintage aircraft from the first world war to the present day stealth aircraft. Rich presented the show in his own inimitable style and kept the audience entertained for the whole evening.
As always from Rich, the photography was of a very high standard.
Thursday February 12th 2004.
At the February meeting we had two very good speakers, firstly Mr Ron Sparrow, gave a talk on the life of Sir George White who started out in law at a young age, but ventured into many businesses, he was the man that gave Bristol, and many other cities their Tram transport systems, but when the flying machine came in to being, and seeing what Bleriot was doing, George White was one of a few who could see a future in aviation, and started building aircraft, which was the beginning of the Bristol Aircraft Company, which saw the Bristol Boxkite of the first world war, through to the many aircraft produced for the second world war, and then to the commercial aircraft produced right up to Concorde.
Then Mr Chris May gave a talk on how the Bristol Collection started, how it got to Kemble, and hopes for the future, with a Museum possibly to be built at Filton, now that a Concorde is a resident.
It was announced at this meeting that the society now had a web site up and running.
Friday January 9th 2004
The January 9th meeting was very well supported, there are plenty of Steam Railway fans around the District, and they were not let down by the presentation of a Slide Show of, Steam Railway Around Britain, given by Railway Enthusiast Mr Ian Thomas, he started by showing Railcolour slides, starting in the Southwest, and moving up to the Midlands, covering many Branch lines long closed, then continuing with his own photographic slides from all around the Rail Network, from the South of England and up into Scotland, and closer to home, the Dursley Branch Line.
In all 300 slides were shown, and appreciated by the audience.
Thursday 11th December 2003
The December meeting saw local aviation artist Barry Barnes reveal the fruits of many years research into the Royal Australian Flying Corps to the gathered society members. Barry showed many slides illustrating how the Aussies managed to build, what was then, a major training base in the little Gloucestershire village of Leighterton and other locations in the county during World War One. As the slides revealed, this was no mean feat given the state of the road system at the time, Barry's talk also showed the varied types of aircraft that the Australians flew during this period, the way the airfields were laid out, and the living conditions enjoyed (?) by them.
The societies members were very appreciative of the presentation given by Barry.
Thursday 13th November 2003.
This meeting, the societies inaugural gathering, started with two of the founder members, Dave lamb and Rich Kelsey, welcoming everyone to the meeting and explaining a little bit about the vision that they held for the society. Once this was dealt with Rich Kelsey was introduced to give the first illustrated show to the society, this took the form of a slide show depicting Aviation Museums of Texas. Some years ago Rich and his father Brian were lucky enough to be able to join a British Aviation Enthusiasts tour of Texas Aviation Museums, during this tour rich took a multitude of slides showing the many facilities and air shows that they were able to attend, culminating in the Confederate Airforce Show at Midland Airfield, Texas. The slides also showed a lot of the city's and towns visited.
Rich is a keen photographer and this showed in the quality of his images, with this presentation we could not have wished for a better start to Wings and Wheels, the audience were very appreciative.