Wings and Wheels Society.

Previous Meetings.

Sunday 26th May 2024.

The first ever Cam & Dursley Model Railway Exhibition run by the Wings & Wheels Society Dursley in conjunction with the Gloucester O Guage Guild, was held at Dursley Community Centre on bank holiday Sunday 26th May 2024. The show was a resounding success and was very busy with, approximateley, 300 plus public visitors, including families and enthusiasts attending throughout the day. All profits from this show will be going to the Great Western Air Ambulance and the Dursley Community Centre Charitable charity trust. The exhibition was held across 3 rooms and the bar area, show casing working model railway layouts & diorama's in N, O, OO, and 16mm narrow gauge, along with trade stands and an O gauge locomotive building demonstration. The Air Ambulance and Berkeley Vale Railway also had stalls that proved popular with the visiting public. The show had a part emphasis on local railways and featured a 7mm (O gauge) fine scale model diorama of Dursley and Berkeley Station circa 1960, a working N gauge layout of Brimscombe that was 24 foot in length! There was also a working OO Gauge layout of St Phillips Station and Yard in Bristol circa 1940's bought along by Thornbury Model Railway Club. Also, a stand with local Dursley Branch Line photos and memorabilia was on show along with local rail historian Ian Thomas on hand answering questions about the history of the area's local railways. The exhibit hall upstairs featured a very large running O gauge test track layout that was approx 30ft x 18ft, filling a good part of the room. Another large model railway on show in the downstairs main hall named Dent attracted much public attention, it is modelled on an actual Settle and Carlisle line station and yard. In fact there was a total of 15 model railway layouts and dioramas of outstanding quality operating throughout the day, made by clubs and individuals from Bristol, Thornbury, Shirehampton, Swindon, and others from further afield such as Ludlow and Tewskesbury. There was also a 'Thomas layout' that could be operated by children and parents on the day, proving to be much fun! Wings and Wheels Society Dursley and the Gloucester O Gauge Guild would like to thank the exhibitors along with their enthusiasm for the show, including the trade and society stands and the local Community Centre for making this inaugural show possible. We would also like to thank the families, public and enthusiasts that visited the show supporting us throughout the day, making this a highly enjoyable community event, for without them this show would have not been possible.

Thursday 9th May 2024.

The 9th May 2024 meeting was well attended when Mark Bladwell did an illustrated show titled: The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - 1979 to date. The Speaker gave us an insight into the work of the L&B Railway Trust, created in 1979 to rebuild the narrow-gauge railway that closed in 1935. This heritage railway is the only steam line in the UK where passengers can travel in narrow gauge Victorian railway carriages designed in the 1890s. At present the preserved, one-mile, return trip is from Woody Bay Station to Killington Lane and back and it takes approximately 20 minutes to travel. The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust was formed in 1979 and the first short section was reopened to passengers in 2004. This was extended in 2006 and the following year long term plans were announced to open 9 miles (14 km) of track, linking the station at Woody Bay to both Lynton and Blackmoor Gate. The present track is now 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) narrow gauge. The railway originally opened in 1898 and ran from Barnstaple Town to Lynton. The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway (L&B) opened as an independent railway in May 1898. It was a single track, 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm) narrow gauge railway and was 19 miles long running through the rugged and picturesque area bordering Exmoor in North Devon. It was also notable as being the only narrow-gauge line required to use main-line standard signalling. For a short period of time the line earned a modest return for shareholders, but for most of its life the L&B made a loss. The Victorian line used only coal-fired steam motive power. Prior to opening in 1896, the Hunslet Engine Company submitted two designs (a 2-4-2T and a 4-4-0T), but eventually an order was placed for three 2-6-2Ts from Manning Wardle & Co of Leeds. The locos were named after local rivers: Yeo, Exe, and Taw. These were supplemented by a 2-4-2T, Lyn, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, USA, as the Company realised that three locos would be insufficient for their requirements. After construction by Baldwin, the loco was shipped across the Atlantic in parts, and re-assembled at Pilton by railway staff. It first steamed in July 1898. In 1923 the L&B was absorbed into the Southern Railway and began an upgrade programme. All locos & coaches were repainted in Southern Maunsell Green livery, the wagons were repainted in Southern Umber livery and track and buildings were improved. The railway continued to run well, but was still making a loss, and despite numerous cost-saving measures and extra investment in the line, the Southern Railway was unable to reverse the trend, and closed the line. The last train ran on 29 September 1935. The track was lifted by June 1936, and in September, surviving locomotive Lew was shipped to Brazil after auction, never to be seen again by UK eyes! Most rolling stock and the other locomotives were scrapped at Pilton (Exmoor). Some coaches were sectioned for use as garden sheds. Third class seats became garden furniture, and first-class seats found their way into local snooker halls and Masonic lodges, a sad end for such a pretty line. However today the Trust is thriving and its various partnering trusts and associations along with stakeholders, including Exmoor Enterprise, see many of the L&B trust groups perform different functions from loco and carriage restoration, buying up land for future track bed laying, and purchase and renovation of property including the Station Inn (Blackmoor) that is now again a busy public house. The Trust has long term plans, to be delivered in phases, to go South-West from Killington Lane to Blackmoor, then Wistlandpound, and north-east to Caffyns, and eventually to Lynton. Longer-term plans foresee the reopening of the line towards Barnstaple. A future must for tourists and enthusiasts to visit! At the end of the evening there was a question-and-answer session, then Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker.

Thursday 11th April 2024.

The 11th April 2024 meeting was well attended, when Nick Clarke and Chris Roscoe did an illustrated show collectiveley titled "UK Steam Railway Extravaganza". This was a two-part digital photography show beginning with Nick's "Tales of Riding the UK Rail Network by Steam", and then Rail Photographer Chris Roscoe's "Steam in the Landscape Vol.1" which included photo charters. The whole evening shows consisted of high-quality Rail photography. First up was Nick, who explained how he has a particular interest in riding behind steam haulage, on excursions, covering as much of the UK main line network as possible. Nick has been doing this for many years and has covered many routes from Edinburgh to Penzance by using preserved Steam traction. Nicks talk mainly focused on the South East which included an historic tour to Seaford, with BR Standard Pacific Oliver Cromwell, that saw 100's of people turning out to see the historic steam hauled excursion, that was the first steam train to visit Seaford since the 1960's. Nick also covered routes to Manchester, East Anglia and South Wales in his show, with many humorous stories of his travels, his show was bought to a conclusion with a photo of LNER locomotive Class B1 61306 Mayflower at Paddington. Next up was retired Railway Man and photographer Chris Roscoe who's passion for high quality lineside photography was nothing less than impressive. Chris covered many steam hauled trains across the UK including trains on heritage railways such as the Avon Valley Railway where Chris volunteer's, the North Yorkshire Moors Line to the Swanage Railway, and the beautifully situated narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales. Chris also covered many specially set up and often fully sold-out photo charters, such as night scenes of steam locomotives on shed at Didcot Railway Centre featuring different classes of locos including the stunning Blue livered GWR 6000 Class 6023 King Edward II. Chris's hard work and planning, including gaining permission from landowners to use their fields and bridges, made the steam in the landscape photographs well worthwhile. Both speaker's shows from the evening's meeting complimented each other, i.e. Nicks riding the Rails and Chris's lineside steam in the landscape, this made the evening a truly special one. At the end of the evening Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker's.

Thursday 14th March 2024.

The 14th of March 2024 meeting was very well attended, when aviation author Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork MBE gave us, an illustrated show titled: Bristol Aircraft at War. The show covered the WW2 Bristol Blenheim, Beaufort and Beaufighter aircraft. Graham gave us a detailed look at their missions and stories of bravery from the crews that flew them. The speaker started with the backdrop and onset of WW2, and the development of twin engine bombers by the Bristol Aircraft Company, the first being the Bristol Blenheim, which was used extensively in the first two years of the Second World War. The Blenheim (Type 142) first flew in April 1935, and the Air Ministry, ordered a modified design as the Type 142M for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a bomber. Deliveries of the new Blenheim to RAF squadrons commenced on 10 March 1937. In service the Blenheim Mk. I was developed into the long-nosed Type 149, the Blenheim Mk. IV, except in Canada where Fairchild Canada built the Type 149 under licence as the Bolingbroke. The Blenheim was one of the first British aircraft with an all-metal stressed-skin construction, with a powered gun turret and variable-pitch propellers. The Mk I was faster than most of the RAF's biplane fighters in the late 1930s but advances soon left it vulnerable if flown in daylight, though it proved successful as a night fighter. The Blenheim was effective as a bomber, but many were shot down. Graham then moved onto the Bristol Beaufort (designated Type 152) this was another twin-engine torpedo bomber and developed from experience of the earlier Blenheim. At least 1,180 Beaufort's were built by Bristol and other British manufacturers. Beaufort's first saw service with Royal Air Force Coastal Command and then the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm from 1940. They were used as torpedo bombers, conventional bombers, and minelayers until 1942, when they were removed from active service and were then used as trainer aircraft until being declared obsolete in 1945. Beaufort's also saw considerable action in the Mediterranean; Beaufort squadrons based in Egypt and Malta they helped attacked Axis shipping supplying Rommel's Deutsches Afrika Korps in North Africa. Finally, the speaker covered the Beaufighter, that air crews really liked and felt safe in this rugged design of aircraft, especially after some missions being badly shot up but airworthy! The Type 156 Beaufighter (often called the Beau) was originally a heavy fighter variant of the Beaufort torpedo bomber. The Beaufighter proved to be an effective night fighter, which came into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Battle of Britain, its large size allowing it to carry heavy armament and interception radar without major performance penalties. The aircraft was used in many roles, receiving the nicknames Rockbeau for its use as a rocket-armed ground attack aircraft and Torbeau as a torpedo bomber against Axis shipping. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also made extensive use of the type as an anti-shipping aircraft, such as during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in the Southwest Pacific. Beaufighter squadrons were spread across all the theatres of WWII operations. From home bases, through northwest Europe, North Africa, Malta, and the Mediterranean, to the Far East and southwest Pacific, the Beaufighter served far and wide, as did the crews of the RAF, RAAF, SAAF, and New Zealand, American and Canadian squadrons that flew them, also heavily relying on the mobile ground crews that kept them operational. At the end of the evening after a Q&A session Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker

Thursday 8th February 2024.

The 8th February 2024 meeting was very well attended, when Group Captain Jock Heron OBE gave us an illustrated show titled: Rolls Royce Olympus Engine and the RAF Avro Vulcan. Jock Heron gave an excellent in-depth talk covering the history and design of this Iconic jet engine. The Rolls-Royce Olympus was the world's second two-spool axial-flow turbojet aircraft engine design, first run in May 1950 and preceded only by the Pratt & Whitney J57, first-run in January 1950. It is best known as the powerplant of the Avro Vulcan and later models in Concorde. The design dates to a November 1946 proposal by Bristol Aeroplane Company for a jet-powered bomber, powered by four new engines which would be supplied by Bristol Aero Engines. Although their bomber design was ultimately cancelled in favour of the other V bombers, the engine design's use of twin-spool layout led to continued interest from the Air Ministry and continued development funding. The engine first ran in 1950 and quickly outperformed its design goals. Initially used in the Vulcan, later versions added reheat for use in the supersonic BAC TSR-2. Bristol Aero Engines merged with Armstrong Siddeley Motors in 1959 to form Bristol Siddeley Engines Limited (BSEL), which in turn was taken over by Rolls-Royce in 1966. Through this period the engine was further developed as the Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 for Concorde. Whilst Concorde was in development the Olympus 593 was tested on various Vulcan ex-bombers that were modified as flying test bed aircraft. The last Flying (preserved) Avro Vulcan XH558 finally flew on the 15 May 2015, this was truly the last flight of an aircraft powered by such engines. Although a couple of preserved (non-airworthy) Vulcans in the UK potentially can still be used for fast taxi runs at public events. However the Olympus was also developed with success as marine and industrial gas turbines, which were highly successful. Still today, the Olympus (non-aircraft engines) remains in service as both a marine and industrial gas turbine. At the end of the evening after a Q&A session Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker.

Thursday 11th January 2024.

The 11th January 2024 meeting was very well attended, when Howard Parker gave us an illustrated show titled: Vale of Berkeley Railway (VoBR), the talk focused on an update covering the hard work of volunteers since the Heritage Line's beginnings in the summer of 2013 to present day, making them one of the most recent UK Heritage Railways! Howard started with a brief look at the history of the local railway, starting with its construction and opening of the line to Sharpness in 1874, this followed with construction of the Severn Railway Bridge making the original docks line even busier. For many years until the Severn Bridge disaster in 1960 the line, operating as a main line, was busy. After the bridge disaster traffic to the docks continued but with the popularity of road transport rising and the Beeching era of cuts the line sadly declined leaving overgrown sidings and infrastructure in many places. However the branch line is still active, seeing some parts still used occasionally, thanks to the railhead at Berkeley that is part owned by the nuclear industry. Fast forward to 2013 and a new UK Heritage railway emerges, based in the old Engine Shed at Sharpness Docks, with a very long-term aim of preserving and running heritage trains on the branch line. Howard outlined the hard work done by the VoBR volunteers and members now seeing a 3rd of the membership active in volunteering which is a great accolade. The railway is now making a large step towards the full-time occupation of the un-used Oldminster Sidings, and later they will be vacating the Engine Shed at the docks. The sidings have needed a lot of work so far, seeing vegetation clearance from the overgrown track bed taking place, and establishing vehicle access, with plans to also provide welfare facilities in full swing (known as phase 1a). Then construction of a large shed with road/rail loading/unloading facility (phase 1b - in current planning), this shed will be used for restoration of railway vehicles and equipment, as the VoBR base. After this many further phases are planned. The speaker also focused on how the heritage railway has connected with many community groups and societies such as Wings and Wheels Society. The VoBR offer opportunities from "hands on site to administration work" for people from all walks of life to help restore the Sharpness Branch line. With Phase 1 now well underway, they need an increasing number of volunteers to help with all the different aspects of the heritage project. Howard emphasised they are especially keen to welcome members from the local community and encourage people to join them. To become a member and/or volunteer please visit: At the end of the evening after a Q&A session Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker and Railway.

Thursday 14th December 2023.

The 14th of December 2023 meeting was well attended, when Ian and Jill Thomas did an illustrated show titled: The Great Britain XIV Rail tour and Autumn Steam in the Alsace, showing us images from their travels on the Rly Touring Company's "Great Britain XIV" (No14) nine-day UK tour by steam haulage. And as a two-part evening talk, they also showed us their Autumn steam adventure in Alsace. In April 2022, Jill and Ian decided to do something they had wanted to do for many years and booked on the Railway Touring Company`s Great Britain steam hauled rail tour, mainly featuring steam locomotive LMS 6233 Duchess of Sutherland hauling the tour starting from Kings Cross. Then venturing up the east coast mainline to York for a break and loco change with SR 4-6-2 35018 British India Line, that gave the tour a spirited run to Durham and Newcastle. Speeds of over 85mph were achieved and then into Edinburgh. Day two of the tour saw loco 46115 LMS 4-6-0 Scots Guardsman head out across the Forth Bridge to Perth. They then travelled the Highland mainline with its steep gradients to Aviemore before the final push to Inverness. Day three saw the tour head back south with Loco 46115 again. A stop at Aviemore and then on south to Stirling. Day four and a circular trip with loco 35018 again via Mossend, Carstairs, and the Edinburgh suburban line (freight only) into Waverley. A brief stop and then across the Forth via Kirkcaldy, Alloa and back to Stirling. Day five and with 46115 back at the helm took them back into England via Carlisle. Here a loco change would see LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 45690 Leander to take them via the Cumbrian coastline to Grange Over Sands. Day six and now double heading with Leander and fellow LMS loco classmate 45596 Bahamas to Preston and on to Chester for a break, and then onwards to Cardiff. Day seven and with 6233 back up front, they continued through the Severn Tunnel, down the Avon valley to join the Berks & Hants to Taunton and Plymouth. Then onwards across the Tamar onto Penzance. The final tour day saw them retrace their steps back to Bristol and on to Reading where they alighted and caught the service train back to Stroud. Totalling 1,886 miles behind steam and 2074 miles in total making the epic 9-day tour complete. The second part of the evenings show saw them travel to the Alsace on another Railway Touring Company tour in October 2022. The tour took them to the famous wine-making region in full autumn splendour. Travelling by rail, and on preserved steam trains, this holiday covered parts of eastern France, and crossed the border to the Black Forest in Germany. The route included many unique railways. One such railway, was the Thur Doller Alsace line. Later they crossed over the French border into the Black Forest of Germany, to visit the Kandertalbahn, line located on the very tip of Southern Germany, near Basel. Then then had a visit to "The Cité du Train" (Train City), situated in Mulhouse, France, this is one of the ten largest railway museums in the world. Featuring mainly French steam, diesel, and electric locomotives on show. They also visited the vibrant city of Colmar, where they explored the region on a privately chartered steam train on the forest railway in nearby Lorraine. As a bonus, most of the steam railways they visited on the tour did train "run pasts" for the group's photographers, making it a very special tour. At the end of the evening after a Q&A session Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker.

Thursday 9th November 2023.

Thursday 9th November 2023 meeting was very well attended When Jack Boskett did a show titled: "Britain's Railways Through the Lens". Since 2010 Jack has been taking photos professionally for many Railway Network Operating Companies and Heritage lines, as well as other subjects such as the Royal Family, often making the most of an alternative viewpoint. Tonight's 2-part show saw Jack show many high-quality images along with a few video clips, often with fascinating stories and lots of humour. He also explained how he regularly travels across the UK to follow different rail steam and diesel hauled excursions and movements, including assisting, and joining many photographic charters. He is also a volunteer engine fireman on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway. Jack also discussed his passion for O Gauge (7mm) modelling. Jack's railway photography is frequently published in magazines and journals, and he is much in demand as one of the country's leading railway photographers. Some of the images that he showed to us had been converted to Black and White often adding extra atmosphere to the photograph. He also showed us fantastic night time images taking by using a tripod and long exposures. Sometimes Jack with the help of friends and family often embarks on photo shoots for his own folio and magazines that involved using horses and riders racing trains, and female models and friends in a St Trinians photo shoot! He explained how these projects take up a lot of time cost and planning. Some of his photos also feature his own classic car an Austin 1300, often using mirrors and reflections to create unique railway images. He ended the evening's entertainment by focusing on the May 2023 Kings Coronation where Jack was in the set of Royal Photographers chosen to cover this event for the UK and World press, this was a great insight into the professional photographer's work. At the end of the evening after a Q&A session Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker. To learn more about Jack and his work please visit Jacks web site by clicking here.

Thursday 12th October 2023.

Thursday 12th October 2023 meeting was very well attended, When Alan Pickford from "The People's Mosquito Project" talked about this UK based, not-for-profit Aircraft restoration project & registered charity, with one clear aim, to return a De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB.VI to the skies above Britain for the first time in more than 75 years. The evenings talk covered the history of the Mosquito, and the build progress so far. The Evening started with a look at the history of this iconic aircraft. By the early 1930's de Havilland had built a reputation for innovative high-speed aircraft with the DH.88 Comet racer. Later, the DH.91 Albatross airliner pioneered the composite wood construction used for the Mosquito. By the mid-1930's in response to the Air Ministry's requirement for a new bomber, the De Havilland company came up with a small twin-engine aircraft of composite wood construction. The Ministry rejected the proposal in 1938, believing a wooden aircraft to be unacceptable, but de Havilland continued design work, and such was the support of the "Air Member for Research and Development" that an order for 50 machines was placed on 1st March 1940. The name Mosquito was approved, and the first prototype took to the air on 25th November 1940 with Geoffrey De Havilland at the controls. By this time the need for fighters had become pressing, and a prototype fighter version was produced, it's first flight taking place on 15th May 1941. The Mosquito entered service with the RAF in early 1942 and was used initially on low-level daylight raids across the Channel. It was soon found that the machine possessed the internal capacity and power to carry four times the 1000 lb bomb load originally envisaged and that its speed proved decisive in outpacing enemy fighters. Bomber Command Mosquitoes flew over 28,000 operational sorties for the loss of only 193 aircraft. Operational roles included air defence of the UK, night intrusion over Europe, bomber stream escort, and pathfinders, with the aircraft also being deployed extensively in the Mediterranean. No fewer than 27 versions of the Mosquito saw service with the armed forces of 19 countries. Total aircraft production was 7,781 with 5007 being built in the UK (the last machine being completed in 1950) and the remainder in Australia and Canada under licence. Some 30 examples survive at museums around the world. 3 to 4 flying new build aircraft are also owned by wealthy individuals in the USA, manufactured in New Zealand. Only one fully original Mosquito based in Canada is operational today. However, these aircraft would not be permitted to fly in the UK by the CAA today. The Peoples Mosquito Project is building the first De Havilland Mosquito in the UK for more than 70 years and is quite an undertaking and has UK CAA approval. Alan Pickford explained how the project started and where it is now, including the projects relationship with world-renowned aircraft restoration company Retrotec Ltd. With worldwide public support, the project is currently moving forward with the fuselage production. Other components including wing spars and cockpit instrument panels have already been manufactured. The Project has more than 22,300 original De Havilland Mosquito technical drawings that are being used to produce computer-aided design drawings and profiles to assist in the current and upcoming work. With donations and numbers of shareholders growing it is potentially possible for this aircraft to be flying as early as 2027! Please visit for more information. At the end of the evening Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker, a donation was also made to the Project from monies raised during the show.

Thursday 11th May 2023.

Thursday 11th May 2023 meeting was very well attended, When A Celebration Show illustrating 20 years of our Society took place, with an Aviation & Rail extravaganza. Rich Kelsey presented an illustrated review of 20 years of the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, also Rail Historian, Ian Thomas did an illustrated talk showing us local railway lines and passenger services that succumbed to the Beeching Axe, 60 years ago in 1963. The Evening started off with Rich Kelsey giving an overview of our Society, mainly focusing on what has been achieved over the past 20 years of meetings and facility visits, he also discussed the total funds that we have donated to various charities in this time. Then Speaker Ian Thomas delivered an excellent illustrated talk covering local Railway Lines and Services that succumbed to the Beeching cuts 60 years ago. Many local railways such as the Stroud Valley Auto Train, Sharpness Branch line Passenger services and some previously unseen images of the Tetbury and Cirencester branch lines were shown to name but a few. After a short break Mr Kelsey took us on a high-octane photographic review of the Royal International Air Tattoo shows from 2002 to 2022. The speaker started off with showing many heritage and military aircraft that are no longer operational, he also focused on the 100 Years of powered flight themed show in 2003. Rich also focused on the weather, especially in 2008 when he photographed the aircraft arriving and departing with no show days in between as they were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. The show covered many highlights seeing the RAF Red Arrows in formation with a F117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft, Avro Vulcan, BOAC liveried 747 and lots of other pairings that will probably never be seen in the UK skies again. Rich also showed us exciting sets of images such as a Dutch F16, Swiss F18 Hornet, Polish MiG-29, and Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 (on separate occasions) doing barrel rolls with afterburners on! The show ended with a look at last year's 2022 Air Tattoo that took place in a heatwave! At the end of the meeting there was a Q&A session with the speakers, then Dave Lamb gave a vote of thanks to the speakers. Also, during the evening 2 funding donations were made to SVTEC (Stroud Vintage Transport & Engine Club) and Teckles Animal Sanctuary.

Thursday 13th April 2023.

Thursday 13th April 2023 meeting was very well attended, When Ian Boskett presented a show titled: The Great Train Robbery. The Speaker gave an illustrated talk on how money was stolen from the Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London in 1963. Ian also showed us an actual demonstration on how the actual Signal was tampered with to stop the mail train by using bolt croppers a gardening glove (over a light bulb), and use of a 12-volt battery. All demonstrated in the show with a similar Signal from Ian's collection of rail memorabilia. The speaker discussed the history of the Robbery carefully respecting the victims and reminding us through the evenings show that the hideous non-heroic crime was based on violence, corruption, criminal egos' and lies! At 18:50 on Wednesday 7th August 1963 the travelling post office (TPO) train set off from Glasgow Central station en route to London Euston. The train was hauled by English Electric Type 4 (later Class 40) diesel electric locomotive D326 (later 40 126). The train consisted of 12 carriages and carried 72 Post Office staff who sorted mail during the journey. This mail train carried a lot of money destined for the bank of England (after a busy bank holiday weekend). The robbery of £2.3 million (about £30 million today) would take place on the West Coast Main Line, at Bridego Railway Bridge Ledburn, near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire. To do this the criminal gang tampered with lineside signals to bring the train to a halt, and then subsequent splitting of the train to move the targeted coaches hauled by D326 further down the line to the planned unloading point (of the money in post office sacks) into a lorry. During the robbery the gang of 15, led by Bruce Reynolds, violently attacked the train staff. Gang members included Gordon Goody, Buster Edwards, Charlie Wilson, Roy James, John Daly, Jimmy White, Ronnie Biggs, Tommy Wisbey, Jim Hussey, Bob Welch, and Roger Cordrey, as well as three other men Harry Smith and Danny Pembroke. And a retired train driver, was also present. With careful planning based on inside information from an individual known as "The Ulsterman", whose real identity has never been established, the robbers escaped with over £2.3 million. The bulk of the stolen money was never recovered. The gang did not use any firearms however Jack Mills, the train driver, was beaten over the head with a metal bar. Mills suffered serious head injuries. After his partial recovery, he returned to work doing light duties. He retired in 1967 and died in 1970 due to an unrelated illness. He never overcame the trauma of the robbery. Also, his second man David Whitby was badly beaten in the raid and never worked again. After the robbery, the gang hid at Leatherslade Farm. The police found this hideout, and incriminating evidence, a monopoly board with fingerprints, led to the eventual arrest and conviction of most of the gang. The ringleaders and others such as corrupt solicitors etc were sentenced up to 30 years in prison. At the end of the meeting there was a Q&A session and Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 9th March 2023.

Wings & Wheels Society Dursley: Thursday 9th March 2023 meeting was well attended, when Steam locomotive driver Chris Smith presented a traditional slide show titled "Cheltenham to Swindon 2 routes by train" the talk focused on the ex-Midland and South Western Junction Railway (M&SWJR) & Great Western Railway (GWR) routes from Cheltenham to Swindon, using his own photos, and other authors images from the 1920's & 1960's to present day. Chris's show started with his own photos taken in the 1960's in the Cheltenham area, this area, in its day, had 5 stations and a further 2 others on the outskirts that included the Racecourse. He also covered a detailed past look at the Gloucester rail area, including the Docks, Stations, and Engine sheds, mainly in the last days of steam and at the start of dieselisation. Throughout the show the speaker discussed the history of the 2 routes starting with the M&SWJR. This was originally an independent railway built to form a north–south link between the Midland Railway and the London and South Western Railway, allowing the Midland and other company's trains to reach the port of Southampton. The M&SWJR was formed in 1884 from the amalgamation of the Swindon, Marlborough, and Andover Railway and the Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway. The line was absorbed by the Great Western Railway at the 1923 grouping of the railways and became part of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. The uniqueness of the line (nick named The Tiddly Dyke or The Milky Way!) regularly saw Ex SR loco types such as U Class 2-6-0's arrive at Cheltenham until the early 1960's. The M&SWJR had its own station in Swindon (named Swindon Town) this was cited in the old town area about one and a half miles from the Great Western Railway's Swindon Junction station. The line into Swindon from Cirencester Watermoor station and the Blunsdon/Cricklade area passed through Swindon by crossing under and then over GWR main lines into the Town. The railway closed to passengers in 1961, and to goods between 1964 and 1970. However, a small part of this line has been preserved as the Swindon and Cricklade Railway. The Stroud valley route was covered in the Second part of the evening. The Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway was a railway company that intended to link Cheltenham to Swindon. It was authorised in 1836 but it found it very hard to raise money for the construction, and it opened only a part of its line, between Swindon and Cirencester. However in 1841 it sold its business to the GWR, which quickly built the line through to Gloucester and Cheltenham in 1845. From 1903 the route introduced railmotors, small, self powered coaches, that enabled the opening of numerous low cost passengers stopping places. Chris also covered the Branch lines from Kemble to Tetbury and Cirencester Town, mainly with images of AC Railbuses working these branch lines. At the end of the meeting there was a Q&A session and Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. A Society donation was also made (via Chris) to the Glos & Warks Railway Trust.

Thursday 9th February 2023.

Thursday 9th February 2023 meeting was very well attended, When Group Captain Jock Heron OBE presented a show titled "The Rich Aviation Heritage of Filton 1910-2013" The Bristol Aeroplane Company and the Royal Air Force. The Speaker gave an illustrated talk on the History of aviation at Filton, from aircraft manufacture in 1910, to its use by the Royal Flying Corps in WW1, Royal Air Force 501 Sqn in WW2, and design and development of many famous aircraft types such as Concorde. Jocks talk covered in depth the aviation industry in Filton Bristol from its beginnings by George White's Aeroplane factory in 1910 that was the first aeroplane factory in Britain to be set up on a commercial basis, that manufactured the famous Bristol Boxkite. It expanded during both World Wars and was the largest aircraft factory of its kind anywhere at the start of the Second World War. Post war manufacturing at Filton also saw Prefabricated AIROH house kits and even Bristol cars built at the factories. In the late 1940's the runway needed to be lengthened for the Bristol Brabazon (Type 167) airliner project, so the Village of Charlton was demolished, Residents homes were compulsory purchased, the government offered Charlton residents the market price for their homes and offered rehousing in Patchway, which many took up to retain community links. Post war years Filton again became home to No. 501 Squadron RAF, which was reformed in May 1946 as a Royal Auxiliary Air Force Day-fighter squadron equipped with Spitfire XVI (LF)'s. These were followed in 1948 by de Havilland Vampire's, 501 Squadron continued at Filton until it was disbanded in March 1957. Filton was also home to the Bristol University Air Squadron as part of 62 Group. Initially flying de Havilland Tiger Moths, these were replaced Chipmunk T10 trainers and later Bulldog aircraft. In the 1950s and early 60's, Filton was also designated as a V bomber dispersal base. During the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962) Avro Vulcan V bombers were at Filton and kept at 'immediate readiness' status with engines idling. From the late 1970's onwards Filton was also used for aircraft refits including F-111's and VC-10 Tanker conversions. The Runway was closed in 2012 as a commercial decision, but to this day the factories are still very much alive, both in aircraft and engine design and component production, as well as innovation in space and missile technology. Jock Concluded that considering all this together, the history of the aviation industry at Filton must be one of the most fascinating and exciting aeronautical stories in the world! At the end of the meeting there was a Q&A session and Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. A donation was also made to the Bristol Aerospace Museum.

Thursday 12th January 2023.

Thursday 12th January 2023 meeting was well attended, When James Rendell presented an illustrated show titled 'Cry Havoc and Let slip the Dogs of War' looking at his time as an RAF Police Dog Handler in the volatile Cold War era of the 1950's, protecting IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles). The speakers talk covered humorous and interesting stories from his 2 years of National Service. As a young man he went into the RAF for his basic training (of approximately 20 days), after this he was offered a few roles to choose from to complete his short RAF career, these were tasks from Administration to Driving or the RAF Police, James volunteered for the Police and was accepted. His RAF Police training was sometimes gruelling with discipline being harsh, however comradery was good. The 6 month training finally led him to be a Dog Handler which he enjoyed, this would be providing security for the, then, new Thor IRBM bases in the UK (known as project Emily that ran from 1959 to 1963). The bases also kept the all-important thermonuclear warheads that were the equivalent of 1.44 megatons of TNT each, the missile systems were all manufactured in the USA, and flown in via transport planes such as the USAF C-124 Globemaster. On completion of training, James's deployment in the late 1950's was at RAF Driffield located in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The dog handler was responsible for training and looking after his own animals. James was appointed 2 dogs they were Named and RAF Numbered Gypsy No.5066 and Sadie No.4158, each dog also had their number tattooed on its ear. On the base at Driffield there were also Bristol Bloodhound missiles (a ramjet powered surface to air missile developed during the 1950's) these would be used to defend the base from aerial attack if needed. The Security of the UK Thor bases was paramount, seeing the Police dog handler work roster complete 6-hour shifts of outdoor patrolling on and off for 24 hours a day 7 days a week even in sub zero winter temperatures. James also had an RAF Police Triumph 500cc motorcycle that he would use on the base, sometimes giving the dogs a lift individually, which they always enjoyed! The speaker was very fond of his patrol dogs but explained off the lead and doing their job they would be relentlessly efficient and very aggressive if needed. After James National Service ended, although he liked dogs, he never had one as a pet. Although years later he bought a restored RAF Police 500cc Triumph Motorcycle that he still owns and has shown it at classic vehicle events. At the end of the meeting there was a Q & A session and Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 8th December 2022.

Thursday 8th December 2022 meeting was well attended, When Roger Cooper presented an illustrated show titled 'Leicester's Space Rockets from 1961 to 1970's the show covered the British Skylark Rocket Programme involving University of Leicester Space Research Group, which launched many scientific experiments on the UK's Rocket programme. The speakers talk covered historical technical information and humorous stories about his time on this space rocket programme. Roger explained how he become involved in such a project from an apprenticeship in electronics that lead him into specialist research work through the University of Leicester Space Research and Astronomy Group. Skylark development started in the early 1950's at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, which approached the Royal Society with an offer for it to carry scientific experiments. During early 1955, the British government agreed to provide financial support the programme's operations. Development of the Skylark was pursued at a rapid pace. On 7 April 1956, the existence of the Skylark rocket was publicly revealed under the early name of Gassiot vehicle. Launch facilities were established at the existing Woomera missile range in Australia, seeing the first Skylark rockets produced in Britain and transported to Australia for final assembly, testing, and launching. The rocket was first launched on 13 February 1957, and the first scientific mission occurred during April 1958, quickly becoming regarded as a valuable platform for various fields of research. Most launches until the mid 1970's would be from Woomera, although other launch sites would later be used also in Spain. Skylark was used by the UK Leicester University team for space astronomy, possessing the ability to point at the Sun, Moon, or a star. It was used to obtain the first good quality X-ray images of the solar corona. In 1963 alone, a total of 14 experiments relating to solar physics were conducted, the frequency of Skylark launches peaked at 20 during 1965 (from Woomera), a total of 198 flights took place between 1957 and 1978. During the mid 1960's, a key form of the stabilised payload system was introduced; as Skylark was designed as a fin stabilised rocket, there was no guidance once outside of the atmosphere, causing the vehicle to tumble and spin. The new stabilisation system used a pair of gyroscopes connected to thermionic amplifiers to appropriately actuate a series of control valves. By February 1967, the tenth anniversary of the Skylark's first launch, 157 launches had been performed, carrying more than 300 scientific experiments. The first X-ray surveys of the sky in the Southern Hemisphere were provided by Skylark launches. The British government opted to terminate its support of the programme in 1978, with responsibility for Skylark being turned over to British Aerospace. The Skylark Rocket was about half a metre in diameter and approximately 13 metres tall. The original version was propelled by 840 kilograms of solid fuel, which enabled 45 kilograms to be launched to an altitude of over 120 miles. By the 1970's Improvements were made to the engine and the use of a booster increased the payload to 200 kilograms, by 1976 it could reach about 200 miles in altitude. Some components and experiments were often recovered and reused if the parachute system was deployed, each total flight time was about 12 to 15 minutes. The Rocket had a launch success rate of greater than 90%, which was very good. The rocket was designed as analogue unit but by the mid 1970's digital technology was also used. The Skylark was undoubtably the longest and most successful UK rocket programme of its kind. Today There are many Skylark Rocket's on show in Museums and Universities from Woomera Missile Park Australia to The National Space Centre in Leicester. At the end of the show there was a Q&A session and Rich Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. A donation was also made to the Local Air Ambulance which was received by Andy Markham.

Thursday 10th November 2022.

Thursday 10th November 2022 meeting was very well attended, When Ian Thomas and Rich Kelsey presented an illustrated show titled '50th Anniversary of the End of BR Steam 1968-2018' this covered the final days of British Railway's Steam hauled Traction in 1968 and the 50th Anniversary events in 2018. The show was delivered in 2 parts, firstly covering the last few months of British Railways Steam in 1968. The photos in this section were mostly taken by Gilroy Kerr and Fred Winter, these images were scanned and restored from colour slides and black and white negatives. The End of BR Steam is mainly thought of as three key dates, which Gilroy and Fred covered as actually being there, the dates being, 3rd August 1968, The last 'normal' timetabled day of full scale steam services. This date saw crowds of rail enthusiasts gathered at the remaining Northwest steam depots with gricers desperate to get one last look at these final steam locomotives in action. On this day several loco types, mainly 8Fs and Black 5s, worked out of Carnforth and Rose Grove depots on freight services, seeing some locos being withdrawn at the end of that day. 4th August 1968, The official final day of steam services. Hailed as the last day of steam by British Rail, this was the last day of "normal" steam locomotive workings. Enthusiasts once again descended upon the Northwest for workings that included six 'Farwell to Steam' specials that ran through Lancashire on the day. 11th August 1968, The Fifteen Guinea Special (1T57) Final Mainline passenger service. Occurring one week after the 'official' end of steam date, British Rail ran a one off special working on the national network, 'The Fifteen Guinea Special', the name pertaining to the high cost of tickets, roughly £275 with present day inflation. The excursion began at Liverpool Lime Street, headed to Manchester Victoria and then on to Carlisle over the Settle-Carlisle route. The train was hauled by a total of four different locomotives, three Black 5s 45110, 44781, and 44871 as well as Britannia Class 70013 'Oliver Cromwell'. All but one of the locos has been preserved since 1968. 44781 was used in filming The Virgin Soldiers and subsequently scrapped after a failed preservation attempt. Also a couple of the Mk1 BR coaches from IT57 still survive today and are in use on the East Lancs Railway. The second part of the show focused on the End of BR Steam 50th anniversary celebrations. This section started with Wings members Nick Clarke, Rob Stopford and Rich visiting the Great Central Railway on the 11-8-2018. This 1968 end of BR Steam Anniversary gala saw all Steam locos (Black 5, 8F and BR Standards) in action, these were re numbered for the gala to represent the last steam days in 1968, along with BR Britannia No 70013 Oliver Cromwell. Many of the farewell to steam rail tours were recreated. Meanwhile on the same day Jill, Ian and Gilroy boarded the Pathfinder Tour special, that ran from Bristol over Shap, and the Settle-Carlisle route hauled by A4 Union of South Africa from Crewe, however the weather in early August was very hot and saw a mainline steam ban but permission was granted to use steam locomotives on the mainline network as long as they had a diesel in front of train doing some of the work, to prevent lineside fires. At the end of the show there was a Q&A session and Dave Lamb gave a vote of thanks to the speakers.

Thursday 13th October 2022.

Thursday 13th October 2022 meeting was well attended, Group Captain Jock Heron OBE presented a show titled 'My Favourite Jet Fighter' Jocks illustrated talk covered details and various stories about his Favourite Jet Fighters, including early Pioneering designs, and his experiences of flying the RAF's Vampire Meteor and the USAF Sabre, to name a few. Jocks talk started with his early RAF days of training flying the Jet Provost and Vampire, eventually moving on to the Hawker Hunter that was his first favourite Jet, these were operated with hydraulic controls. As a schoolboy he saw early types of Hunters and Sabres which inspired him to become a pilot. In later years Jock completed 1200 flying hours in Hunters. Jock considered himself very lucky to fly many different types of jet fighters including English Electric Lightnings and French Dassault Mirage's. He also really enjoyed flying the Harrier Jump Jet that he discussed later. Jock recalled display flying in front of dignitaries, this including shooting 30mm shells at targets made up of early types of withdrawn Hunters on the ground. Whilst on exchange and aircraft evaluation with the French Airforce Jock flew the Mirage 3 that he found out to be a good all round jet fighter. The Mirage 3 could fly up to 70,000ft with rocket assist, this was quite something in its day. In 1965 Jock was posted on another exchange to Nellis AFB in the United States where he flew variants of the mighty F105 Republic Thunderchief, these types included using improved radar with many modes that would be used in the Vietnam conflict. Looking back at older jets such as the F86 Sabre Navy variant the FJ4 Fury, this was a very different aero dynamic jet to fly (compared to other jet design), Jock was fortunate to be at the end of Sabre Service party and was given the chance to fly one! and yes, he certainly did. Jock flew many sorties in Harries in the Cold War days whilst based in what was then West Germany, he discussed the technical details of how capable the RAF and Navy Harriers were in UK service, he also covered details on the US Marines AV8B (American variant) and how our country's budget restrictions, strategy changes, including looking for new replacement aircraft for a new type of aircraft carrier seen the end of RAF & RN Harriers service in November 2011. After the talk, Mr Lamb gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. Funds raised from the evenings show were also donated to the Aerospace Bristol Museum via Jock Heron.

Thursday 12th May 2022.

Thursday 12th May meeting was very well attended, when MAF Pilot Steve Machell plus John & Mary Porter presented a show titled "MAF – an insight of Mercy Aircraft Operations" this was a fascinating and in some cases emotional talk from MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) covering the operation of their 128 aircraft that fly over remote jungles, mountains, swamps, and deserts delivering aid, medical care & emergency relief to some of the remotest places on earth, making the impassable possible! The talk was introduced by John Porter, who talked about his lifelong fascination with Aircraft, and involvement with MAF. The foundations of the fellowship started just after World War 2 when ex RAF and other pilots that used to fly sorties in the war decided to put their newfound flying skills to delivering aid to remote areas in Africa. At first, they trialled a Miles Messenger aircraft that sadly was lost, however a Dragon Rapid was soon used to deliver aid, this aircraft proved useful and so the MAF had started. John's wife Mary is also involved with fund raising for the Fellowship. The second part of the evening saw MAF Pilot Steve Machell describe with videos and photographs the aircraft operations mainly in Africa, Chad, Kenya, and the Congo. Steve had spent the last 2 years flying missions in Chad, he described how rugged and difficult the airstrips are to use, using the aircraft GPS and dead reckoning, along with high and low passes to access slope surface obstacles and air strip length, before landing in a remote area. He also described that how they keep Safety and Security a No1 priority in such difficult climates. Steve had flown many aircraft types for MAF but recently was flying a Cessna 208 Caravan for MAF operations. He also described how the worldwide Mission fleet of 128 aircraft fly thousands of people and tonnes of cargo and medical supplies above treacherous jungles and deserts making normal life possible when roads turn to liquid and killers stalk the highways. A lot of these flights flown are also an emergency service when people are in severe pain or food is in short supply. Pilots such as Steve also fly in spiritual leaders and health professionals to remote villages that are in some cases at war with neighbouring cultures and towns, these people normally can mediate and pathe the way to end hostility with tribes and produce long term benefits to enable better living conditions. One such a remote airstrip the Pilot discussed was at Korr in Kenya, the airstrip was built by the Catholic Mission, who with MAF have worked with solving issues between nearby warring tribes due to land disputes for cattle grazing on small areas of arable land. Steve and other Pilots flew in aid and envoys to try and resolve this conflict, with MAF finally getting the tribes to make peace and work together. After the talk, Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speakers. Funds raised from the evenings show were donated MAF.

Thursday 14th April 2022.

Thursday 14th April meeting was well attended, especially as it was our Society's first face-to-face meeting in 25 months since Covid lockdowns. When Rail Author and Photographer Paul Woollard gave us a high-quality well put together and narrated photographic documentary show, to accompany his latest book 'South Wales Railways in the Millennium' Featuring images from the 1990's to present day. The author is a well-known Gloucestershire rail enthusiast and photographer and can often be seen gricing in our Gloucestershire locality with his sons Charlie and Thomas. In the 1990s Paul also spent a lot of time researching, planning, and then photographing mainly freight trains on the South Wales main lines and often steeply graded remote branch lines. The evenings show was full of these well thought out excellent landscape photos, nicely enlarged by digital projection for the evening, these images showed much more than just a locomotive and its train, Paul narrated the history and stories of each photographed area. The images ranged from such scenic landscapes as Yastrad Mynach in the Rhymney Valley to the bleakness of Cwmbargoed Open Cast Coal Mine that once supplied coal to Aberthaw power station, and then later the massive industrial Port Talbot steel works that dwarfed the freight trains in the shot. One of the photos shown in the evening from the speaker's book was the River Neath Swing Bridge with an historic old lightship (Light Vessel No72) decaying in the foreground that took part in the D-day landings near Normandy. The main motive power photographed in the 1990's was Pauls favourites English Electric Class 37s working in single and multiple scenarios. Many other types of diesels were also featured including Classes 50, 56 and 60. Pauls show also captured a feeling of a bygone era, photographing branch lines in their last days of operation, in particular the cover shot from his book - the last ever working freight train from Cwm-mawr to Coedbach in March 1996. It was also clear to say (as the speaker noted) that looking back now Paul was certainly in his element photographing this project, many of the locomotives and lines, including the industry's covered especially in the 1990's has now disappeared often without a trace. At the end of the evenings talk there was a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 10th March 2022

Thursday 10th March Online meeting was very well attended, when Railway Enthusiast Ian Thomas delivered an excellent and entertaining illustrated talk titled: Steam in the Balkans, showing a recent Bulgarian steam hauled Rail Holiday with his wife Jill in September 2019. The tour started in Sofia the Capital of Bulgaria, where they enjoyed a vintage tram tour of the city, the old green tram they travelled on was nicknamed the cucumber! The next day they boarded their tour train that was made up of coaches that had been previously owned by King Boris the 3rd of Bulgaria. The tour was mainly steam hauled and would take them to the Black Sea Port of Burgas via Mezdra and other steeply graded routes. The standard gauge locomotives they were hauled by at different sections of the tour were as follows: No 01.23 a Swiss-built loco 2-8-2 (Mikado), No 16.27 a 2-10-0 Deutsche Reichsbahn Class 42 steam (Kriegslok type) locomotive built in 1948, and finally on the return leg of the tour to Sofia the train was hauled by the biggest and most powerful tank engine in Europe no 46.03 a 2-12-4 nicknamed "Grand - Mother Bear"! built in 1931. Also one of the highlights of the tour was a steam and diesel hauled trip on Bulgaria's last remaining narrow gauge (760mm) line from Septemvri to Dobrinishte (at 834m), known as the Alpine Railway reaching the summit enroute at Avramovo station situated at 1267 meters above sea level, this is the highest station in the Balkans. The steam locomotive used for this was number 609.76 that is a 2-10-2 Tank Engine built in 1931, the Diesel engines that also work the line were all built in Romania in the 1980's. Ian and Jill also visited a few locomotive depots during the trip, these held an interesting mix of traction that included ex British Rail class 86 and 87 Electric locomotives that are still in service to this day. At the end of the evenings talk there was a Q and A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 10th February 2022

Thursday 10th February Online meeting was very well attended, when Alan Freke delivered a fascinating talk entitled: "The History of the GWR Badminton Line", illustrated with photographs and stories from the 33-mile length section of mainline from its construction in 1903 to the present day. Early in 1896 the Great Western Railway promoted a Parliamentary Bill for a line from Wootton Bassett to Patchway, this was finally passed in an act of Parliament in July 1896. At 33 miles in length the line would reduce the South Wales to London journey by ten miles. It would also by pass the Box and Wootton Bassett tunnels and inclines and relieve the heavy congestion between Bathampton and Bristol, that originally the GWR considered quadrupling the line, however this plan was rejected as not possible to build. A contract for the main part of the construction of the Badminton line was let to Pearson & Son Limited on 21 October 1897 for £986,000. In today's money the estimated equivalent would be £98,000,000! The construction would be done by modern mechanical means, also a new brick works was built near Stoke Gifford that would make an estimated 50 million bricks for the new viaducts and buildings along the line. The line was built as standard guage and opened in 1903 by the Great Western Railway forming the eastern section of the South Wales Main Line. It was engineered to high standards with gentle gradients and large radius curves and was correspondingly expensive to construct for its day. The new line between London and South Wales was considerably easier to work over, enabling an acceleration of the express trains by 25 minutes, and allowing much greater loads to be carried by the coal trains from Stoke Gifford. However the gradients in the Severn Tunnel remained the limiting factor on this express route. From Wootton Bassett Junction the lines gradient fell generally at 1 in 300 to Little Somerford, then climbing at the same gradient to Badminton, after that the line fell at 1 in 300 through Sodbury Tunnel and on to Stoke Gifford. 10 stations were also originally opened on the line including Little Somerford that passengers could change for Great Somerford station that in 1903 was on the separate Dauntsey to Malmesbury branch line, however this line was also connected by a spur to the Badminton line in the 1930's. The Badminton section of line even today is part of the principal route between South Wales and London, and still carries heavy main line freight and passenger services. All intermediate stations were closed in the 1960's, but in 1971 Bristol Parkway station was opened, and now remains the only passenger station on this section of the line. Electrification of the line in 2017 was later completed thus enabling even higher speeds to be achieved, along with more train paths available. At the end of the evenings talk there was a Q and A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 13th January 2022

Thursday 13th January Online meeting was very well attended when Author William Fairney delivered a fascinating illustrated talk titled - The life of Avro designer Charles Redrup "The Knife and Fork Man" who designed and built engines for planes cars and bikes from the 1890s. Working for Avro during WW2 he designed the famous spinning drive for the Dam Busters (617 Squadron) reservoir busting bomb. Redrup was born in Newport, Wales in 1878. The Redrup family were wealthy and had 10 children, all of whom received private education. Charles Redrup was interested in engineering from an early age, so his father paid for him to take a 5-year apprenticeship with the Great Western Railway company. After this Redrup took a trip aboard a merchant ship to America, on return to Barry, he entered a partnership with Alban Richards, and set up the Barry Motor Company. Around this time Charles got married and settled in the Barry area with his wife Jessie and had a family of eight children. The Barry Engine first appeared in 1904 , it was a two cylinder supercharged rotary engine. The engine was incorporated in the unusual "Barry" motorcycle, which retained the pedals of a conventional cycle. It was exhibited in London in 1905, attracting a large amount of interest at the time. In 1913 Redrup moved to Leeds where he designed and built engines for Vickers Aircraft Company. In 1919 he designed a three cylinder 309cc radial engine for motorcycles in partnership with Leeds motorcycle builder Monty Beaumont, they produced the "Redrup Radial" from 1919 to 1922. Redrup carried out most of his development work in a basic home workshop, and often said that he made most of his engines with little more than "a knife and fork". He was the inventor of "Wobble-Plate" axial engines, which powered cars and boats in the 1920s. A variant of the engine also flew in a Simmonds Spartan aircraft in 1929. He also designed radial engines for A V Roe. By the 1930's he was engaged by the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company to design what would be known as the Bristol Axial Engine. It was a 7-litre, 9-cylinder, wobble plate type engine. Several variants were used in Bristol buses during the late 1930s. Development was halted in 1936 following a change of management at the Bristol company. During World War II he worked on top secret armament projects for the Avro Lancaster and other aircraft, including the hydraulic drive for the Vickers Type 464 bouncing bomb which was used in Operation Chastise in 1943, he also improved the Lancaster gun turret rotation power mechanism via the use of a small auxiliary wind turbine, very similar to an emergency power supply used in Concorde! After the war he designed more motorcycle and aircraft engines up to 2,000hp. A 3-cylinder Redrup 1948 Radial Motorcycle is preserved in the Sammy Miller Museum. The motorcycle has a version of his radial engine mounted horizontally in a Royal Enfield motorcycle frame and was assembled by Charles and his son. Redrup kept designing engines all his life and finally died in 1961, leaving a legacy of engineering innovation to this day. At the end of the evenings talk there was a Question and Answer session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 9th December 2021

Thursday 9th December Online meeting was well attended When Maritime Historian Paul Barnett presented a show titled: 'Light in the Darkest Hour - Dunkirk's little ships' this is Paul's latest research, it is set amongst the carnage of defeat in 1940 Dunkirk, a flotilla of hope sets sail to assist an Army's determined escape to fight again. Paul started the talk with an overview of how the Dunkirk evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was initiated, and why it happened. In May 1940 Nazi Germany invaded northern France and the Low Countries, General Paul Ludwig von Kleist surprised the Allies by advancing through Luxembourg and into France over the course of five days. France at this point did not have the strength to mount an immediate counteroffensive. By mid May 1940 the Germans cut off various Allied escape ports along the English Channel and quickly shrunk their defensive lines. With Belgium's surrender on May 28 1940, an evacuation of French and British troops from the European mainland became imperative. Operation Dynamo was the rescue operation implemented by the Royal Navy. It was coordinated by Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay and his small team in Dover Castle. There, beneath the fortress, a network of tunnels deep within the cliffs (near a Battery room hence the name Dynamo!) became the nerve centre controlling the evacuation of Allied forces. Naval vessels and hundreds of civilian boats were used in the evacuation, which began on May 26. When it ended on June 4, approximately 198,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian troops had been saved. Before this the Admiralty made an Order requesting all owners of self propelled pleasure craft between 30' and 100' in length to send all particulars to the Admiralty if they have not already been requisitioned, however other smaller vessels including ones that had only sails also joined the flotilla to rescue the troops. The speaker addressed the 3 main evacuation sea lanes that were used (of 39,55 and 87 nautical miles respectively), the complex Dunkirk harbour and beach logistics where also covered in detail. The talk also focused on various vessels and stories of bravery. The Medway Queen, Queen Boadicea II and the smallest sailing vessel Tamzine (at 14.7ft in length) and many other vessels still survive to this day where noted, also discussed where the many ships that were sadly lost with many hands in the evacuation. Note: Also worth mentioning is that other evacuations code named Cycle and Aerial also rescued thousands of other allied forces from locations such as Cherbourg and Le Havre in June 1940. Local elements of the Dunkirk May 1940 story from the vessels used to Admiral William Tennant from Frampton on Severn one of the last to leave Dunkirk, gave the talk a local twist. The show ended with a Q and A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 11th November 2021

Thursday 11th November Online meeting was well attended When speaker Chris Sunman took us on a 'Wings, Wheels in America vol.1 tour' concentrating on the USAF Museum 'Wright Patterson' at Dayton Ohio, this is one of the oldest, largest, and most historic collections of aircraft in the world. It took Chris and his wife Bridgette a few days to visit the museum collection that is housed in 4 massive buildings. One of the main reasons of the visit was the speaker's fascination of the XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic strategic bomber. The evenings illustrated show was shown in 2 parts. The first section was the Wright Brothers first powered flight (that took place very close to the actual museum site) through WW1 &2 and onto the Korean conflict. Part 2 of the evenings show covered Vietnam to the Cold war aircraft and onto aerospace research. The Museum has more than 360 aircraft, many are rare and one-of-a-kind. In addition, there are thousands of historical aviation artifacts. Chris’s show started in Building 1 and started with the story of the Wright brothers first powered flight, along with many interesting details and facts, and also covered details of some very rare WWII-era aircraft including a Northrop P-61C Black widow and a B29 (silver plate type) Superfortress named 'Boxcar' that dropped the Fat Man plutonium nuclear weapon over the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Building 2 included the Korean and Southeast Asia War Galleries with such aircraft as Sabres, Thunderchief and an early B52 example to name a few. In Building 3 the Cold War Gallery put us face-to-face with the massive B-36 Peacemaker that is the largest mass-produced piston-engine aircraft ever built, with a of 230 ft wingspan. This hanger also has a B47 Stratojet and a B58 Hustler among other stunning exhibits. A more recent addition is Building 4, that Chris only managed to gain permission to enter as it was still being prepared for its opening ceremony! This hanger contains Aerospace research, these galleries include some of the world's most iconic aircraft, including the “Air Force One” Boeing 707 that served every U.S. president from Kennedy to Clinton, the XB-70A Valkyrie that Chris had come to see, an X15 that is a 4,520mph hypersonic rocket powered aircraft! Titan IVB space rocket, and an Apollo 15 capsule. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. Also worth noting is that there was a technical fault for some joining Chris Sunman's show this online fault has now been rectified for future shows, the Wings team apologise for this inconvenience.

Thursday 14th October 2021

After a long break due to the covid climate the Wings and Wheels Society Dursley have returned with the first of 5 planned online meetings, this will be the norm until we return to face to face meetings hopefully in spring 2022. Thursday 14th October 2021Wings & Wheels Society Online meeting was well attended; When local Aviation Historian James Rendell gave an illustrated talk titled: 'The World War 2 Airspeed Horsa Glider. The show focused on the stories from the actual pilots and covered design and video footage of the Horsa in action. The Airspeed AS.51 Horsa was a British troop and equipment carrying glider used during the Second World War. It was originally developed as a requirement to carry about 30 paratroopers towed by an aircraft also deploying paratroopers, however thinking eventually evolved into using gliders to land both troops and heavy equipment in the theatre of operations. By 1941 the first 400 Gliders had been manufactured by Airspeed Limited. The Horsa was used for many various missions by the British Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force (RAF), including on an attack on the German Heavy Water Plant in Norway, known as Operation Freshman, and during the invasion of Sicily, known as Operation Husky. Large numbers of Horsa were subsequently used during the opening stages of the Battle of Normandy, being used in the British Operation Tonga and American operations. It was also deployed in quantity during Operation Dragoon, Operation Market Garden, and Operation Varsity. James discussed in detail the personal and heroic stories of veterans involved with the gliders in action, these where Ken Ploughman, Leslie Kershaw and (locally from Uley Gloucestershire) Brigadier Mike Dauncey DSO. These men were involved in many Battles especially Operation Varsity of March 1945, that involved 5,000 aircraft including Horsa Gliders that stretched for 200 miles enroute to the conflict. The Horsa was normally towed by various aircraft: such as the Short Stirling and Handley Page Halifax, also C46 Commando's, as well as the C-47 Skytrain/Dakota (not as often due to the weight of the glider) but In Operation Market Garden, a total of 1,336 C-47s along with 340 Stirling's were employed to tow 1,205 gliders. The gliders were towed with a harness that attached to points on both wings and carried an intercom between tug and glider. The glider pilots were usually from the Glider Pilot Regiment, part of the Army Air Corps (AAC), although Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots were used on occasion. The speaker shoed video footage of many battles involving gliders, and some rare film of experimenting with snatching gliders back from landing to the air, via a rope and aircraft winch system. By the end of the war there were more than 4,000 Horsa's manufactured. In the Post war era, some gliders were used until the early 1950's for evaluation trials. Only a few exist in museums today In 1977 replicas were used in the classic war film'A Bridge Too Far' as static props with only one modified to make a brief hop! This film secured the Gliders historic and iconic image to this day. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 12th March 2020

Thursday 12th March meeting was well attended; When Rail enthusiast and photographer Mike Smith gave an illustrated talk titled: 'The Last days of Steam Rail Traction in Serbia & Bosnia'. The show focused on the more recent 'final sunset' of these locomotives in the Balkans. On a photographic charter tour in 2009 the speaker began his travels to Bosnia photographing the last of Europe's steam locomotives in daily use on mainly coal traffic. The locomotives still in service amounted to approximately five or six different classes mainly on two gauges. Most of the locos still in use were 2-10-0 Class 52 (or known as Class 33) 'Kriegslok's, and smaller locos such as the 0-6-0 tank engine class 62, originally known as USATC S100 class. This class was originally spread across Europe, the concentration in the former Yugoslavia seemed to be large in quantity and this resulted in very similar locomotives being built by the local company Duro Dakovic after WWII. Only a few of the original American locos were still potentially serviceable, all of the others in use were the Duro Dakovic built examples. Mikes night shots of these engines working at night at the Zenica Coal Mine were very atmospheric, and then still a common location for seeing the class 62 hard at work. The Speaker also travelled to the Coal mine at Banovici that features an interchange yard where Skoda built class 19 (0-6-0T) locos hauled coal trains on a daily basis. Mike completed his show with a more recent narrow gauge steam miscellany featuring steam tourist’s railways in the Carpathian Mountains, and more local UK areas including the Lynton and Barnstable Heritage line. The quality of his photography ‘still on 35mm slide film’ was stunning and exceptional. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker

Thursday 13th February 2020

Thursday 13th February meeting was very well attended; When Rail enthusiast and photographer Pete Evans gave an illustrated talk titled: ‘The Last days of UK Industrial Steam Locos’. The show focused on the demise and ‘final sunset’ of UK industrial steam traction from 1964 to 1974, using his own high-quality photographs of locos working in Steel Works, Collieries and Ports of Britain. British Railways steam traction ended in 1968, however there were still industrial steam locomotives in use until the mid 1970’s owned by private contractors, ports, steelworks and the NCB. Many of these locomotives are preserved today, making up the majority of preserved steam locomotives in the United Kingdom. These once hard working small and grimy industrial steam locomotives provided the back bone for some large industries in the UK, until being replaced by other forms of traction. The speaker told interesting and humorous stories from his travels – often photographing less popular, but no less interesting subjects at the time. His travels ranged far and wide taking in industrial landscapes and mainly saddle tanks locos from Welsh Colliery’s such as Mountain Ash, and Ironbridge Power Station to the North East colliery’s and shipyards to name a few. Here Peter always captured excellent high quality images. The Speaker also visited Scotland in search of Industrial Steam sometimes over 5 trips a year. The show ended with the Aberdeen Gasworks Railway (Scottish Gas Board) in the early 1970’s seeing its small 1887 built Hawthorn 0-4-0ST engines withdrawn, with a few making it into preservation. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Lamb gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. Wings and Wheels next meeting is on Thursday 12th March 2020 at 20.00hrs, at Dursley Community Centre GL11 4BX. There will be a change of speaker from John Thomas as previously advertised. When Rail enthusiast and photographer Mike Smith gives an illustrated talk titled: ‘The Last days of Steam Rail Traction in Serbia & Bosnia’. The show will focus on the more recent ‘final sunset’ of steam in the Balkans, featuring Steam hauled trains through Serbia & the very last Kriegslok’s and 0-6-0T USA tank locomotives operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well.

Thursday 9th January 2020

Dursley Wings and Wheels Society Thursday 9th January meeting was very well attended; When Group Captain Jock Heron OBE presented an illustrated talk titled ‘Hawker Jet Fighters’. The show covered his experience of flying the Hunter Harrier, and looked at the history of the company’s jets including the Sea Hawk prototype P.1040 from 1947 to the present day BAE Systems Hawk. Jock discussed the manufacturers Jet era in detail. Hawker Aircraft Ltd was responsible for some of the most famous British aviation achievements mainly designed at the Kingston aircraft factory from 1912 (when they took over Sopwith), and continued design up to 1993. Up until the late 1940’s piston engine powered aircraft was the norm with such famous types being designed such as the Hawker Hurricane Typhon and Tempest. From 1948 Hawker jet designs showed Sydney Camm’s eye for clean lines, and new aircraft entered the jet arena that included the Sea Hawk (1947) and Hunter prototype in 1951. The single-seat Hunter was introduced into regular service by 1954 as a manoeuvrable interceptor aircraft, quickly succeeding first-generation jet fighters in RAF service such as the Gloster Meteor and the de Havilland Venom. By the late 1950’s Jock had flown many hours in Hunters with 43 Squadron. The vertical take-off prototype Kestrel in 1961 was designed by Ralph Hooper, and its derivative the Harrier ordered in 1966, was the world’s first all-jet vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft to enter full RAF service. It was followed by the Sea Harrier for the Royal Navy, and the Harrier II/AV8B, a joint US/UK project in the 1980s. Jock also flew many hours in Harriers from 1973 to 1984. The new Hawk trainer first flew in 1974 and was the last all Hawker design to reach production. Jocks lecture also looked at the Kingston concept aircraft that never flew, these included VTOL and VSTOL designs. Modern day recognition of the Harrier design that was instrumental to the on-going US/UK F-35 Lightning II programme was also discussed. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 12th December 2019

Dursley Wings and Wheels Society Thursday 12th December meeting was very well attended; When speaker aviation author and retired RAF Navigator Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork MBE, gave an illustrated talk on the RAF Buccaneer from his experience as a navigator to the operational service history of this capable attack aircraft. The Blackburn Buccaneer is a British carrier attack aircraft designed in the 1950s for the Royal Navy. Initially it was produced by Blackburn Aircraft at Brough. Following the end of the Second World War the Royal Navy soon needed to respond to the threat of the expansion of the Soviet Navy. Amongst Soviet naval developments in the 1950s was the Sverdlov-class cruiser; these vessels were fast and effectively armed. They presented a serious threat to the merchant fleets in the Atlantic. To counter this threat, the Royal Navy decided not to use a new ship, but instead introduce a specialised strike aircraft employing conventional or nuclear weapons. Operating from the Navy's fleet carriers, and attacking at high speed and low level, it would offer a solution to the Sverdlov problem. A detailed specification was issued in 1952 as Naval Staff Requirement NA.39, calling for a 2 seat aircraft with folding wings, capable of flying at 550 knots (630 mph) at sea level. However the initial prototype aircraft that first flew in 1958 but had insufficient power (including the S.1 production aircraft), which was quickly addressed in the Buccaneer S.2, equipped with the powerful Rolls-Royce Spey jet engines. The Buccaneer entered Navy service in 1962. The Buccaneer was offered as an entrant into a contest for a new RAF attack aircraft. It was initially rejected in favour of the much more advanced TSR-2, but the cost of the TSR-2 programme led to its cancellation, only to be followed by the cancellation the American F-111. The Buccaneer was finally purchased by the RAF in 1969. In 1967 our speaker as Navigator was one of the jet crews that tried to destroy the stricken Torrey Canyon tanker and catch its oil in the sea alight! The photos that he took proved that it was not possible to do this. The Royal Navy retired the last of its large aircraft carriers in 1978, moving their strike role to the Sea Harrier, and passing their Buccaneers to the RAF. But the ending of the Cold War led to a reduction in RAF aircraft, and the accelerated retirement of the remaining fleet, with the last Buccaneers in RAF service being retired in March 1994 in favour of the Panavia Tornado. The South African Air Force also procured the type. Buccaneers saw combat action in the first Gulf War of 1991, and the South African Border War. On retirement of the Buccaneer RAF fleet our speaker (and later his colleagues) purchased one for preservation, which was first stored at Kemble but now is on display at the Yorkshire Aviation Museum at Elvington. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 14th November 2019

Thursday 14th November meeting was very well attended; when speaker Julian Stanley of Lineside Productions presented a video show titled: Lineside Steam in the UK, Germany & USA Vol 1. The show took us on a European & American Rail Steam Safari - with high definition film and sound. The 2 part evening show started with steam in the USA, featuring rail tours hauled by preserved 240te engines - such as No844 which is a 4-8-4 FEF-3-class steam locomotive owned and operated by Union Pacific, built in 1944 by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) of Schenectady, New York, and at present the only type preserved in operating condition. One of the other locomotives filmed was No611 a Norfolk and Western Railroad (N&W) J class 4-8-4 streamlined steam locomotive built at the N&W railway's own Roanoke Shops in Virginia circa mid 1940’s. These locomotives were built to run on the main line between Norfolk, Virginia and Cincinnati, Ohio, pulling the famous Powhatan Arrow and Pocahontas express trains. The locomotive was saved from the breakers yard in 1962 by a few men including famous railway photographer O. Winston Link, who offered to purchase it rather than see it scrapped! Other USA footage was shown seeing multiple Diesel hauled BNSF double stacked container trains that average over a mile in length this combined with excellent scenery, exhaust and thrash entertained our members. Part 2 of the show moved to Europe, for all types of rail traction filmed within awesome mountain and river landscapes. The Main focus being preserved mainline steam that included preserved loco Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) Class 52 &Kriegslok 52 8134 with its semi-spherical tender, built in WWII and rebuilt in 1965, it is one of 200 rebuilt 1960-67. 6,303 Class 52's steam engines were built 1942-50. Also Julian showed footage of preserved German V200 Diesel Hydraulic Maybach deputising for a failed steam loco on a rail tour, with great sound effects. The show ended with double departures of steam locomotives hauling tours from a few stations, and a scheduled preserved steam hauled freight train on the mainline in Germany. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 10th October 2019

Thursday 10th October 2019 meeting was very well attended; when speaker James Rendell gave an illustrated talk titled The RAF Hawker Typhoon, the illustrated talk covered the history of this unique and powerful 2000 hp ‘tank busting’ WW2 Fighter Bomber aircraft, built by the Gloster Aircraft Company (GAC). James explained the aircrafts history by using technical illustrations and a video. The Typhoon was a single seat fighter bomber produced by Hawker Aircraft with a top speed of 412 mph. The majority were constructed by GAC mainly by women and men under wartime factory conditions working long shifts.; It was originally intended to be a medium to high altitude interceptor. Early problems with structural failure, carbon monoxide fumes leaking into the cockpit, and canopy access were eventually overcome and soon the Typhoon became established in roles such as night time intruder and long range fighter. From late 1942 the Typhoon was equipped with bombs and in 1943 RP3 rockets were added to its armoury. With those weapons and its Hispano Cannons the Typhoon became one of the second world wars most successful ground attack aircraft. The powerful engine also allowed the aircraft to carry up to two 1,000 pound bombs. The were nicknamed Bombphoons and by the time of the Normandy Landings in JUne 1944 many squadrons of Typhoons were operational. The aircraft proved its self to be the most effective RAF tactical strike aircraft in direct support of the Allied ground forces. RAF radio operators in vehicles equiped with VHF radio travelled with the troops close to the front line and called up Typhoons operating in a Cab Rank to strike target marked for them with smoke shells by the artillery. Aircraft variants included the Tempest and Sea Fury. The unique 24 cylinder Napier engine weighed almost as much as a light aircraft. Over 3,300 Typhoons were built but now only one survives in a museum. The show ended with a Q&A session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 9th May 2019

Thursday 9th May 2019 meeting was very well attended; when speaker Graham Hobbs presented an illustrated talk on his latest book ‘A History of the Golden Valley - Stroud to Sapperton by Canal’ Covering the valleys history and other forms of past related transport. Graham has already written two books about Sapperton Tunnel and Brimscombe Port. Now he turned his attention to Stroud’s Golden Valley where he traced its fascinating history from prehistoric times through to present day. The Golden Valley is the name given to part of the valley of the River Frome between Chalford and Stroud, which the railway line follows for part of its route. It is said that the name was coined by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, while travelling on a train along the route in June 1909. The name has since become associated with the entire railway line from Swindon to Gloucester. Towns and dwellings along the valley thrived and grew because of the early Industrial Revolution. Graham discussed the valleys development in this period changing from corn milling to wool and cloth production. Chalford in particular is built on ascending terraces on the south facing slopes of the 'Golden Valley'and approached by a series of narrow and steep lanes and alleyways, and was for many years been supplied by donkey (not Horse power). In times past Chalford was known as 'Neddyshire' which derives its name from the use of donkeys. The Sapperton rail tunnel was also discussed including the original first deeper excavation that was abandoned; this later caused many problems for the present tunnel until 2001 when capping works finally solved the subsidence problems. The 20th century world wars were also covered in depth including details and local accounts of a German Ju88 Bomber that crashed in Oakridge. At the end of show the speaker concentrated on the work of the Cotswold Canal Trust showing before and after restoration photos of locks and many sections of the recently restored navigation. The show ended with a QA session, and Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 11th April 2019

Thursday 11th April 2019 meeting was very well attended; when Ian Thomas Rich Kelsey presented rare and unseen railway photographs mainly of the Dursley Sharpness Branch Lines, with the show being titled: Past Local Railways from the D. Markey J. Fryer archives. The show was a look at the Photographic collections of these well respected local rail enthusiasts and photographers, that proved to be of much interest to rail and local history enthusiasts alike. Before the show started the Society gave a funding donation cheque to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity that was represented by ‘local fund raiser coordinator’ Andy Markham, who gave a five minute talk on the importance of donations from groups like ours to keep the Air Ambulance viable. Then Rich presented the first section of the show covering the Derek Markey Collection, this showed previously unseen photos of local railways dating back to 1905. Berkeley Road to Sharpness was particularly covered in detail from the docks to the last days of steam. Derek was a lifelong railwayman, a signal man by trade, this and many stories about his enthusiasm for railways and life gave the show a personal touch. Part two of the evening saw Ian Thomas present more previously unseen local railway photos, this time by John Fryer, mainly concentrating on the Dursley Branch Line from the 1950s to its final days. Ian also added in stories of Johns exploits that gave the evening an insight into John’s enthusiasm and passion for railways and photography. At the end of the show Dave Lamb gave a vote of thanks to both speakers and the Fryer and Markey families who very kindly allowed the society to present these previously unseen pictures.

Thursday 14th March 2019

Thursday 14th March 2019 meeting was well attended; when rail videographer Paul Woollard projected his new material - titled ‘Steam and Diesel rail traction in the landscape’, this comprised of high quality video with sound. The show was a Society first and members were impressed. Paul started off introducing the show how in recent years he has mainly made a switch from still photography to video. The 2 part show focused on the last few years of his chasing steam and heritage diesel traction; including his love of the Sharpness branch line this also included stunning atmospheric footage of nuclear flask trains (including the last Oldbury Nuclear fuel flask train departing the Berkeley Railhead in 1-2016). The stunning moving images with good sound production along with Paul’s humorous and detailed narration came over excellent. Many video clips were also introduced with his son Charlie’s brilliant still images. From the picturesque Stroud valley to the Paignton and Dartmouth railway, the speaker truly captured the beauty of steam and heritage diesels in the landscape. Near the end of the show we ventured to the Severn Valley and the Glos and Warks heritage railways, focusing on steam and diesel hauled trains again, but this time Paul highlighted the work of many preservation groups that preserve locomotives such as the Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group (CMDG) with a Society donation being made to this group after the show. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks.

Thursday 14th February 2019

Thursday 14th February 2019 meeting was well attended; when author and retired RAF Navigator Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork MBE gave an illustrated talk on his latest book ‘Shot Down and on the Run - WWII RAF history’. This covered true stories about Commonwealth aircrews as they miraculously evaded capture after being shot down behind enemy lines. The stories of courage nerve and even betrayal of the underground people that kept the escape lines going to the end of the war were covered. Graham revealed many stories, based on first-hand interviews, photographs and official documents, featuring heroes from Britain, Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries. Behind enemy lines these men were often isolated hungry and in constant fear of capture. They also knew great kindness from the local people who risked everything to help them. Their journeys to safety across savage terrain tested human endurance and ingenuity to the very limit. Many of these stories have never been published before. Featured throughout were the roles of local resistance groups and helpers, and the Military Intelligence body MI 9 that masterminded training, support and organization of escape and evasion. The speaker covered many country’s including eastern Europe that helped the airman evade capture via some of the secret routes that were code named: The Pat Line, Comet Line, Shelburne line and the Marie Clare line to name a few. In light of the sheer number of airmen helped to return to Allied control and the longevity of the lines, one of the most important escape lines, was the Comet Line (Le Réseau Comète). A notable feature of it was that it was established by and, until her arrest, a young woman Countess Andrée de Jongh, known as Dedée. Working with MI9 de Jongh helped 400 Allied Airman and Soldiers escape from Belgium through occupied France to Spain and Gibraltar. Airey Neave (who escaped from Colditz) described her as one of our greatest agents. Later Neave organised gunboats from Dartmouth to run agents and supplies across the Channel to the French resistance in Brittany and return with escaped POWs and evaders. Jong was arrested in 1943 and was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, after release in 1945 she worked in leper hospitals in Africa. She was awarded many medals for her resistance work including the Legion of Honour, she finally died in 2007. Many Airman returned to the continent after the war to show there respect for the people that helped them evade capture. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey did a question and answers session for the speaker, and then gave a vote of thanks.

Thursday 10th January 2019

Thursday 10th January 2019 meeting was well attended; Speaker Group Captain Jock Heron OBE gave an illustrated talk; Based on his unique experiences of flying the F105 Thunder Chief, Lightning and Mirage Mach 2 jet fighters, on exchange trials to share learning and knowledge for more modern aircraft designs to come like the RAF Tornado. The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was an American supersonic fighter-bomber used by the USAF. The Mach 2 F105 conducted the majority of strike bombing missions during the early years of the Vietnam War; originally designed as a single-seat, nuclear-attack aircraft, a two-seat Wild Weasel version was later developed for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defences against surface-to-air missile sites. The F-105 was commonly known as the Thud by its crews. The English Electric Lightning is a fighter aircraft that served as an interceptor during the 1960s and 1970s. It remains the only UK-designed and built fighter capable of Mach 2. It was designed, developed, and manufactured by English Electric. Later the type was marketed as the BAC Lightning. It was operated by the RAF, Kuwait and Royal Saudi Air Forces. During 1952 the French government issued a specification, calling for a lightweight all-weather interceptor. Amongst the respondents were Dassault with their design the Mirage I. Following favourable flight testing which speeds of up to Mach 1.6 and beyond, it was decided that a larger follow-on aircraft would be required to bear the necessary equipment and payloads. An enlarged Mirage II and then the Mirage III were built. During 1960 the Mirage IIIC performed its maiden flight. Initial operational deliveries of this successful model commenced in 1961. The Mirage IIIC was rapidly followed by numerous other variants. Also Mirage IIIB C upgrades up to the full Israeli Airforce Kfir-type conversion were made available to third parties. Jocks talk was delivered with humourous stories of his time abroad and in the UK flying these various aircraft. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 8th December 2018

Thursday 13th December 2018 meeting was well attended; Speaker John Thomas gave an illustrated talk titled; A History of the Cirencester Branch Line 1841 to 1965. The Cirencester branch line was a five mile long single-track railway that ran from Kemble railway station on the Great Western Railway Golden Valley Line to Cirencester Town via two stations, Park Leaze Halt, and Chesterton Lane Halt and contained the highest rail crossing point on the River Thames. The branch was opened 4 years before the mainline from Kemble proceeded on to Gloucester, the time being taken up by the Sapperton rail tunnel construction, of which the GWR Cirencester terminus provided the railhead. The Branch was also Broad gauge up until 1872. In the 1930s there was a potential plan to link the line to the MSWJ railway near Cirencester Watermoor but this never happened. In later years the line was worked by GWR 55XX 57XX and 5101 Class locomotives. They were replaced in February 1959 by AC Rail buses. Trains took 8 minutes between Kemble and Cirencester. As the rail buses were too light to operate track circuits, they only ran empty to and from Swindon for maintenance, ending the through services. In 1914 there were 12 trains in each direction, reduced to 10 by 1951, but increased to 14 with the new rail buses. Also worth noting that during WW2 the line was mainly operated by Women. The line was closed to passengers in 1964 (along with the Tetbury line) as a result of the Beeching Axe. Freight continued on the line until final closure in October 1965. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 8th November 2018

Thursday 8th November 2018 meeting was well attended; Speaker Mike Fenton gave an illustrated talk titled; Chalford Rail Car 1918 to 1964 (Part 2) the Malmesbury Branch Line. By 1918 the Gloucester to Chalford local trains were still referred to as rail motors but were now an auto coach connected to a suitable steam locomotive by control rods, this combination was still referred to as a rail motor because early auto coaches were converted from them. Colour and Black and White images were shown, whilst Mike discussed the many characters and histories of the train drivers signal men, porters and crews, with one ex loco fireman Brian Townsend a Society member being present! Brian and sometimes well-known drivers such as Dy Pearce raced the midland express trains on the Haresfield to Standish section of track at high speed; however all was over when the service was discontinued on the 2nd November 1964. The Malmesbury branch was 6.5 miles long it originally ran from Dauntsey railway station on the Great Western Main Line to Malmesbury. There was only one intermediate station, Somerford. In 1933 the connection to the main line network was altered to join at Little Somerford on the Badminton Line, and the original section to Dauntsey was closed. The branch had a history of great characters that Mike covered with intriguing stories from Loco Drivers crashing trains through level crossing gates at speed to name but a few. The line closed to passengers in 1951 with the last train being hauled by ex GWR loco 5802 that spent most of its life on the branch. The line closed completely closed in 1962 when a Class 03 shunter D2196 (now in private ownership) hauled the last freight train on the line. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 11th October 2018

Thursday 11th October 2018 meeting was well attended; Speaker Peter Davey gave an illustrated talk titled; The End of Bristol Trams. They operated in the city from 1875, the Company being formed by Sir George White. However the abandonment of the tramways began in 1938 as a phased closure, but this was halted at the outbreak of World War II, trams in use proved popular and ran with blacked out windows and destination boards removed. The remaining Tram operations ceased abruptly in 1941 with the Luftwaffe's deadly Good Friday Blitz, which set central Bristol, alight. A bomb hit the Bridge at St Philips, next to the Tramways power station, and severed the tram power supply. Some of the very final tram journeys were pushed by hand and horse drawn! Pete covered the often humorous side of his Father’s passion for local trams. The show consisted mostly of his father’s photos. These include Peter and his Sister, aboard various Bristol trams. The end of the trams was a sorry ending as they were unceremoniously set on fire one by one at a depot in Bristol. All Bristol's trams were scrapped; however one is preserved at Aerospace Bristol 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. Another section of tram track existed near Castle Park as a motorcycle parking area, but this was lost when the area was redeveloped as Cabot Circus. The ex-tram company continued as a bus operator, but the name was not changed to Bristol Omnibus Company until 1957. Peter also brought along some historic tram artefacts to show the members. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker.

Thursday 10th May 2018

Thursday 10th May 2018 meeting was well attended; Speaker Chris Bigg gave an illustrated talk titled; Wings over Filton. The show looked at the manufacture of aeroplanes from 1910, when Sir George White owner of Bristol Tramways, established the British Colonial Aeroplane Company in the maintenance sheds of Bristol Tramways. A small airfield was set up in 1911, near the top of Filton Hill. The company grew rapidly during the First World War building thousands of Bristol Fighters and other aircraft. In 1915 the RFC established a base at Filton. Inter-war years seen a lot of Aero-engine production, and from 1929 RAF 501 Squadron was based there; this squadron was first equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. In 1939 there was a belief that German bombers had insufficient range to reach Filton, however on the 25th September 1940 German aircraft raided Filton, causing extensive damage to the aircraft factories, and caused a heavy loss of life when air-raid shelters were hit. Before D-Day US-manufactured aircraft were assembled at Filton, with the assembly’s imported via Avonmouth. Aircraft produced at Filton during the war included the Blenheim, Beaufort, Beaufighter and Brigand. Filton was upgraded to a concrete runway during 1942. After the Second World War the concrete runway was extended westwards for the huge Brabazon airliner operation. This extension required demolition of Charlton hamlet. Time moved on and by 1977 Airbus was dominant on the site. The runway closed in 2012 and the land that made up Filton Airfield was sold by BAE for around £120 million. A few Second World War aircraft hangars survived, these are now used by Bristol Aerospace Museum that opened in 2017, alongside the new hangar for Concorde 216. At the end of the show Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker. Also a Donation was made to the RAFA Wings Appeal fund.

Thursday 12th April 2018

Thursday 12th April 2018 meeting was well attended; Speaker Alan Freke gave an illustrated talk titled; The Work of Technical Illustrator and Artist ‘F A Simpson’. The show looked at this acclaimed self-trained artist who created transport artwork and cut-away drawings mainly for Motor Cycle Magazine, Douglas Motorcycle Company and the Bristol Aeroplane Company to name a few. Most of Simpson's career was on the staff of The Motor Cycle starting in 1916; however, he was also on the staff of Douglas Motors of Kingswood for two years as their advertising manager. One of the advertisements he produced for Douglas has cricket being played on Frenchay Common as a backdrop to the Douglas outfit, with the slogan Douglas - always a sport. In 1932 he left The Motor Cycle and went freelance working for many great names in the days when Britain's motorcycle industry led the world. During this freelance period he was also involved with many other industries, including Radio, Television, Boatbuilding, Rolls Royce Aero engines and Imperial Airways. A lot of the collection of illustrations was from the artists Bristol house, and dates from 1910 through to the mid-1930s, that included notebooks, diaries, scrapbooks, press cuttings, badges, and medals, membership booklets of local motorcycle clubs, printer's proofs, and a number of original (sketch to colour) drawings. The original drawings gave an insight into the way that he worked. The talk was also a fascinating and amazing insight into the social history of his time when Britain was the manufacturing power house of the world for Aviation as well as Motor Cycles. Alan delivered the show with much humour and excellent technical understanding that impressed and entertained society members. Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker at the end of the show.

Thursday 8th March 2018

Thursday 8th March 2018 meeting was well attended; Speaker Malcolm Garner presented an illustrated show titled Southern Steam in the 1960’s. The show covered his adventures with a camera near the end of British Rail main line steam, and also covered his volunteer work for Southern Locomotives Ltd. Malcom started the evening show with a look at his upbringing in Guildford where he started photographing BR steam, eventually working for the railways at Wimbledon before he took up a career in teaching. Malcom’s show mainly consisted of his 1960s black and white transparency collection (now digital) showing steam on the Waterloo to Basingstoke main line, and among others the final days of the Peasmarsh to Bramley Wonersh line, which closed in June 1965. Malcom also concentrated on steam hauled passenger train timings (sometimes logging 86mph! on express trains) mainly behind Bulleid pacific locomotives, in 1964 his Southern rail rover ticket seen him complete 3,327 miles steam hauled in 7 days. Malcom’s monochrome photos of mainline steam lineside and on shed around the SR were atmospheric and excellent. He captured the theme of dwindling steam classes and rail tours that took place. Including the final SR steam express working on the 9th July 1967. Malcom also showed society members some railway memorabilia that consisted of loco number plates and signal box items. Part 2 of the evening focused on recent steam preservation and how Southern Locomotives Ltd came into being, focusing on the purchase and restoration of Bulleid pacific No 34053 Sir Keith Park that was an ex Barry scrap yard wreck. Malcom and his school boy friends now 51 years on from 1967 are involved with the restoration and operation of such locomotives. Mr Kelsey gave a vote of thanks to the speaker at the end of the show.

Thursday 8th February 2018

Thursday 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 Association.

Thursday 11th January 2018

Thursday 11th January 2018 meeting was well attended; Speakers Rich Kelsey, Dave Lamb, and 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 making 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 onthe 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 speaker.

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. The Severn 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 1,269m long and 21m 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 Web site . 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 and 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 and Oldbury Power Station's 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 and 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

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 and 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 8 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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

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 and 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 and 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 and Severn Canal was abandoned in stages from 1927 to 1933. However In June 1952, the Coates and 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. SpeakerVince 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. These liaison staff 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) were 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 and 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. Speaker 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 around Leeds-London and 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 and Ian Smith (of 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 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 and Dursley Station' this was a truly colourful pictorial history celebrating 20 years of the new Cam and 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's and 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 and Secretary of the RAFA Dursley and 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 Mountain'. 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 and 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 and 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 exists 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 show were 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' preservation project. 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 session. 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 War Two. 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 and Argentine pilots who had much camaraderie. Later in the War Maurice was moved to the Italian theatre of war, which saw 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 and 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 propeller design. 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 propellers allow the pilot to select a rotational speed for maximum engine power or maximum efficiency, and a 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 Richard Kelsey gave an illustrated talk titled Wings and Wheels of New Zealand. The evening started with 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 saw 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 speak

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 as 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 and 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 after which Mr Kelsey gave the speaker a vote of thanks.

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.

Saturday 28th April 2012

Saturday 28th April 2012. The Dursley Wings and Wheels Society visited the Gloucestershire and 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 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 2012

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 and Co. The journey from Peshawar to Jamrud saw 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 the speaker.

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 12th 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 saw 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 humorous stories that related to many of his shots. This show was also used to raise money for The Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway embankment disaster fund. The show ended with a question and answer session. Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.

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 pilotflying 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 fly2help foundation.

Thursday 12th November 2010

Thursday 11th November 2010 meeting was very well attended. Speaker Richard Kelsey gave an illustrated talk titled ' 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 ofthe 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

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 and Wheels Society founder member Mr David Lamb presented the Community Centre, and the Dursley and 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 and 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 and 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 Aries1. The speaker explained how the same difficulties of the early days of space travel still lay ahead, and how the Chinese unlike their 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 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 9th April 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.

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 at the end of the evening Mr Kelsey gave the vote of thanks to the speaker.

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 saw 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 and 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 9th 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 and 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.

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 and 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 and 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.

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 Canberr'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:

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 where 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

Thursday December 12th 2006

The December 12th 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 11th 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 and 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

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 and 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 saw 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 by.

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 November2003

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.