Author Topic: Castle Bromwich airfield  (Read 54823 times)

John_Lerwill

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2006, 05:31:26 PM »
Graham - that's taking plane spotting to a new level of keenness!!!

So, what you're saying is that if I'd followed your cycling endeavours I might have been going shoulder-to-shoulder with you in cycling races?!!! Ah well, I clearly missed the chance...  :'(
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Graham

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2006, 08:13:33 PM »
Sorry J_L I have done so much in my life that I sometimes get places mixed up, and my age  :(

The furtherest airfield that I cycled to in one go from Sparkbrook WAS near Brighton but it was called REDHILL in Surrey. It was a bit of a let-down. Thruxton was on a different trip.

Keen? Yes my first trip to Heathrow I lost track of time and left it too late to cycle home, so cycled round to the back fence and crawled into a dry ditch for the night! The B.O.A.C. hangers were just a stones throw away and they had all the new Boeing 707's on engine test all night long. Slept like a log with that 707 serenade, it was music in my ears pure heaven to me! Incroyable mais vrai!

Talking about keen and back fences just remembered this: cycling to Gaydon getting round the back fence crawling through the undergrowth into a wood, climbing the highest tree and sitting there for hours watching the "V" bombers coming and going. Some security, for all they new I could have been a Russian spy.

John_Lerwill

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2006, 09:23:09 PM »
I've got this funny feeling that we once met and talked at Elmdon, Graham, in our plane-spotting youth... I may be wtong, but I have a definite image of meeting a fellow cyclist there and the memory seems to be linking me with you... Perhaps just imagination.

You tell some fascinating tales.

I've just been watching "Who Shot Down Douglas Bader" on More4 - a dig in Northern France to find his plane. They've finally concluded his plane is at the bottom of a lake, but they did find a Spitfire Mk. 9 made at Castle Bromwich, with the pilot's helmet still intact in the wreckage. The pilot escaped and got back to Britain via Spain, it seems. Anyhow, his widow got the helmet, at the end of the programme.

They seem to have proven that Bader got shot down by a fellow RAF pilot.
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Graham

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2006, 08:28:03 PM »
J_L, there is a great possibility that we did meet up somewhere like plane-spotting at Elmdon.

I have been reading your web-site about some of your experiences. It makes interesting reading, but what strikes me most is that we lived almost parallel lives and it is a big pity that we didn't meet and team-up in our youth, I think that we would have been friends for life.

One of my famous adventures was cycling from Brum to Chepstow and then all the way round the Welsh coast including Anglesey then back to Brum. I had just left school, at the age of 14, and had £14 in my pocket. It took me only 10 days to get round mainly because I had run out of money by day 8 and had to ride the last two days flat out, without food! Water I would drink from public toilets. P.S. I did it on a 'Hurcules', can't get more Brummie than that can you?

On Spitfires, two or three years ago one was dug up out of a nearby bog and the remains of the pilot were still in the cockpit. It had always been known that a plane had come down at this site but they have only now dug it up. Who knows it might have been built at Castle Bromwich.

John_Lerwill

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2006, 08:06:35 AM »
What might have been, eh, Graham?! But I'm not sure that I could have ever developed the liking for cycling that you had!

Going back to CB Airfield. I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm researching a new history about the Villa, and I came across a bit in the early 1900s about the creation of playing fields at CB - and I think the factory and airfield was built on those playing fields, starting as far back as WW1, which means that the playing fields must only have had about 6 or 7 years of use as such.

Also picked up from a sports paper was a flight that midlander took, taking off from Billesley Common to Stratford-on-Avon and back - in 1913.

Cycling was a very strong topic in the sports papers in those days. One Jack Urry was a well-known writer on the subject in those days, in Birmingham.
We are all ONE - despite appearances!

Graham

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2006, 10:51:30 AM »
J_L, no need to apologize as there was no greater 'NUT' than me when it came to cycling, I thought it then but I know it now! In those days I always wondered why I was always alone on the road, the fact was no one could keep up. When I first moved to Holland a bunch of top racing lads used to come and get me in the morning to go out training. After two weeks not one turned up anymore!

I can well imagine that at the turn of the last century (1900) there was a huge interest in British cycling as the first ever recorded cycle race was won by an English man, this was held in a Paris park. The French have hated us ever since  ;D.

The first edition of the world championship, that I won in 1967, was held in 1922 at Liverpool, I think. It was run off as a time trail under very secret conditions and it was a wonder that one or two foreigners turned up, and no wonder that an English man, Dave Marsh, won. There after it was run off in different countries as a proper road race, and no other English man won again until I came along in 1967.

At the finish I was still trying to catch my breath when a Dutch journalist said to me "did you know that this is the first British win in 45 years" I replied, "yes and Britain will have to wait another 45 years for the next one!". Sounds big headed doesn't it? It wasn't meant that way, it was just a lament of British cycling. Well 40 years have passed and this week I had a call from a journalist in France. He remembered my prophesy and spent 2 hours on the phone interviewing me about it. It will be published in Britain next year in "Pro Cycling" mag. One of the questions he asked me "why was it that British cyclists these days, even though millions of public lottery money is being pumped into the sport, can't achieve what I did on Dutch bangers and mash?".

J_L, as a keen spotter in the 60's, did you ever go to Bagington for the "Kings Cup" air races?

Will close now as it's getting too long, again.

John_Lerwill

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2006, 04:39:18 PM »
J_L, as a keen spotter in the 60's, did you ever go to Bagington for the "Kings Cup" air races?

No, Graham, that was one I didn't get to. Strangely, for a few years I worked for Rootes (which became Chrysler UK) at Whitley, just up the A45 from Baginton, and which used to be the test area for pre-war Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley bombers. It was eventually taken over by Jaguars, but I think they sold off the Whitley area a couple of years ago.
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Langstraat

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2006, 04:55:55 PM »
Okay you two you've impressed me with your aviation knowledge and cycling skills for so long I've hardly been able to get a word in   ;)   What can you tell me about my favourite Plane.
The Vulcan Bomber.
I've never seen such a beautfull awe inspiring plane as that; a truly menacing bomber in every respect. Can you confirm whether it took an active part in the Falklands debacle.
 Urban myth says it helped take part in delivering SAS troops to take care of the Exocets destined for the Argys.
I once saw a trio of theses majestic rays in low level formation; it still produces a shiver thinking about them.
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John_Lerwill

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2006, 05:06:07 PM »
Okay you two you've impressed me with your aviation knowledge and cycling skills for so long I've hardly been able to get a word in   ;)   

 ::)

Quote
What can you tell me about my favourite Plane. The Vulcan Bomber.
I've never seen such a beautfull awe inspiring plane as that; a truly menacing bomber in every respect. Can you confirm whether it took an active part in the Falklands debacle.
 Urban myth says it helped take part in delivering SAS troops to take care of the Exocets destined for the Argys.
I once saw a trio of theses majestic rays in low level formation; it still produces a shiver thinking about them.

Yes, the Vulcan was used for high-level bombing of the Falklands runway - and did a pretty good job as I remember it. Whether it was used for transporting SAS troops in the way you say, I don't know.

In my opinion, I thought the Victor was the more majestic of the three V-bombers - but that's just me. But I hated the noise, and don't really see the point of so much money being donated recently to get one flying again. Again - just me!
We are all ONE - despite appearances!

Graham

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2006, 07:04:25 PM »
Sorry Langstraat but you know that you can but-in at anytime with anything, there always someone reading, if they answer or not that is their free choice.

You have touched on one of my very soft spots, the Vulcan bomber. When you stand on top of one in camouflage paint it's like looking out over a football pitch, so huge. Initially they were fitted with the Avro stand-off bomb, fitted with a nuclear head and could be 'dropped' some 5000 miles from it's target. Needless to say a formidable weapon in it's day.

I attended most Farnbourgh air shows from 1956 to 1986 and at one of them I did see 9 (yes nine!) Avro Vulcans take off together in formation. They ran down the runway three abreast in three rows. All nine lifted off simultaneously and did there best to go up vertically! The noise was out of this world (thank god) and as they rose up they were waggling from side to side because they didn't have enough airspeed to actually fly, they were just punched into the air by the power of those 36 Rolls Royce engines! Anyone that missed that day in aviation I'll say a prayer for.

J_L is quite right about the Vulcans bombing the Falklands, to the surprise of the Argentines. I believe they took off in England and were refueled in the air from tankers that took off from the Azores. I can't imagine that they were ever used for troop transport, the RAF had enough planes (VC 10's) that were better suited for that task.

The Victor was the most good looking 'V' bomber of the three, but all of them were really spartan inside, the 5 man crew had little space and there was no bog! They had to wee into a tube inside their pressure suits. I never knew what happened to the rest as 'Pampers' had not yet been invented  ;D.

john2000

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Re: Castle Bromwich airfield
« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2006, 08:45:53 PM »
Graham, now theres an idea, we can export the Dutch "Boerenkool met worst ". Mmm, lekker........... ;D
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