Following in the footsteps of the RAF I decided it was time to visit the Newark Air Museum which is situated just of the A17. screenshot not currently working guys so I hope the google map link below works.
Once you enter the museum you can’t but be in ore of the magnificent Vulcan Bomber which you can walk around and under, a truly awesome aircraft.
then to the right there is a small rounded roof building which contains a selection of jet engines
coming back out and turning left I spotted these two characters nestling between a couple of buildings
Then we entered the building to right that you see in the picture above, this is a great building for anyone who in interested in communication, its packed with all manner of devices and for a small donation of £2 you can sit in a cockpit and have a guy talk you through some of the basics..
We only spent about three hours at this museum due to time constrains but it really needs a good day to maybe do it full justice, they also have some great events throughout the year which I think I will return for, anyway check their website for more details on this: http://www.newarkairmuseum.org/
You will find aircraft both inside and out here, the hangers are jam packed with some unusual aircraft as well as some old favourites here is a selection of pictures:
There is actually over seventy (70) aircraft for you to ponder over as well as some other great exhibits to look at, again here is a selection below:
All in all I have to say this museum is a great place to visit, allow yourself plenty of time to get round, as you walk about you may bump into the odd person that works at the museum that will be happy to chat to you, I will of course upload all my pictures to the photo gallery page in the not so distant future so keep an eye out for that.
Happy travelling guys……
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I needed to share with everyone…Yes i am going to see these wonderfully talented girls live in concert
D-Day Darlings, Friday, 05 Apr 2019 at 1:30 PM. Doors 12:45 PM | St Peter’s Church, Sudbury, Suffolk
Other dates and venues available, check out their website..at the bottom of the page
Bringing the true spirit of the wartime era alive, The D-Day Darlings sing the heartfelt harmonies that kept Britain smiling through its darkest times with popular WW2 songs such as We’ll Meet Again, I’ll Be Seeing You, Land of Hope and Glory, and Bless Em’ All.
Wearing original WRAF uniforms, the delightful darlings can perform against a backdrop of original 1940’s film footage, taking the audience on a journey into the heart of an era where troops were being serenaded by the likes of ‘Dame Vera Lynn’, who is an advocate of the show. Also proudly supported by The Royal British Legion, the Forces’ favourite sweethearts do their bit for our nation’s heroes with each performance, having raised almost £40,000 to help the charity so far.
The D-Day Darlings boast a long list of major credits including The Imperial War Museum, The Black Country Museum, The RBL’s Festival of Remembrance, Royal Hospital Chelsea and RAF Cosford’s Veterans Parade. Perfect for any military or forties-themed event, they create the atmosphere of wartime Britain with authentic 40s glamour, quality vocals and professionalism.
So your probably thinking how is this war related, well I was going through my pictures (which I have thousands of) and got to wondering…
How many soldiers, past present and future actually sat and watch a sunset from their position. Maybe on beach, in a trench, a sniper high up on building.
The picture below was taken from one of my old flats where I living at the time in the UK.
I feel that sunsets bring about certain thoughts and feeling, for me it really does depend where I am or was at the time, of course and who I was with.
the picture below was taken on Boracay Island, Philippines, I was sat at the end of the bar watching the sun go down and the people going about their end of daylight going to get ready for the night life type of stuff.
Packing away the sun beds, bringing their boats on to the shore, the holiday makers collecting their belongings and heading back to their hotels to prepare for the evenings events.
The next sunset was taken from a ferry crossing the north sea, over the years how many individuals be them soldiers crossing on ships, air plane pilots returning home or heading of on a mission, or navy personnel, have seen sunsets just like this one.
I do think that following in the footsteps of soldiers or civilians alike does not have to be always doom and gloom, There has to have being many forces personnel that have looked at a sunset and had happy thoughts….
The above two pictures were taken in Mecodonia and a warm summers evening.
Below, Cuba from a beach front hotel.
Then Croatia Island hopping..
And finally, here are some of my random sunsets…our planet really can deliver some spectacular scenes..
Do you collect sunsets or sun rises? if so why? leave your comments please..
Bletchley park was a British top secret codebreaking establishment during WWII.
The British government code and cipher school was housed here with it’s main objective being to intercept axis forces communications with priority given to Enigma and Lorenz ciphers.
Alastair Denniston commander of operations for GC&CS 1919 – 1942 was told by Winston Churchill to leave no stone un-turned in recruiting the best minds in Britain. With this in mind he firstly turned to the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, then in 1941 he had the Daily Telegraph run a crossword competition, those that completed the crossword where then discretely approached and asked about entering the war effort.
However, at this stage they were not told what they would be doing or in fact where they would be working.
The main body of personnel where made up of mathematicians, physicists, engineers, crypt-analysts, linguistic, later thinkers, chess champions.
Some of the main personnel at Bletchley Park were, Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander and Stuart Milner-Barry and many more. They were all top people in their respective fields.
By the end of 1945 there was 10,000 personnel working at Bletchley and its sub stations. 75% of these were female, of middle class backgrounds, all held a degree in one field or another, civilian and uniformed personnel all worked a long aide each other.
After their initial basic training they all under went special training at the “Special Intelligence School” which was set by John Tiltman and located at RAF Buckingham and later Bedford. The locals used to call this place the “Spy School”.
Some of Bletchley achievements
Bletchley personnel achieved success on land, sea and air campaigns and shortened the war by at least two years,
Tommy Flowers – The worlds first programmable electronic computer “Colossus” 1943.
Jane Fawett – credited for the decoding of a message that led to the sinking of the battleship “Bismark”.
Harry Fensom – creator of the “Tunny Machine”, for decoding Lorenz ciphers.
Joan Joslin – work led to the sinking of the “Schamhorst”.
Dilly Knox – cracked the code of the commercial enigma machines.
Alan Turing – designer of the “Bombe” electro – mechanical device.
Personnel also provided the Royal Navy with vital intelligence to cut of Rommel’s supply chain.
Within British intelligence the highest classification during WWII was “Most Secret”, Bletchley and the work done there was even higher than that.
All personnel had to sign the official secrets act, however, some of the security warnings went even further, “DO NOT”, talk in billits, by your own fireside, talk at meals, talk in transit, in other words “NO TALKING”!! anytime anywhere, to anyone, not even those you work with.
There was breaches in security though with the most serious one been that of John Cairncross, a soviet mole/spy who infiltrated Bletchley, he was a member of the Cambridge spy ring. He was sending intelligence and material back to Moscow.
The Soviet Union were never officially told about Bletchley and its activities due to the fact that Churchill never really trusted them, even though we were fighting on the same side.
In contrast, after America joined the war the co-operation between the US and British intelligence was cemented by a number of American cryptographers joining the team.
Attacks on Bletchley
There was only ever one axis forces attack on Bletchley, November 20 – 21st 1040, bombs reportedly ment for Bletchley railway station fell within the Bletchley estate. Hut 4 was hit and so much so it shifted off it’s foundation by two feet (2ft). The interesting thing is though, they winched it back onto it’s foundation whilst the personnel continued to work, no health and safety back then hey!! eeek….no thats trust!
So the drive down took two hours, pleased I wasn’t driving… thanks son..
There is a guy at the gate, he may or may not stop you, the vehicle in front of us was stopped, I hope the gate guy was embracing his position and asking for your clearance to enter!!! we didn’t find out, but it would be kind of cool hey..
admission fee Adult £18.50, Souvenir Guidebook £6.00, once you have bought your ticket you can use it for one year to return as many times as you like for free.
Once through the payment area, you have to follow a certain path in which you have a couple of projectors giving you some WWII background. There is also some interactive tables here, well worth having a go on… by the way, watch out for these throughout, they are everywhere and a most..
also in this area you will find some glass cabinets full of authentic books, as I looked at these I couldn’t help but imagine these on someones desk or constantly in their hand..
it’s worth looking out for these on the walls too, they have some great information on them…see below
as your leaving this first hall you can’t help but notice this war time motorcycle, shown below
just before you leave this area to enter the park you can pick up a free handheld audio guide, just remember to return prior to leaving…
I our point of call was the radio communications hall, see map, this is full of all manner of old radio communication equipment, some of it interactive
Onto block 8, down some stairs into the exhibits, there is everything in here, as I had firstly written about the Lorenz and Enigma machines in the first part of this blog, here is where you find out all about them…hope you like reading folks…. I found this fascinating,
more picture from here in the photo gallery folk’s
on to hut 3, this hut has be be one the best we all thought, from the point of view of authenticity, the could see and spell its age. It was the most important hut in the park.
Next huts 11 and 11a, hut 11 has 4 mock up Bombe machines, its quite cold in there too, but with four of those machines in this small hut I bet it was loud…
Hut 11a shows how there work impacted some parts of the war and again has many interactive things to do,
there is also a working Bombe machine in this hut pictured below
there are many interactive exhibits in this hut
We next walked up to the garage area, there are 4 exhibits here,
On to the main mansion now and wow what a building, the interior alone is breathtaking not forgetting of course the important part it played in park, but its ceilings alone are some of the nicest I have seen.
enter through the main door, the very same door that Churchill and all the top people had used, following in the footsteps of these soldiers, civilians and politicians felt unbelievable.
The large windows to the left is the office of the park commander, office shown below
We moved onto the library which was used some subsections, please read below
Thats about it from our visit to Bletchley park, check out all the pictures in the gallery.
Just before we left we felt hungry so we decided to find somewhere to eat, and oh boy did we, its about 10 minutes away, food is great and priced well, check out the pictures below
thats beef in yorkshire pudding wrap, its bloody great I can tell you £4.99
The area once known as Yugoslavia entered WWII on 6th April 1941.
on the 24th March 1941, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia fearing an invasion from the axis powers signed the Tripartite Pact, pledging cooperation with the axis forces. However, on 27th March 1941 he was overthrown by a military coup d’etat with support from the British.
Peter II, then only 17 years old was deemed old enough to rule and was placed in power. As a direct result of this Yugoslavia withdrew it’s support of the axis powers and as a consequence on 6th April 1941 Germany and the axis forces invaded Yugoslavia.
The area was broken up with Bulgarian forces controlling central and eastern areas, western areas were occupied and controlled by Italian forces.
On 11th October 1941 the People’s Liberation Army along with the Yugoslavian Partisan movement started a political and military campaign, their main objective was to resist the occupation of Macedonia by Bulgarian, German, Italian and Albanian forces.
Following in the footsteps of all those involved in this campaign this is my visit to Ohrid, the town today is a beautiful place to visit, full of great architecture with inviting people and cafe’s to sit and watch the world go by.
for all the pictures from Ohrid see the picture gallery. here . Like all the other towns, cities I have visited it’s hard to imagine how it was back during WWII.
As part of my visit to this wonderful country I had to go to Bitola, it is the oldest city in the country. In the ancient world it was known as (Heraclea Lyncestis) founded by Phillip II ( father of Alexander the great).
With this in mind it is a must for all those travelling to Macedonia…
Heraclea ruins 1
Heraclea ruins 2
See all the pictures from Bitola in the picture gallery. here
Skopje was seized by the German army on the 8th April 1941 and they left he Bulgarian army in control of the region. The city was liberated by partisans on 13th November 1944 by Yugoslav, National Liberation Army and the newly allied Bulgarian people’s army.. The Bulgarian army having switched sides in September 1944…
Macedonia and the surrounding regions were not left out of the German’s final solution, many jew’s and other’s were transported out to concentration camps.
Today the city is thriving, there is so many things to see and do there. However my visit was really about going to see the holocaust museum.
This museum is a must, open Tuesday to Friday 09.00 – 19.00 and Saturday and Sunday 09.00 – 15.00. entrance is free but there is a charge for guided tours.
sorry for the delay in bringing this last blog on my China visit.
Beijing in a great city, packed with great places to eat and can cater for most pallets.
Hotels are a plenty and again for every budget, I generally use trivago.com for hotels whilst travelling, I have found them the best for all pockets. see the link on the right side of blog.
Following in the footsteps of those soldiers and civilians from China who gave their all during WWII, I find myself in this totally wonderful square in Beijing. So much here to see and do, you could take a full day just wondering around here, visiting the People’s Heroes Monument, pictured below,
This monument is dedicated to all those who lost their lives during WWII and other conflicts, there is also the workers statue below,
There is also the Chairmen Mao memorial to be found in the square, pictured below,
And of course behind that you will find the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall which is also a must to visit.
In the northern part of the square you will find the totally dominating and all inspiring Forbidden City, I mean, history, this really is and has to be on everyone’s visit list.
The main entrance and below the interior
I get that this isn’t anything to do with WWII but it just has to be mentioned regardless of that just for history sake.
From Beijing the next day is yet another none related but has to be mentioned Chinese landmark, The Great Wall, I actually rang my family whilst standing on the wall, it was early in the morning but it just had to be done. I really don’t think they got it, I did wake them up though..lol
Totally breathtaking… all my pictures, well not all but a selection, can be found here
Before going into China I spent a few days in Hong Kong and was considering my options, do I enter from the south or fly up north and then work my way back to Hong Kong. Down by the bay there is a walk way with some interesting things to find, if your interested in martial arts that is, here are some pictures….
It was decided, as on my bucket list was the Great Wall I would head north first, now at this point I should tell you I had just come from Vietnam, also, everywhere else I had so far visited was tropical weather. In my rucksack was nothing but, t-shirts and shorts.
Although it’s January 2007 it’s still pretty warm in the south, so anyway, I apply for my visa, it takes 24 hours and cost £30.00.
There are changes now and here is a recent table of fees taken from their website:
Based on the changes in the exchange rate in recent years, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the U.K. will apply new rates for fees of consular documents as of 19th November, 2018. At the same time, in accordance with the principle of reciprocity, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates will increase fees for 5 year multiple entry visa and 10 year multiple entry visa to £170 and £255 respectively.
The fees of consular documents will be adjusted as follows:
£85(Except for 5 year/10 year multiple entry visa)
£170(Multiple entries for 5 years)
£255(Multiple entries for 10 years)
£56(Multiple entries for 6 months)
£84(Multiple entries for 1 year and above)
With visa nicely placed in my passport off I go, it’s about 2 to 3 hours flight depending on the aircraft from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Cost around £110 today. I have found that its cheaper to actually pay and book flights around Asia in the country your in rather than from home prior to leaving, but each to their own.
So we are up up and away, approximately 20 minutes prior to landing everyone seems to be putting on coats, getting hats and gloves ready, do they know something I don’t?? it would seem so. The flight attendant approaches me, do you have any warm clothes? She asks, no I replied, your going to be cold.. its minus 20 in Shanghai!!!!!
so in my mind this is the picture I had
Knee deep in snow with nothing but shorts and a t-shirt, sandals on my feet.
Everyone is looking at me, they all have coats, hats, gloves, me, I look like a crazy westerner who doesn’t know what is about to hit him. Oh boy was they right!
Get through customs and start thinking about where to go and get some North pole clothing, rescued, a very nice Chinese fella took pity on me I think as I stood at the main entrance door. He asked if I would like a life to a shopping mall, without hesitation I replied, thank would be great thank you.
There wasn’t really any snow about, it was the wind that made it so cold, and that walk to his car was the longest and coldest I have ever made.. Heater now going at full bore, 40 minutes or so later we are shopping, he even stayed with me to make sure I got what I needed, very nice man.
Fur lined boots, hat, thermal everything, toasty!!!
Shanghai is a great city, the next day I took off in search of the People’s Heroes Monument, not too hard to find, its close by the Pearl Tower and you can see that just about from anywhere.
The Peoples Heroes Monument id dedicated to all those that paid the ultimate price to free China from occupation by foreign powers.
It’s 79 feet high and so an impressive structure, it looks great at night all light up.
Next was a boat ride on the Huangpu river
Looking around this great city it is hard to think that it once stood in ruin and tainted with blood, following in the footsteps of those who gave their life’s soldiers and civilians alike in a city that had a totally different sky then.
Today it has raised from the ashes to become one of the worlds nicest cities, great food, great people and some of the smallest WiFi cafes you have ever seen…
This factory was first established 1937, by three Jewish partners, Michal Gutman, Izrael Kahn and Wolf Luzer. The company changed hands several times over the years and in June 1939 the company applied for insolvency which was granted by the regional court in krakow.
Nazi Germany Invade Poland
On September 1st 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and as part of that invasion came Oskar Schindler a German industrialist, a member of the Nazi Party( which he only exploited when it suited his purpose) and an Abwehr agent.
Under the occupation forces power he took control of what is now known as the Schindler Factory in November 1939. He used forced labour for the work force which was mainly Jewish, they had a camp inside the factory grounds.
The actual list consisting of nine separate lists was not penned or directed by Schindler at all, it was produced by a Jewish man called Marcel Goldberg. This first list was compiled over several years and Schindler had no idea who’s names were on it.
The final list consisting of five lists was penned by someone completely different and to this day that person is unknown.
Oskar Schindler used his industrial and Nazi Party connection to save 1,200 Jewish workers from concentration camps, stating that he required experienced workers for his other factories which would in turn help the German war effort.
Visiting the Schindler’s factory
Following in the footsteps of those 1,200 people I visited this factory which is now a museum with some insightful exhibits. I made it part of my Cracow city visit which by the way has quite a few very interesting WW II sites, the ghetto wall, main square, to name a couple. (See the end of blog for tour information)
If you decide to make your own way there then here is some important information:
This article although nothing to do with any war time sites does have historical WWII connections.
The Spear Of Destiny or (Holy Lance) (Vienna Lance) is the name given to the spear that pierced the side of Christ (whilst he was on the crucifix) by a Roman soldier.
It is said that anyone who holds the spear has the power to rule/control the world at their will, positively or negatively. Adolf Hitler had an obsession with historical relics with religious so called powers.
History shows that Hitlers first encounter with the spear was as a teenager struggling to become an architect, he viewed the spear at Weltliches Schatzkammer Museum in Vienna, also known as The Imperial Treasury.
Hitlers obsession was fulfilled when the Nazi’s annexed Austria in 1938 and he acquired the very same spear, it was kept at St.Katherine’s church in Nuremberg but was soon moved to an underground bunker for saver keeping.
On April 30th 1945 the allies retrieved what Hitler believed to be the Spear of Destiny and Hitler was found dead in his bunker soon after.
It is written that anyone who possess the spear and then looses it it will die, a myth?, old wife’s tail?, a curse?, I will leave the validity of this fatal myth to your own conclusions, however, if you check the history of those who have possessed the spear you will find that they all died soon after it left them.
In 2003 the BBC produced a special documentary entitled”The Spear of Jesus”, it was examined by Dr.Robert Feather, Archaeologist/Metallurgist, who’s background can be found at: www.robert-feather.com.
The spear was dated as part of the program and found to be from the 7th century, Roman times.
There are other spears or parts there of but none of these date back to the correct century either.
As for the mythical powers of the Spear Of Destiny, again this can only be left to individual conclusions, but one thing is certain and that was the obsession Hitler had with religious artefacts and his lust for power.
Open: Daily except Tuesday 09.00 – 17.30 Admission: 12.00 euro
I viewed the Vienna lance at in a museum in Aachen, Germany back in the early 80’s whilst on a trip to Europe, unfortunately all photos are lost, sorry. it was certainly a great pleasure to see it as several weeks prior to the trip I had read the book “The Spear of Destiny” by Trevor Ravenscroft. The book can be found here by clicking on the book below:
Following in the footsteps of the Spear Of Destiny (Holy Lance), actually seeing this artefact that Hitler had searched for and found was indeed a delight, a true WW II artefact.