News

New Forest Airfields Memorial Vandalised

We recently discovered that vandals have broken the glass on the New Forest Airfields Memorial information sign at the former RAF Airfield at Holmsley South. As FONFA Members will know, the Memorial commemorates all those who flew from and worked on the twelve New Forest Airfields in World War II. The glass broken was a double panel, so the damage could not have occurred by accident. The incident was reported to the Police on “101” Hampshire & The IOW Police, who have given us an incident Ref. No. 44170344506. The damage occurred between 31st August and 3rd September 2017.

We are glad to say that, once this was discovered, Martin Baily swiftly and kindly offered to repair the broken glass and this has now been carried out, with a perspex panel. We hope that the new perspex panel will discourage similar acts of vandalism in the future. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that damage has occurred at the Memorial.

Dr Henry Goodall, Chair of FONFA Trustees has passed the following statement and comments on to the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times, in the hope that one of their readers may know how the panel came to be damaged and get in touch with us.   “We are shocked and saddened by this pointless and disrespectful act of vandalism, which could not have happened by accident.                                       “We would like to meet the person who did this and help them to understand why the Memorial exists and what it means to so many local people.                     “It may also help them to learn that their own freedom was bought at the high price of many brave airmens’ lives, without which the vandals would almost certainly be speaking German today, if they had been born at all.”

 

  • Local MP visits the FONFA Museum in Bransgore                                             New Forest East MP Dr Julian Lewis visited the Friends of the New Forest Airfields Museum for over two hours on Sunday 6th August. He was shown round the Museum by Trustees Dr Henry Goodall and John Brooks.  Photos show Dr Lewis with Dr Henry Goodall (left) and John Brooks (centre).Dr Lewis has a longstanding interest in local aviation, being the author “Racing Ace”, the story of the Great War and Schneider Trophy pilot, Samuel Kinkead DSO DSC* DFC*, who died in 1928 in a forerunner of the Spitfire, whilst attempting to break the World Air Speed Record.                                                                                                                                             Dr Lewis is a Privy Councillor and has been the Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee since June 2015, and MP for New Forest East constituency since 1997.He was impressed by the Museum layout and contents and enjoyed looking at the model aircraft and prints on display, as well as learning about several of the aircrew and their exploits, during both World Wars.                                                               Chairman of FONFA Trustees, Dr Henry Goodall said, “We are delighted that Dr Lewis has shown such interest in the local history portrayed in our Museum. With his deep knowledge of defence matters, the military and aviation history of the local area is very relevant, as a background to his work in Parliament. We hope that this visit will inspire more local young people to come and see what we have to show them in the Museum and also through the Memorial at Holmsley South.”
  • The last planned Museum Open Day Sunday for 2017 is on 15th October. On all Open Days the Museum will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.                                                     
  •  Following our first ‘Spitfire Day’ in the new Museum, on Sunday 28th May, the Rolls-Royce Merlin 24 aero engine was also displayed at the Museum on 11th & 18th June, by kind permission of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Collection in Derby, where it has now returned.
  • New Post Code and Address for FONFA Museum. Following the adoption of the road from the Heatherstone Grange estate to our new Museum by the local council, we are waiting for confirmation of our correct new postcode. Our new postal address will be as follows: FONFA Museum & Education Centre, Mosquito Way, Heatherstone Grange, Bransgore. Hampshire BH23 8HE.                           N.B.  We understand that it may take several months for the new post code to be put into SatNav systems. Please use the old Post Code BH23 8AU for the present, which will take your vehicle to the entrance to the Heatherstone Grange Estate.   Then follow the route below.                 Contact via e-mail remains the same, namely fonfa2010@gmail.com
  • FONFA Members, local residents, interested visitors and holiday makers are all welcome. There is a small cafe facility in the Museum, so a cup of tea or coffee and light refreshments are always available. We have new exhibits on display and have acquired several more display cabinets to show off the uniforms and other artifacts, which have kindly been donated to the Museum over the past year.                                                 Going forward, the Trustees plan to open the Museum on at least one Sunday a month through the summer and, in addition, will be pleased to welcome interested groups of ten or more adults on other days, by prior arrangement, via the e-mail address fonfa2010@gmail.com. If you would like to join FONFA as a new member, please see the enrolment form under the headline ‘Join Us or Make a Donation’ on the website home page.

 

  • MEMORIAL ACTIVITY during 2016/17

Armistice Day: Friday November 11th 2016

Flags are flown on the Black Lane Memorial to mark Armistice Day and Wreaths laid, as in previous years. Postcode or SatNav: BH23 8EB

Remembrance Sunday: November 13th 2016

Flags were flown on the Black Lane Memorial to mark Remembrance Sunday and Wreaths laid, as in previous years. Several dozen members of the public attended. Photographs taken by our Treasurer and former Chairman, John Brooks, are displayed below.

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Winter Museum Opening arrangements, from October 2017 onwards:

The FONFA Museum & Centre (SatNav location BH23 8AU) is open to the public for regular Sunday hours (10 am to 4 pm) between March and October on dates published on the website. The remaining date for 2017 is 15th October. The Museum will be normally closed for regular Sunday opening, during the winter months, from November to March. Group visits for school parties and for groups of ten or more adults can be arranged outside of these dates by contacting us via the website e-mail: fonfa2010@gmail.com

If you represent a school or are a member of a group or represent a group of people who would like to arrange a visit to the Museum, during the winter months, please contact us well in advance via the website e-mail address: fonfa2010@gmail.com , with details of your request.                                       School parties are particularly welcome to visit, by arrangement.

N.B. Please be aware that we are required by law to have two trained Fire Warden Trustees on site, whenever members of the public are admitted to the Museum. The Trustees, who are all unpaid volunteers, are willing to consider requests from groups of ten or more adults, to visit the Museum on mutually agreed days. We will do their best to accommodate such requests, in addition to our normal Outreach Programme for visits by local school parties.    

 

Spitfire Display to celebrate Bernard Baily’s 89th birthday – 22nd August 2016

A flying display by a Spitfire aircraft was arranged by Martin Baily to celebrate his father Bernard’s birthday, on Monday 22nd August. More than sixty FONFA Members and guests of Bernard enjoyed a thrilling display over the FONFA Museum in Derritt Lane, Sopley, in perfect summer weather.

Bernard was one of the original FONFA Trustees, who erected the Holmsley South Memorial, and created the old Museum and Education Centre at Sopley Camp, and continues actively to support the new Museum.   Below are some of the photographs of the display.

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,                                                                              And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

IMG_2383 vert crpd   Presentation spitfire 1

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“Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth                                                                 Of sun-split clouds, and done a thousand things                                                                      You have not dreamed of – Wheeled and soared and swung                                                    High in the sunlit silence.”                                           High Flight – John Gillespie McGee Jr.

 

FONFA at the New Forest Show:    July 26th – 28th July 2016

In July, we were invited to attend the annual New Forest Show by ‘Morethanatour’, with whom we plan to develop local aviation heritage tours including the Museum, next year.  Chairman of Trustees, Henry Goodall, manned the FONFA stand, next to ‘Morethanatour’s stand in the ‘Celebrations’ marquee, over the three days of the show.

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We gave out around 100 FONFA information leaflets to visitors to our stand. There was considerable interest shown in our display, with several useful contacts being made.

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Kate, Morgan and Paul Sherry manning their ‘Morethanatour’ stand.

 

FONFA Museum formal opening – Sunday 24th July 2016

Lady Montagu formally opened the new FONFA Museum & Education Centre, on Sunday 24th July, in the presence of the Trustees and a select group of invited guests.    She praised the Trustees and volunteers who had prepared the exhibits and had carried out the work to open the Museum to the public. A reception was then held for the guests, many of whom made positive comments about the exhibits and the Museum as a whole.

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Chairman of Trustees Dr Henry Goodall welcoming the guests, including our Patron Ailsa Montagu, prior to her address, formally opening the Museum.

 

Annual Service of Dedication of the New Forest Airfields Memorial –           Sunday 24th June 2016

A report on this year’s Annual Service is posted on the “Annual Service” page.

 

The New Museum & Education Centre BH23 8AU opened on 29th May 2016

The new Museum first opened to the public on Sunday 29th  May, welcoming mainly local visitors. The New Milton Advertiser published an excellent article in May, describing the Museum and the work of the Trustees, which has helped to spread the word locally about the opening. The photographs below give an idea of what visitors will see in the Museum.

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The Main Hall is named after Ann Baily, the late wife of our Trustee, Bernard Baily.

The photographs below are of one of the many aircraft scale model dioramas on display in the Museum. This is a United States Air Force single seat, twin engined P-38J Lightning, serial number 44-23569, which was based at Stoney Cross from April to July 1944 and was flown by Capt. Jack L. Reed, of the 392nd Fighter Squadron.

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New Forest Airfields WW2 spotter logs (Update)

We bought a set of these off  E-Bay  a couple of years ago. They have all now been  published on line on this site.

NEW FOREST MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTRE –                                             April 2016 – “Down Memory Lane”                                                                                   All services were by then connected and working; water, power and heating and we started to move the furniture in.

We had already installed a display cabinet and model collection (photo below) donated by Christchurch based modeller Paul Moores who has specialised in researching and modelling very accurate scale model aircraft with local connections. Paul is a member of the Poole Vikings Model club.

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