On Sunday 14th October, the Friends hosted the last scheduled 2018 Open Day at the FONFA Museum at Bransgore BH23 8AU from 10 am to 4 pm. Light refreshments were available for visitors, on Open Days. Free Parking for visitors was available adjacent to the Museum. N.B. New Members joining in October will receive Membership for the whole of 2019 included – see our “Join Us or Make a Donation” website page.
A list of planned 2019 Open Days is listed on the “Open Days, Upcoming Events and What’s New?” page of this website.
Entry is either free, on production of your FONFA Membership Card, or via a donation for non-Members of a minimum of £7.50 for adults and £3 for 10 -16 year olds (Entry is Free to ‘under 10s’). Service Veterans (having served before 1961) are admitted on a concessionary rate of £3, on production of their Service ID. Please be prepared to make your donation in cash, as we have no credit card facilities, being only a small Charity. Thank you.
Last week, while carrying out a ‘litter pick’ in some undergrowth and cleaning up the Holmsley Camp Site, the Site staff came across an interesting unknown object in good condition. It was a standard Nissen Hut light shade fitting, many tens of thousands of which were manufactured for use in Service premises and on RAF airfields, during World War II. They were normally suspended from the ceiling, to give light over a wide area. The dark green gloss paint is mostly in good condition after 60+ years in the undergrowth. The electric shroud fitting is corroded and the white inside and edge is stained with some rust but, given that it has spent the interim in the open, it is in remarkable condition. They were used everywhere, from offices to radio sites; parachute packing blocks to latrines. In order that the largest number of people can view this artefact, the Holmsley Camp Site has kindly donated it to FONFA, for display in the Museum. We are grateful to them and in particular appreciate the support of Lou Barry, who alerted us to the find. We will display it with photographs of how the fittings were used; yet another important original piece of local history to add to our growing collection of WWII memorabilia.
This month’s 367th Fighter Group Newsletter contains descriptions of the various movements of the American Group’s units, from leaving their English base at Ibsley and making their different journeys across the English Channel. This was done by various means, as the three Squadrons were split up initially, on their arrival in Normandy, going to three different newly built airstrips (Advanced Landing Grounds). The ‘hurry up and wait’ of service life is amply illustrated, thanks to personal recollections and the photos of the late Clyde Deavers. The second part of this description will be published in Newsletter Number 14, in two months’ time.
Next, a section on investigating a crash site in France, with photographs. This is followed by some typed menus and messages from the Thanksgiving Meals that the Group had in November 1944, courtesy of Vern Truemper, a former pilot with the 367th FG. The Newsletter continues with a tribute to 2nd Lt James Parker, 394th Fighter Squadron.
Finally there is a link to the US Ninth Air Force Engineer Command, who built airfields in France, for the Group and many others, which you may wish to follow, to learn about these unsung heroes, who often worked close to the front line, within shell range of enemy artillery, whose sole mission was to make their lives hell. Make sure you check out the link http://www.ixengineercommand.com/video/index.php
Click on ‘Videos’ on the list at the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to ‘Transportable Runway’ for a description of how to build a Pierced Steel Plank (PSP) runway for an Advanced Landing Ground.
However, above this clip, make sure you play the clip headed “I’ve been working on an airfield” to learn something I don’t expect you ever expected to see or hear. Don’t miss it!
Newsletter 367th Fighter Group_issue13
On Sunday 17th June – Father’s Day -the UK Harley Davidson Riders visited the FONFA Museum at Bransgore, on one of their scheduled weekend runs. Twenty one riders brought their varied motorcycles to the Museum and enjoyed a couple of hours, being shown the Museum exhibits by John Brooks, Trustee and former Chairman of FONFA.
We have a shared interest in quality engineering and history, so the Trustees hope that this will become an annual event, to be enjoyed by all.
At 2 pm on Sunday 24th June, the Annual Service was held at the New Forest Airfields Memorial, in Black Lane BH23 8EB, on the western edge of the WWII Holmsley South airfield. The Trustees are once again very pleased to welcome Canon Bill Rogers, the Bishop’s Adviser at Salisbury Cathedral, who conducted the service. Representatives of WWII Allied Nations were represented at the service, in person or by wreaths laid on their behalf, and the Lady Mayor of Christchurch gave an address. Photos were taken by Edwin Levett
Members of the Austin Seven Club routed their June ‘Trundle’ via the FONFA Museum on June 7th, before they departed for lunch at a local hostelry. Their superb display of vintage vehicles brightened the car park area on what turned out to be a cloudy day, with a light sprinkling of a few raindrops, towards the end of their visit.They enjoyed almost two hours at the Museum and were shown round by a group of Trustees and FONFA Members. They clearly enjoyed their visit and made several positive comments. There were many expressions of surprise ad enthusiasm at the many and varied contents of the museum, which were much appreciated by the Members. We welcome visits by groups, such as this, as our mutual interest in engineering and local history is a splendid way to exchange and share knowledge and experience.
A brief ceremony was held at the New Forest Airfields Memorial on Monday 28th May, to remember the many airmen and others serving with the American forces during WWII, on the New Forest airfields.
This is also the time of year when we arrange for the refurbishment of the Memorial, in preparation for the Annual Service of Re-dedication on Sunday 24th June at 2 p.m.We are greatly helped by volunteers from the Probation Service, carrying out Community Service, and appreciate their contribution to honouring those who did not return home.