- 27 Mar, 2019
Uncle Albert’s pearls of wisdom
Lincolnshire is famously known as Bomber County owing to the large number of aviation bases which operated during World War II. There were 49 bases across Lincolnshire, some are still active, and others are simply historic, offering visitors an insightful peek into Lincolnshire’s aviation history.
The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is a good place to start your Lincolnshire heritage journey as it provides a fantastic overview of life in Britain during World War II. However, its main purpose is dedicated to educating its visitors about Bomber Command, a unit that changed the course of the war and helped Britain on the path to victory.
Brave young men and women served in Bomber Command to spearhead the initiative in weakening Germany’s ability to fight. They also orchestrated supply drops of food and provisions to our starving allies.
During the war, 55,573 Bomber Command members out of 125,000 were killed in action, while a further 8,403 were wounded and 9,838 became prisoners of war. This was the highest casualty rating for British armed forces during the war. The average age of a Bomber Command serviceman was only 22.
The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is based on the old RAF East Kirkby airfield and has retained the original 1940s control tower and hangar base. It is here that you can see the very rare Avro Lancaster named Just Jane and even take a taxy ride in the plane, up and down the runway – an experience you will not find anywhere else in Europe.
Elite members of Bomber Command were selected to form 617 squadron or The Dambusters as they have become famously known. The Dambusters had a single purpose of destroying German dams using a purpose-built bouncing bomb. This resulted in mass flooding, approximately 1,600 German deaths and hydro-electric stations and factories being destroyed.
The Dambusters were stationed at the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa, which was also utilised as a hospital for injured soldiers. The Petwood Hotel has a range of memorabilia on display and is well worth a visit.
My pearl of wisdom – after a day of brushing up on the history of our Lincolnshire heritage, take a stroll around the charming town of Woodhall Spa and reflect on the men and women who gave their lives for our country over a nice spot of afternoon tea.