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Memories come flooding back
5:00pm Sunday 22nd September 2013 in News
MAGNIFICENT: The Lancaster bomber thunders overhead at the Defford Airfield Heritage Weekend. Picture: David Dewson.
THE mighty roar of a Lancaster bomber’s engines brought the memories flooding back for veterans at a record-breaking heritage and reunion extravaganza.
All eyes were on the skies as the iconic bomber flew over Croome Park, near Pershore, drawing gasps from thousands of visitors as it made three circuits of the grounds, as part of the Defford Airfield Heritage Weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
The flypast was an emotional experience for the dwindling number of veterans who served at RAF Defford in the 1940s, next to the sprawling 18th century gardens of Croome.
The reunion was organised by Bob Shaw, secretary of the Defford Airfield Radar Heritage Group.
Albert Shorrock, aged 92, of Wolverhampton who was at the airbase in 1942 working as an air frame fitter, said: “It brings back the memories – does it ever.”
The event proved so popular that the overspill car park was full to bursting and Michael Smith, property manager for the National Trust, said there had already been close to 3,000 people through the gates in the first two hours alone.
Mr Smith said: “This our busiest day ever. Without a doubt it’s a record-breaker.”
Croome was one of many stately homes commandeered by the military during the first and second world wars, playing a vital role in developing radar systems which helped turn the tide of war in favour of the Allies.
Despite a display from the Red Arrows it was the Lancaster which people were most eager to see.
“We know we’re not in the 1940s anymore but when you have this bomber coming over it is like being in a different age and everyone just stops,” Mr Smith added.
Among the veterans to enjoy the day was Bert Sloman, aged 90, who serviced the Rolls Royce Merlin engines which powered the Spitfires.
He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic, a meeting of all the old boys, those of us that are left.
It’s all history now and we’re getting fewer and fewer.”
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