Wednesday 22nd February Air Defence of the UK since 1940 – Sqn Ldr Joe Marsden

–The evolution of RADAR and tactics to the present day. From its early days in the Battle of Britain to today’s high technology fighters there has always been a need for tactical assistance from the ground. I cover the role of the Fighter Controller and the advances in technology which allowed them to put the aircraft in a winning position in the air battle.                                                                            

23rd November 2022    The First Britten-Norman Aircraft – the BN-1F “Finibee” by Bob Wealthy

The story of how former de Havilland apprentices John Britten and Desmond Norman designed, built and flew their first aircraft design the BN-1 over 70 years ago and how this led to the creation of the Britten-Norman Company and its most enduring product the BN-2 that was first flown in 1965. With over 1250 examples of the BN-2 type variants built since that time, and with some 400+ that are in active service around the world, the type is still in limited production.

 26th October 2022 ‘Pilot Training during the Second World War’ by David Biscoe.

David’s talk follows the training of his father who was just one lad that saw his home City being bombed.,  Like many others at the age of eighteen he volunteered for the RAF.  The talk uses an analogy of a staircase that led to flying, and describes what happed to his father as a volunteer, from attestation to flying Operations over occupied Germany  as de Havilland Mosquito FBVI  conducting night intruder operations.  David follows his fathers progression and his training in Canada leading, to gaining his wings and being offered a commission.  He was immediately selected to become a pilot instructor, still in Canada.  Eventually, he was selected to convert to Mosquitos, and trained for squadron  operational flying.  David’s talk uses original photos and examples of ‘Ground School’ notes.  The talk ends with him joining No 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron and before he flying night time operations.

 28th September  ‘Flying the Vulcan – a personal perspective’ by Squadron leader Joe Marsden.

Joe’s talk this time will concentrate on the Vulcan – illustrated by photos and film clips to show its capability.   He will briefly cover the history of the Vulcan but will mainly talk about the personal aspects of flying this famous aircraft.  He will cover crew responsibilities, preparation and the practicalities of the various roles he was involved in without missing the more light-hearted aspects of the job in a journey which took him from Cyprus in the East to Midway Island and Alaska in the West as well as up into the Arctic Circle to test Russian response.

In all Joe has flown 34 different Vulcan aircraft including XH558 which was flying until 2016, and XL426 which is at Southend Airport being kept in ground-running condition and to taxi it on occasions   

25th May 2022 –By Dakota to the USA – Graham Spiller

Graham is an aviation historian and tour guide and chairman of Solent Aviation Society. The 2019 celebrations to mark the 75thanniversary of D-Day included mass re-enactment of the airborne elements of the allied invasion force involving 15 Dakotas from the USA being temporarily based at Duxford. Following attendance at landing zones in France Graham was invited to travel in Dakota N877MG (Pan Am) on the return trip to the USA. 

27th April 2022 ‘The Falklands – Defence and Life after the conflict’ – Joe Marsden

This is a short background history of the Falklands and how life has developed in the Islands since the conflict of 1982. 

Joe looks mainly at the changes for the military but will include the ways this has impacted on the local population. 

He will also cover some of the abundant wildlife and how this has resulted an influx of tourists. 

In Joe’s three tours on the Islands he served firstly on a radar unit on a remote mountain on West Falkland, secondly as Commanding Officer of a radar unit on East Falkland and finally as the Air Defence Commander based in Headquarters at Mount Pleasant.

23rd March 2022 Assault Gliders of WW2 – Rob SeymourMarch

23rd marks the eve of the 77th anniversary of Operation Varsity, the last of the great airborne forces engagements of World War 2. In support of the ground army crossing the Rhine in Northern Germany, thousands of paratroops and 1350 gliders laden with British, American and Canadian forces were placed directly into the battle zone and achieved resounding success as the end of the conflict hastened.It was all very different though in the first of the battles in which glider borne forces took part. This artist impression of a glorious battle for the Ponte Grande bridge in Sicily does not show the reality of what happened to the majority of the force that flew across the Mediterranean in July 1943.I will attempt to describe the creation of the allied glider force in the aftermath of those dramatic days of May 1940 when the German airborne force first showed what could by achieved in the first invasion using stealth.With material from a personal collection and Army Flying sources we will see how furniture makers and coffin manufacturers helped build a glider force in a few short years that would achieve victories in battle we still celebrate with pride.

Flying the Hunter, by renowned pilot and airshow director Rod Dean. 

Members of the Daedalus Aviation and Heritage Group were royally entertained at their meeting this week by well-known display pilot Squadron Leader Rod Dean. 

Both as a pilot and instructor, Rod has flown a wide variety of World War II and immediate post-war piston fighters – from the Mustang and Sea Fury to the Corsair and Harvard.  One of his best known achievements was to lead the “Big Wing” formation of 19 Spitfires and Hurricanes – his experience made for a fascinating talk.