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                                                                                                         A few Facts About Re-enacting

Approximately ten years ago Heather and myself began re-enacting.  It was all Heathers idea, as I had mentioned some time ago that It would be most interesting, as I had flown aircraft for quite a number of years, and my job was a aircraft electrician. Some times I had to ferry aircraft back to base for servicing, and as Heather had flown a number of hours when she lived in the USA, it was only right that we should re-enact the Air Transport Auxiliary. 

I found the address of Diana Barnato Walker MBE who was Commodore of the ATA, and we corresponded for quite some time, unfortunnately Diana died in 2008. Diana also gave me written permission to use the poem she had written in her autobiography 'Spreading My Wings' about her RAF pilot husband of only a few months, who was killed when the engine of his Mustang cut-out while flying from RAF Digby in Lincolnshire to RAF Hendon London  I have also had correspondence with Wng Cmd Eric Viles MBE of the Air Transport Auxiliary Association, and quite a few e-mails back and forth with Lettice Curtis who, delivered 400 Lancasters and 140 Mosquitoes, plus many more other aircraft.  Lettice has written a forward for my forthcoming aviation poetry book, and I hope it will be out some time next year.

Regarding re-enacting and the 1940's, we have given assistence to schools, television and theatre companies, helped with films and taken part in two television recordings of the BBC Antiques Roadshow filmed at East Kirkby Airfield Lincolnshire.  We also co-ordinate our own forties event 'We'll Meet Again' at Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre, which was RAF Woodhall Spa, home to 97, 619, 617 (Dambusters) and 627 squadrons who operated there.  Thorpe Camp is next door to RAF Coningsby home of the Battle of Britain Flight, comprising of 1 Lancaster 4 Spitfire's 2 Hurricanes 1 Dak and 2 Chipmunks. 
Re-enacting has taken us to many other event's around the UK. 2009 was special as we spent a week in Normandy at Gold Beach, Arromanche, for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.  Most of our time was taken up chatting to the veterans and television from all over the world, a most interesting few days.
Please check out: 
www.poetryinaction.com where you will find poems about RAF bases 1939/45 written by myself.
You will also find details of our annual 1940's event in July at Thorpe Camp:
www.1940weekend.co.uk  

Air Transport Auxiliary

In thirty nine Gerard de'Erlanger wrote Harold Balfour under secretary a note
"Spare pilots who have been laid down should ferry aircraft for the crown"

And so began the ATA who ferried aircraft day-on-day
Volunteers both young and old have never had their story told

From Spit to Lanc they flew around and gently brought their steeds to ground
In flying prowness who could say these pilots wanted more than pay

One hundred and forty one aircraft type, no cuss, refusal, swear or gripe
Flown in weather so appalling, in flight spirit, work a-calling

Factory aircraft flown at speed to meet the RAF's most pressing need
From M.U. service no hesitation, delivered quick to front line station

In forty five their work to rob, would lead them back to civvy job
So please remember A.T.A. who ferried aircraft day-on-day

John C Haywood Copyright © Poetry In Action

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                              Flt Capts J C Haywood & H M Barratt with Avro's Anson

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Flt Capt H M Barratt East Kirkby. 90yrs of the RAF

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