The horses of war

In December 1947, the all- embracing war effort had spent itself, the machines of war were now defunct, and youths, raw at the beginning of hostilities, now matured by their experiences of combat, by land, sea and air.

At this time, having opted for extension of service in the RAF. —perhaps not fully convinced that peace had really broken out!! —and flying as a Navigator in Anson aircraft, a trip was made to several aerodromes in Northern Scotland to convey Senior Officers on an Inspection Tour, On approaching one airfield, an amazing sight emerged through the indifferent weather, the whole perimeter of this full-sized, standard type aerodrome was totally occupied, with little or no gaps, by a huge number of Lancaster Bombers. —-just sifting there!!.

The unexpectedness of this sight, and even the poignancy of this vision of these ‘faithful’ flying machines. now discarded, struck as if by a blow. The human endeavour embodied In the creation of these machines, the outstanding human performance, in skill in courage and in sacrifice, in their operation, probably equals, if not surpasses any such specific type of war operation in history.

To try to express the aroused emotion really demands the delicacy of poetry, but even this would not be adequate to capture the subtleties of that first glimpse of those discarded aircraft standing on that misty airfield in Northern Scotland.               However   —————–

They stood, side by side, with their famed dominant and aggressive aura somewhat subdued, but not lost, as if, should the call be heard to perform the function for what they were created, they would instantly respond and their sturdy frames would once again pulse with life and personality.

An air of quietness permeated the whole area, a kind of spent feeling, as if with a sigh that marks the end of tasks performed, but performed well and although large in number, there appeared to be a common bond between them, a kind of solidarity of spirit, as in any group of like beings.

Difference in age was not easily discernible, and some bore evidence of rough passage, with markings of identity and degree of experience evident from symbols displayed. They were many in number, standing in a rough oval and occupying many acres. And they were the last of their kind, doomed to extinction, not, however like the beast in the Knacker’s Yard, by a quick thrust, but by slow and painful dismemberment, the best bits as if by disembowelling, the remainder to be crushed and re-worked into an absurd parody of the prime reason for their creation.

The elements had been their home, they had been through dark nights. cold, heat, snow, sleet, lifted, tossed with great violence, even abused to a point almost beyond their capabilities.

Many had known them intimately, through the whole gamut of emotion, with fear no doubt being the most potent, but not arising from doubt as to their reliability and capability, but from the actions of others. Nevertheless, in times of unbearable stress, they had been cursed, blessed, urged onwards –and upwards– and thanked, subconsciously, or with vocal expression when their sturdiness brought matters to a safe conclusion.

Their profile was totally arresting, in it’s broad symmetry, sweeping lines, and perfect interlocking of the different components of function. Harmony was very evident in the overall impression, the evident result of a concept conceived at a revel beyond the capability of all but a few. The imagination, the skill, and the incredible physical effort to bring together the multitude of seemingly totally unrelated material and disparate techniques, to complete each of those in these ranks, was an effort almost beyond comprehension.

But the beauty of this impact of form and complimentary lines, intact visually clothed and softened the awesome and violently lethal power contained within. There was an almost physical feeling of sheer power and energy radiating from the group, silent though it was, but if imagined to be simultaneously unleashed, would tremble the earth and the hills with a roar beyond human tolerance.

As the 20th Century ends, there is, world wide, only one Lancaster capable of feeling the wind under it’s wings and the exhilaration of those swinging curves and dives through the wild and endless sky.

Sam Wright – VK6YN.

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G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

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Vital Spark Archive

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Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

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Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa