News (2012)

The Unforgettable Jimmy Corbin DFC

December 18th, 2012

It is another sad duty to report the passing of the ‘Last of The Ten Fighter Boys’ with the recent death of William James Corbin at the age of 92.

Jimmy Corbin

‘Jimmy’ Corbin was one of our own from Kent who joined the RAFVR in early 1939 as a Sergeant Pilot and after gaining his wings served mostly with the Spitfires of 66 Squadron through the Battle of Britain and completed his tour with the squadron in September 1941.

After a spell of instructing he was commissioned and returned to operational flying the following year and eventually served with 72 Squadron in North Africa with whom he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross in July 1943, though he only found out about the deserved ‘gong’ after returning to England .

Post-war, Jimmy went back to civilian life and resumed a career in teaching until his eventual retirement. As ‘One of The Few’, Jimmy was a very popular participant at Shoreham Aircraft Museum signing events, where he kept up his lengthy chatting with visitors thanks to regular ‘lubrication’ with fine malt whiskey. We’re quite sure that he is now enjoying the benefits of a free Mess bar up in the great airfield in the sky. Jimmy will be much missed, but never forgotten.

Autumn/Winter 2012 Gazette

December 18th, 2012

The latest edition of ‘Friends of The Few’ has gone out to Museum Club members. Contents include:

  • Memorial news – latest report towards honouring Flt/Lt Reynell
  • Museum and Membership News
  • 24 Hours with the ‘Bomber Boys’ of “M” for Mike
  • From Pilot to Poet – tribute to the late Flt/Lt William Walker AE
  • Flight Lieutenant Arthur Jackson – RAF Coastal Command pilot
  • Veteran visitors and signatures – RAF/Bomber Boys/Special Op’s
  • Poppy Research –
  • HMS Welshman 70th anniversary commemoration service 01/02/13
  • Remembering one of the fallen – Pilot Officer Richard Hutley
  • Dramatic account of an RAF ‘anti-diver’ patrol
  • An historic photograph arrives!
Autumn/Winter 2012 Gazette

Remember Me?

December 2nd, 2012

It is a sad duty for the Museum to report the recent passing of a great veteran friend and keen fan of the Museum from the United States of America.

Captain Charles Barrier DFC, was a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 457th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, stationed at Glatton in Cambridgeshire, from where he completed 30 missions during the Second World War.

Charles Barrier

Charles or ‘Chuck’ to his friends, flew many of his missions in a B-17 named “Remember Me?” and it was during a raid to Genshagen near Berlin when it was struck by another B17, severely damaging the vertical stabiliser and rudder. Despite this, Chuck was able to bring his aircraft and crew safely home. This incident has been portrayed in a painting by artist Geoff Nutkins, appropriately titled ‘Remember Me?’

Remember Me painting

On an occasion when visiting England, Chuck along with other family members called into Shoreham Village to see the Museum and couldn’t wait to sample an English pint, including Mrs Barrier.

An obituary for Charles can be found here:

Remembrance at Shoreham 11/11/12

November 15th, 2012

For the first time in its history, the Shoreham Aircraft Museum was open on Remembrance Sunday and was rewarded by splendid weather, plenty of visitors and a fantastic flypast.

The chilly early morning found the Village war memorial bathed in sunlight and apart from a nearby very vocal Robin, the Museum fell silent for two minutes at 11am to remember all the heroes who gave all they had to give.

Remembrance Day Memorial

Within the hour, a fast approaching roar heralded the arrival of a Hawker Hurricane leading two Supermarine Spitfires, which cut low across the Village in spectacular style. To the delight of everyone on the ground, the glorious sight in the air returned for another low fly-by and we cannot thank enough the brilliant ‘Kent Spitfire‘ team for treating Shoreham so royally.

Remembrance Day Flypast

With the success of the day, it is likely to become a tradition for the Museum to be open each Remembrance Sunday.

Special Op’s veterans

October 16th, 2012

It was a great delight to welcome a trio of veterans to the Museum who helped to (in the words of Winston Churchill) “Set Europe Ablaze” in WW2. Harry Verlander (Special Operations Executive), Alec ‘Boy’ Borrie (Special Air Service) and Denise Edwards née Franck of the Belgian Resistance, proved very entertaining and enlightening about their experiences in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Special Ops veterans

Also visiting were two RAF air-gunners, John Waye and Ron Liversage. John flew in 4-engined Liberators on long-range bombing sorties in the Far East, his record flight being 14 hours cooped up in a cramped gun-turret.

During the closing stages of hostilities in Europe, Ron took part in ‘Operation Manna’, dropping food to starving Dutch civilians; several years ago at a commemorative event in The Netherlands, Ron was introduced to a Dutch gentleman who was a young boy back in 1945 who had taken note of the code-letters of one particular RAF Lancaster that dropped food to him and his neighbours. The code letters belonged to the very Lancaster in which Ron was flying on that occasion all those years ago.

The event raised £150 for the Royal British Legion.

‘Bomber Boys’ fundraiser

October 1st, 2012

On Sunday 30th September 2012, the Museum enjoyed one of its busiest days of the season for a ‘Bomber Boys’ signing event. A wonderful turnout by six RAF veterans ensured a very successful day. Visitors who came to meet with, chat and have personal items signed were delighted to be in the company of Tony Iveson DFC, Sid Beaver DFM, Ken Fowler, Sam Brookes, Joe Cook and Ron Liversage MBE.

Bomber Boys

Thanks to their efforts and visitor numbers, the magnificent total of £1,000 was raised for the on-going Bomber Command Memorial Fund, so a combined thank you goes to the veterans themselves, visitors and Museum volunteers for helping to make the day such a success.

Sweetie Grab
One moment of distraction from signing prints came when a tin of chocolates was produced, resulting in a ‘frenzied’ hand grab for the softer centres!
Harry Verlander and Denise Edwards

A special surprise treat occurred when our SOE veteran friend Harry Verlander called in to say “hello” and met with Denise Edwards née Franck, veteran of the wartime Belgian Resistance – two heroes who fought back on the ground against the Nazi occupation of Western Europe . It is hoped to hold a signing event with Harry and Denise very soon during mid-October, so please check the website homepage for details once available.

2012 ‘Extra’ Gazette

September 27th, 2012

The latest ‘Extra’ edition of ‘Friends of The Few’ has gone out to Museum Club members. Contents include:

  • Exclusive John Greenwood (‘One of The Few’) print
  • Sqn/Ldr ‘Pat’ Pattle DFC & Bar remembered at Shoreham
  • Memorial news – latest progress
  • Museum & membership news
  • Queen’s Diamond Jubilee signing events
  • Story of a Battle of Britain combat mid-air collision
  • Intriguing tale of the Crayford ‘Enemy Airman’
  • Remembering heroes and heroines recently passed away
  • Feature on the surprising new Museum 2-wheeled exhibit
2012 ‘Extra’ Gazette

Sunshine Signing

September 11th, 2012

Thanks to a warm and pleasant sunny day on Sunday 9th September 2012, it was possible to hold the planned RAF pilot’s signing event outside in the Museum Teagarden. Shoreham had the tremendous pleasure in welcoming Rodney Scrase DFC, Ron Pottinger, Sid Beaver and Sydney Pigden. It was a privilege for visitors to chat with and learn many amazing tales of the air first hand from the veterans themselves. Jack Christianson, who was unable to attend on the day, is hoping to come along to the ‘Bomber Boys’ signing event on Sunday 30th September 2012.

Veteran Signing

A late afternoon treat appeared in the sky above Shoreham when a Biggin Hill based Hurricane and Spitfire performed several circuits of the area prior to their landing at the not-too-distant airfield – an always wonderful sight and sound.

Ron Liversage MBE

September 5th, 2012

The Museum was delighted to receive a visit from Ron Liversage MBE (Mil), a veteran RAF air gunner who flew in Vickers Wellingtons from the besieged island of Malta and with the Desert Air Force in North Africa. He later flew operationally in Europe with the Avro Lancasters of 625 Squadron and he was delighted to sign the Museum’s Lancaster propeller blade.

Ron Liversage MBE

Ron is kindly returning to Shoreham to attend the ‘Bomber Boys’ signing event on Sunday 30th September 2012. He’s quite a character and will be a joy to meet.

Spring/Summer 2012 Gazette

July 26th, 2012

The latest ‘mono’ edition of ‘Friends of The Few’ has gone out to Museum Club members. Contents include:

  • STOP PRESS: Pilot Memorial news
  • Museum and Membership News
  • Return of the ‘Bomber Boys’ – report on a fund-raising signing event
  • A lethal addition – Me109 engine reunited with one of its MG17 weapons
  • Report on new exhibits for the 2012 season
  • Fascinating story of an RAF Bomber Command ABC operator
  • Remembering ‘The Few’ recently passed away
  • Tribute to Museum volunteer Alan ‘Chuff-chuff’ Closs
  • Story about the experiences of an RAF Coastal Command navigator
  • Report on the visit to Shoreham by the daughter of Johnny Kent
  • Story about a clash with a ‘BIG’ German!
Spring/Summer 2012 Gazette

Something a bit different has arrived!

June 24th, 2012

Meeting veterans who were it not for them, there would never have been a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Harry and his cake

Harry and cake

As always it was a pleasure to welcome SOE veteran Harry Verlander and his dear wife Liz to Shoreham and as a surprise thank you to Harry, he was presented with a wonderful novelty cake depicting Harry (the icing man) parachuting into Occupied France in 1944. Added to Harry’s novelty patriotic Jubilee hat, it brought a smile to many a visitor’s face who came along to meet him.

Harry and cake

Thanks are due to talented cake-baker Niki Smith (seen here with Harry) who made the cake and she delights in making novelty ones (Dr Who themes are a specialty), so for anyone interested in contacting Niki about her novelty cakes, then please get in touch with the Museum.

RAF Commands Signing Day

It was a very special privilege to be able to welcome to Shoreham, eight RAF veterans from Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands. To meet and chat with visitors of all ages were Jack Christianson, Sid Beaver, Rodney Scrase DFC, Bertie Bardell, Sam Brookes, Joe Cook, Brian Cooper and Les Brilliant. Thanks to their excellent efforts, well over £400 was raised towards Museum projects and the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Jubilee veterans

Not to be outdone, the Fleet Air Arm turned up in the form of a surprise visit by Hugh McEnery, a veteran of the War in the Pacific and the Korean War. He flew classic naval aircraft like the Seafire and the Corsair and survived Kamikaze attacks against his carrier HMS Illustrious. He served with 802 Squadron on HMS Ocean during the Korean War and survived a perilous ditching in the sea.

Hugh McEnery

Look out for future signing events to enjoy the special opportunity in meeting veterans like these who are only too happy to share their incredible stories.

Our ‘Chuff-chuff’

April 11th, 2012

It is with much sadness that the Museum recently learnt of the loss of our much valued volunteer Alan Closs, who passed away peacefully in his sleep on 31st March 2012, aged 84. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Chuff-chuff’ on account of his love for steam engines, Alan was also a long-time volunteer with the Bluebell Railway and at various times held the position of Stationmaster at Sheffield Park , Horsted Keynes and Kingscote.

Chuff chuff

Seeing service in the latter months of World War Two, Alan was a Guardsman with the Coldstream Guards who continued to serve post-war and was on duty in Westminster Hall in February 1952 for the lying-in-state of King George VI.

Alan will be much missed as one of the finest from a generation that put the ‘great’ into Great Britain.

The Old Bakery

April 11th, 2012

Thanks to the efforts of Museum ‘Friend’ Mike Goodger, the Tearoom now displays some terrific lettering as a reminder of the long-ago past use of the building when Shoreham Village could boast having its own baker, blacksmith and other varied country craftsmen.

The Old Bakery

Bomber Boys – Easter Sunday

April 11th, 2012

The Museum was again blessed by the visit of a fantastic bunch of ‘Bomber Boys’ who gathered for a signing event to raise funds towards the RAF Bomber Command Memorial.

Bomber Boys Easter Sunday

The Museum was again blessed by the visit of a fantastic bunch of ‘Bomber Boys’ who gathered for a signing event to raise funds towards the RAF Bomber Command Memorial.

Bomber Boys Easter Sunday

All thanks goes to veterans Gordon Galletly, Gerard Maloney, Joe Cook, Sid Beaver and Sam Brookes, whose marvellous efforts helped to raise over £500. Author Steve Darlow also kindly supported the event again and all latest ‘Fighting High’ news can be found at:-

Harry Irons DFC

A surprise visitor during the day was the very popular Harry Irons DFC, who generously joined in with signing items for visitors and who was most impressed with the Museum and has promised to return for a future event – so keep a lookout on the homepage for future announcements.

Richard Jones – One of ‘The Few’

March 21st, 2012

Richard Jones, one of the diminishing band of surviving ‘Few’, sadly passed away in early March 2012, aged 93. He flew Supermarine Spitfires with 64 & 19 Squadrons during the Battle of Britain and in 1941 became a Test Pilot for deHavilland, flying repaired fighter aircraft. In 1944 he was awarded a well deserved King’s Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air.

Richard Jones

Richard was a keen supporter of and participant at Museum signing events where he proved to be a very popular visitor. He will be much missed at Shoreham. Blue skies Sir.

Remembering Eric & Erich

March 11th, 2012

We are saddened to report the recent passing of two veteran Museum friends – once adversaries in the skies over Germany , but now at peaceful rest.

Eric Woods

Eric ‘Timber’ Woods who kindly attended the ‘Bomber Boys’ fund-raising signing event at the Museum in September 2011, was a long-serving navigator on Bristol Blenheims and Handley Page Hampdens of 101, 106, 144 & 61 Squadrons. Having flown operationally during 1940 when ‘The Few’ were the celebrated victors of the Battle of Britain, Eric was one of the proud ‘Many’ who were equally vital in the defence of Great Britain during that momentous summer.

Erich Schmidt

Luftwaffe veteran Erich Schmidt was a flight engineer with the dreaded Nachtjagd, the German night-fighter arm that exacted a terrible toll of RAF bombers. He also took part in the ‘Wilde Sau’ (Wild Boar) tactics designed to allow single-engined fighters not equipped with radar to intercept and attack RAF aircraft over German cities. Having settled in England post-war, the Museum was delighted whenever Erich visited Shoreham to see our ‘Schnellbomber’, the type he flew in during those long ago night battles.

Blue skies gentlemen.