Purple Poppies For Remembrance Of Animals

A very valid comment has been made regarding Animals At War and how they are remembered.

The purple poppy has been used to remember the sacrifice and roles of animals in war. However, the organisation that introduced this have now withdrawn it.

To see their reasons why please go to the "Animals At War"  30th January post

It is a shame that the purple poppy no longer has it's place alongside the red poppy that we associate with remembering the brave men and women who themselves, willingly or not, gave the ultimate sacrifice and became "victims" of war.

Davidstow Airfield

The runways and buildings on Davidstow Moor airfield are still in place but in a much dilapidated condition. The Americans built the site during 1942.

The runways have huge potholes in them but are still used for helicopter exercises by the RAF. They were used for practise during the Falklands conflict as the terrain is very similar to that on the Falkland Islands.

There is a right to roam policy concerning the airfield whereby anyone can walk on the airfield and take a look at the buildings - at their own risk. The local farmers have "commoners grazing rights" so you will always see horses, and sheep on the land. The sheep use the buildings for shelter when it's raining.

As said in a previous post 4624 Squadron RAF Brize Norton are, in conjunction with The Cornwall At War Museum, working to restore the Bomb Aimers Training building. This is the only building receiving any attention on the airfield.

On a good weather day you can see for miles from the top floor of the contro…

F.I.D.O Trials 1943

F.I.D.O - Fog Investigation & Dispersal Operation, sometimes called Fog Intense Dispersal Operation, was trialled at R.A.F Davidstow Moor in August 1943.

The system had been developed by Arthur Hartley to enable bombers to land safely when returning from raids and their airfield was fog bound.

The system involved the laying of pipelines along each side of the runway. The pipelines were interspersed with burners at regular intervals and the pipes were connected to a fuel source, normally the airfields own fuel dump. When dense fog covered the runway fuel was pumped from the source all along the pipes. A jeep with a flaming brand tied to its rear drove quickly along the pipelines igniting the burners. Sometimes the burners were lit by men on bicycles, or even men running along the runway.

The heat from the flames evaporated the fog droplets so that the air over the runway became clear enabling the pilot to see the runway to land his bomber safely.

After a trail of one month at R.A.F Da…

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Animals At War

A couple of years ago the Animals At War display was given a make over to help show the true contribution made by so many different types of animals from World War I to the current time.

Even with our modern technology animals still play their part from the dogs that make parachute jumps in tandem with their handler, to the dolphins and seals trained to make sure that boats are secure beneath the waterline.

The animal that probably saved the most lives during both of the World Wars is the pigeon. In WWI they were a vital way to communicate and in France fields were covered with mobile pigeon coops.

In WWII the pigeon was just as vital for communications from occupied territories and also from heavy bomber planes when they crashed on land or ditched into the ocean.

Every heavy bomber would carry one or two yellow boxes which each contained a pigeon that had it's home coop on the airfield from which the plane came from. In the case of a plane ditching in the ocean the radio operator wou…

Filming "Mir" At The Museum

Last year a film production company, Olaus Roe, approached Steve and Sheila to see if they could film some scenes for their forthcoming film Mir at the museum.

In one scene Steve had to drive one of his military vehicles at a bicycle belonging to the heroine of the film and knock it over. Dressed for the part in a Russian hat, Steve did the rehearsal and finally it was ready to shoot. The first run wasn't just right so it was set up again for the second take which went perfectly.

 The production team were really great people and it was very interesting to see how a film is made.

Olaus Roe have said that the film has a long post production phase and isn't quite ready to go to air yet. We hope that they'll tell us when and where we can see it when completed.

Uncle John's Penknife & Glasses

My uncle John is 94 and although he can't make the journey from London to the museum he is a great supporter of it and donates his wartime items when he comes across them.

Recently he has sent his R.A.F issue penknife and his R.A.F glasses.

The penknife was made in 1943 and would have been attached to a lanyard which in turn was attached to an epaulette. On one blade you can see the year of issue and the broad arrow which denotes that it is an official military item, and on the other blade you can see very faint marks for every 4/10ths of an inch. It's in wonderful condition and will be put on show ready for the coming season.

The official service glasses were especially made so that they could be worn whilst wearing a gas mask. It would be no good being able to breath if you couldn't see where you were going. These are 74 years old and will go on display this year.