Sometimes I go to places with a good idea of why, and what I hope to see. Sometimes I just come across something I’ve never even heard of. This visit was the latter. On driving to our holiday accommodation we circled a roundabout just south of York, I spotted a sign for the Air Museum, a couple of days later we followed the signs!
The original grass airfield, from the early 40’s was for RAF No 4 Squadron, later the runways were hardened and completely refigured and re-opened in 1942 as RAF Elvington. There were many comings and goings over the war years – I was most interested that two French squadrons, numbers 346 “Guyenne” and 347 “Tunisie” were both here. Elvington was the only airfield in the United Kingdom used by the Free French Forces, who flew a Handley Page Halifax bomber until they moved to Bordeaux in October 1945.
The museum covers an area of some 20 acres, and is right next to a 10,000 foot long runway built by the USAF as a “Basic Operation Platform”. After spending 4 million pounds, it never actually became operational and is now privately owned! It’s the longest runway in the North of England!
The museum was established in 1986, although technically the runway was still used for practice, so RAF Elvington was operation from 1940-1992! These days, the museum houses some 49 aircraft. As such it’s one of the largest of it’s type in the UK.
Outside the main hanger taxiing was going on. A Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota, a development from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner, was on the move!
In another hanger, an Avro Anson, a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft built by Avro was being restored. Just opposite and engine from Concorde!
Perhaps one of the more un-expected, and at the same time moving exhibit’s is a chapel constructed inside an old Nissan hut. Dedicated on 5th October 1996. No doubt some folk who served or were close to those who did, can take a moment of reflection amidst the tourist bustle. What a great day out! Both myself and my Pentax ME were impressed!