'Spitfire Girl' visits Shoreham
November 13th, 2016
It was a privilege on Sunday 6th November 2016 for Shoreham to welcome Joy Lofthouse, a veteran pilot who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). Joy flew a variety of RAF aircraft including the superlative Supermarine Spitfire and naval types like the extraordinary looking Fairey Barracuda.
Joy was kept busy signing books and prints and chatting at length in conversations with visitors; artist and Museum Curator Geoff Nutkins, presented Joy with his original portrait painting of her. The day was a great success with thanks especially to Joy, and additional thanks to Mrs Janet Nicholls who provided our special guest and her driver with a comforting bed & breakfast. Museum volunteer Ken Back did a sterling job providing the on-the-road escort to enable Joy to arrive safely and on time at Shoreham. Appreciative thanks also go to all the Museum volunteers and kitchen and tearoom staff who ensured all went smoothly and a thank you too for all those who supported the event in coming to meet Joy.
Another 'One of The Few' comes to Shoreham
October 29th, 2016
It was an ever delightful occasion to welcome Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC & Bar to Shoreham on Sunday 23rd October, for an always popular signing event with one of the most notable surviving ‘Few’ from the Battle of Britain. This well attended event kept Tom busy signing all manner of items from the usual books and prints to model aircraft, especially of the Hawker Hurricane in which Tom became an ‘ace’ in 1940 with 249 Squadron. Ably assisted by his young friend Margaret, Tom sold a good stack of his excellent books, which made it a ‘profitable’ day for both him and the Museum.
Thank you to everyone who visited to support the Museum and meet Tom and not forgetting all the Museum volunteers who worked well to ensure the day was a memorable success.
'One of The Few' comes to Shoreham
October 23th, 2016
It was a proud privilege on Saturday 8th October for the Museum to welcome Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM, a veteran of both the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain as a Hawker Hurricane pilot with 501 Squadron. The signing event was a great success with visitors travelling from near and far to meet Wg/Cmdr Farnes and have him sign books and prints. The question and answer session that followed afterwards was well attended with Wg/Cmdr Farnes in fine form to make the whole day a great and memorable one.
D-Day at Shoreham
October 5th, 2016
The first Sunday in October 2016 saw the Museum given over to the Army for a signing event. Author and supporter of the Normandy Veterans Association, Raymond P. Newlyn, came to Shoreham to sell his books along with D-Day, Normandy and Arnhem veterans featured in the titles ‘D-Day 70’ and ‘The Airborne Club’. They were Paratrooper ‘Jock’ Hutton, Special Forces Alec Borrie, ‘Tankie’ Walter Fuller, Wireless Operator Bob Stevens, Medic’s David Whiteman & Alec Hall and Stanley Marsh of the Royal Navy.
To add to the great spirit of the day other visitors included RAF air gunner John Waye and the Pearly King & Queen, who kindly brought with them two wonderful Chelsea Pensioners resplendent in their long scarlet tunics. The Pearly King of Camberwell & Bermondsey Jimmy Jukes MBE, and the Pearly Queen of Rotherhithe Michelle Thorpe, devote all their time to helping homeless ex-service personnel find and furnish suitable accommodation.
The dear members from the Royal Hospital were ‘In Pensioners’ John Gallagher (006) ex-Royal Army Ordnance Corps and Dewi Treharne (327) ex-Royal Corps of Signals.
The event was well supported by visitors who eagerly snapped up copies of Raymond’s books complete with all signatures as well as getting their own items signed, so several hundred Pounds were raised for both the Normandy Veterans Association and Museum projects.
A 'Magical' visit
August 10th, 2016
It was a wonderful privilege on the last Sunday of July 2016 for the Museum to welcome the amazing Fergus Anckorn, the Far East Royal Artillery veteran who survived a terrible ordeal as a Jap prisoner of war. His experiences included escaping the massacre at the Alexandra Hospital in Singapore and later being put to work on bridge building over the infamous River Kwai.
At 97 years of age Fergus is a long-standing member of the Magic Circle and thanks to his magic tricks he rose above the worst the Japs could throw at him and in doing so helped many of his fellow captive comrades. Fergus was recently on TV with magician Richard Jones. a serving soldier who won the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ competition.
After a morning session in the Museum talking with visitors and signing books and prints, Fergus demonstrated his wonderful sleight of hand with incredibly clever tricks using just elastic bands and coins. After a traditional ‘bacon banjo’ and a glass of ‘Spitfire’ ale for lunch, Fergus kindly sat out in the Teagarden and with microphone in hand, regaled the assembled crowd with many tales from both his wartime experiences and in entertaining generations of folk with his magic.
Easter Sunday Signing
April 5th, 2016
The Museum was proud and delighted to welcome two wonderful RAF veteran aces to help launch the 2016 season. Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC & Bar was in attendance along with Squadron Leader Allan Scott DFM, who gained ace status over Malta.
The opportunity to meet these wonderful gentlemen drew a good crowd of visitors despite the poor weather and books, prints and model aircraft were duly signed.
As a token of thanks to Tom and Allan for their very fine signing efforts, Club member Ronnie ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Lamont presented each of them with a bottle of Scotland’s finest tipple, which were warmly accepted.
There are still some pilot signed portraits available of Tom Neil and the late, great Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown, priced at £25 each + p&p. Please contact the Museum for details.