East Boldre Airfield Remembers WW1

East Boldre Airfield Remembers World War 1 -

And you're all Invited!  

 

 

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If you've never been to East Boldre there's a very special reason to visit next week and over the Bank Holiday weekend, when lots of events are taking place to commemmorate the village's role in WW1, the airfield and the flying school for some of the earliest pilots.  

A drama "From Forest Field to Western Front" takes place in the Village Hall on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Stop Press went to the first show this evening it was the most amazing and fascinating history lesson, and very moving.  The production was really clever using lots of very evocative images as the backdrop including the vivid reality of many planes which crashed locally killing their very young and mainly very inexperienced pilots.  There was a wonderful narration, and little cameos, mainly local "actors" playing their parts eg Lord Montagu (Malcolm Ross was excellent and authentic!), village people, and the young airmen.  The drama is sold out now but sets the scene for a very promising weekend...

 

Then over the Bank Holiday weekend there will be a fascinating exhibition together with a flying display and other events which recreate what life was like in East Boldre during WW1.

Weather permitting this will also include a spectacular aerial dogfight over the village, in memory of Second World War flying ace Doug Gregory who was tragially killed recently aged 92 in a hit and run accident in Blackfield.  Less than five years ago in 2010 Mr Gregory made a fabulous aerial display flight over East Boldre as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

The special aerobatic display scheduled for Saturday 23 May will take place over the former airfield in East Boldre, as part of a week long programme of events to commemorate the centenary of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) arrival in the village 100 years ago.  This will now be dedicated to Mr Gregory, who was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross after surviving almost 70 missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.  A founder member of the Great War Display Team, he built a 1917-style biplane and became Britain's oldest stunt pilot before retiring in 2013 with a final celebratory sortie on his 90th birthday.

Nine aircraft are expected to take part in the East Boldre event, including five British planes and four German, all replicas of aircraaft flown by pilots involved in the 1914-18 conflict.

It promises to be a very special air display - the planes are so much slower than today's and people should be able to see exactly how the dogfieghts were carried out.

The week long programme of planned events includes :

 

Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st May

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● 7:30 pm - "From Forest Field to Western Front" -

 

A dramatic production by John Smith depicting how the arrival of a large number of RFC airmen and WW1 impacted on the day to day life in East Boldre.

 

Tickets £5 to include the Souvenir Programme.

 

Doors open 7:00 pm.

 

Tickets from East Boldre Post Office or call Sue Adams
on 01590 612887 to reserve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday 22nd May

● 1:00 pm - Schools' Service of Remembrance at St. Paul's Church, East Boldre. (By invitation only.)
● 7:00 pm -Official Opening by Hon. Ralph Montagu with a small preview of the new exhibition material.
● Julian Lewis MP - Talk and Q&A session on the Politics of WW1.
● The Four Seasons Singers lead a WW1 sing-along. Tickets £5 to include the Souvenir Programme. Tickets
from East Boldre Post Office or Sue Adams on 01590 612887.

 

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Saturday 23rd May
● 10:00 am - Preview of the exhibition for invited guests.
● 11:00 am - The Exhibition Weekend is open to the public. You'll be able to view hundreds of newly
discovered photographs and documents from the WW1 RFC/RAF Training Station at East Boldre. The
photos, never before shown publicly, were taken by servicemen stationed at East Boldre during WW1 and
have spent the last hundred years hidden away in private photo albums and attics. Other exhibitors include
The New Forest National Park Authority, Friends of the New Forest Airfields, the RAF Association and the
New Milton Heritage Group. Officers of 84 Squadron, the only surviving RAF squadron formed at East Boldre
a century ago, will be flying in from Cyprus to attend the event.
● 11:30 am - Illustrated talk by Terry Butcher of the 84 Squadron (RAF) Association.
● Guided Airfield walks at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.
● Between 1:00 - 3:00 pm - Reserve date for flying display with a reduced number of aircraft.
Refreshments, BBQ and Tombola.


Sunday 24th May
● 11:00 am - The exhibition will be open with refreshments, BBQ and Tombola.
● 11:00 am - Service of Remembrance at St. Paul's Church conducted by Canon Ray Hubble, a retired RAF
Chaplain. Poppy tributes will be laid at the 21 war graves by local Air Cadets.
● 12:30 pm - The service to process to and conclude at the village hall war memorial to hear a RAF brass
quintet and see the 84 Squadron Crest unveiled by Flt. Lt. Peter Towill of 84 Squadron RAF.
● 2:00 pm - Illustrated talk by Terry Butcher of the 84 Squadron (RAF) Association.
● Guided Airfield walks at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.
● 3:00 pm - Reserve date for flying display if postponed from Saturday.


Monday 25th May
● The exhibition will be open from 11:00 am with refreshments, BBQ and Tombola.
● Guided Airfield walks at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm
● Between 1:00 - 3:00 pm - Great War Display Team to fly nine replica WW1 war planes in a 15 minute display
(weather permitting). Reserve date Saturday 23rd May.
Entry to the exhibition weekend is free. All events will be held at East Boldre Village Hall unless otherwise stated.

Please donate unwanted Christmas gifts and any other suitable items for our Tombola Stall.  Hand them in to Maggie at East Boldre Garage.

See www.eastboldre.talktalk.net for the most up to date information.  Contact the Chairman, Michael Husband at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details.

 

 

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