Please note that the dates for these tours may vary from the guide below. No tours will be offered until international borders are open.
Following a magnificent day watching those Flying Legends take to the sky yesterday, we had a change today but still filled with being able to view close up legends of the air. We started our day waking about ½ km to our coach as due to the Festival being held in Bedford we could not park or even get to the hotel parking lot. Does it matter, not in the least as Michael has the responsibility to look after his coach and he does a great job doing that but more than that he looks after us who are his responsibility when on the move. After then driving through this beautiful but sun burnt countryside we arrived at the Shuttleworth Collection.
There is much more there than the collection as there is the beautiful Swiss Garden, Woodland Walk, Swiss Cottage and nearby the Birds of Prey Park with its flying display. However, we were only interested at this time in the Collection. Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth began the Collection with his passion for vintage aircraft and their restoration and also his love of motor vehicles. Today 6 hangars are home to vintage aircraft from 1909 - the 1950s, some of which are the last airworthy examples of their type, alongside vintage vehicles, classic motorcycles and agricultural exhibits. All the aircraft in the Collection fly, there are no static models.
A very interesting collection is that of the buses and one in particular, the 1927 Leyland SG7 White Rose. The only surviving example of a maximum capacity of a single deck bus of the 1920s, now considered completely unique. Found by steam enthusiast Mick Jones, in use as a farm trailer with water tank in North Wales and the body had been removed and used as a static caravan. It had been damaged by fire and was rescued by Mike Sutcliffe MBE who found the correct missing mechanical parts and the restoration was completed in 2002. The bus was acquired by the Shuttleworth Collection in 2004 and has appeared in the London to Brighton Race, which it won in 2002 and has won much since. The White Rose is a great attraction for Brides on their Wedding Day.
Following our time at the Shuttleworth Collection we started to head the 54 miles to St John's Church, Beck Row, we found a lovely little pub at Barton, The White Horse Inn. We enjoyed lunch there in a very comfortable country pub run by the owner, Nuno de Francisco and his staff. I had the White Horse Ploughman's Lunch and have never had a better Ploughman's Lunch. After that first class lunch, we moved on and visited the Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery behind St John's Church to pay our respects to Flight Sergeant William Hugh Morrison who was killed in September 1943 when the plane that he was on crashed while returning from a training flight. When the Stirling crashed into the forest, he was the only one killed and the rest of the crew escaped with minor injuries. We visited this cemetery as Scott Morrison was on our tour with us and William was his Grandfather. We conducted a small Service and Scott was able to lay a poppy on his Grandfather's grave. A moving moment indeed.
Scott insisted that we find a local pub and drink a toast to all those lost who had served in 199 Squadron, this we did. We then headed back to Bedford for tomorrow we return to London.