The life of a guide and volunteer at Stow Maries Great War Airfield
20 May

Our speaker for Monday 20th May is Dave H-C, he is a tour guide and volunteer at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome and will be speaking to us about the history of the airfield and his experiences as a guide and volunteer. I imagine most of you have heard of Stow Maries, but here is a link to their website just in case.

The work of the RAF sites in Essex to defend London during WW2 is probably much better know than the work of their predecessors in the Great War, but Stow Maries has a lot more of interest, their website has the following:

"Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome is a unique place, with a unique history. Its story covers 100 years of life comprising feverish excitement interspersed with periods of calm and tranquillity. The aerodrome lies to the east of Chelmsford and west of Maldon, Essex, within an area of gently-rolling farmland.

It is the largest known surviving group of RFC buildings on a WWI aerodrome which was not adapted for further military use later in its history. When considered with its growing collection of objects directly related to the site and its activities, a truly unique resource is evident.

The site has significant natural heritage value and is in Natural England's Higher Level Environmental Stewardship scheme. Ponds and a meadow have been created and the land supports declining farmland species such as Brown hare, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and a variety of Owls, including Barn Owls, Little Owls and overwintering Short-eared Owls.

Originally opened in 1916 as home to B Flight of No 37(HD) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, the aerodrome saw the birth of the Air Defence of Great Britain in response to the first raids by Zeppelins and Gotha bombers on London and the South East. It played a key role in the Battle for Britain (the first London Blitz) the following year. It was at Stow Maries that No 37 Squadron transitioned from the Royal Flying Corps to the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918. It continued in its dedicated role until May 1919, when the RAF closed its doors forever."

The Royal Naval Association Club, 73-79 East Street, Southend on Sea, Essex,
20 May 2024 20:00