The Story of the International Bomber Command Centre and Bomber Technology
On 15th October CDLHS had its first ‘virtual’ presentation via Zoom. Dave Gilbert gave an extremely interesting and moving talk on his work leading the losses team at the International Bomber Command Centre. The response to the appeal for more information on the 57,000 or so airmen killed in Bomber Command has been truly phenomenal and Dave shared his personal journey of involvement with those lost airmen, and his determination to find out more about their lives and celebrate them.
This year is the bicentennial for a national scheme in which about 4,000 people emigrated to the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Some 190 people from Nottinghamshire joined the scheme and made the crossing in four ships.
The leader of the main group from Nottinghamshire was Dr Thomas Calton from Collingham. His group, known as the ‘Calton’ or ‘Nottingham Party’ were representative of typical settlers and were involved in all of the very turbulent history of the district.
Kindly donated by the Author, this book can be downloaded free of charge here:
A lecture presented to the
Society on 2nd October 2019 by local historian Ian Morgan, tracing the 34 miles
of the old Great North Road through Nottinghamshire.
This illustrated talk opened with a look at strip maps of the medieval period and how in 1555 the first law came into being to repair roads – something that had been the responsibility of no-one until then.
The audience heard
how for centuries the dangers of dark and isolated roads led to their
restricted use at night when only the Royal Mail and those on urgent missions
would travel on them. Most highway men were local and very few were well-known.
In the mid-18th
century Retford took a novel approach to its ambitions to enhance business and
income when decided to move the road so that it went through the town and
across the market place.
It seems that
travellers dreaded journeys across Nottinghamshire when the weather was bad and
it was known to have the worst roads, due to the land consisting of clay and
sand which washed away when it rained.
As the lecture
continued, memorable events and places of interest were traced along the route.
For example the importance of Newark during the Civil War; the terror of the
Nevison Gang; the genius of Smeaton who built the road out of town with its
flood-beating arches; the fire that destroyed Tuxford in 1701, and sundry
murders and progressions.
We are setting
up a new group to look at our area and the people who lived here during WW2 and
the surrounding years. If you are interested in joining us or have any
memories, stories, photographs, documents or objects from this period please
talk to Ann Akrill or Jeremy Lodge. Alternatively, talk to any of our committee
members at our events, or contact us through the contacts page on our website.
This will be an
informal discussion group for anyone interested in the period, but we will also
aim to provide a drop-in facility for people to bring in items of interest. The
group will also offer information and support for anyone researching these
important years of our history.
will be welcome to the first meeting at 10.00am on Wednesday 9th October in the
Collingham Archives, Swinderby Road, NG23 7PH.
Further information from: Ann Akrill: firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Lodge: email@example.com
Sophie Clapp, the Archivist at the Boots
Company was due to deliver this lecture on the 10th of April but unfortunately
was unable to attend. More fortunately, she was able to ensure that we had the
power point presentation and accompanying notes in time for our Chairman, Pat
Smedley, to step up to the podium and to deliver a fascinating picture of a man
of great character.
Jesse Boot had little in the way of early
advantages except an exceptional father whom he described as “…without wealth, without money,
without any business experience; his only asset was character”. John
Boot moved his family to Nottingham when his health deteriorated and he had to
give up his work as a farm labourer. There, he established the city’s first
herbalist store, preparing and selling remedies and giving consultations, so
preparing the way for a future retail empire.
Captain Geoff Dyer’s presentation on March
13 drew one of the Society’s largest audiences; perhaps unsurprising given the
local importance of the RAF. In fact, those present included other past crew
Given his 10,000 hours of pilot experience
and his studies in aviation history, Captain Dyer was more than qualified to
give a rounded and fascinating view of life behind the scenes in the RAF during
the Cold War.
In 1946 it was understood that any future war
would be nuclear and that the potential enemy would be Russia. Captain Dyer
highlighted the enormous and rapid development during that crucial period;
there were just seven years between the Lancaster and the Vulcan. The World War
ll Lancaster carried around five tonnes of bombs whilst the Vulcan carried two
million tonnes of TNT; and in the event that just one got through to Russia it
could have wiped out Moscow.
Issues around the Vulcan’s design and its
construction , as well as the responsibility of the captain for the rear crew
who didn’t have the safety of ejection seats were also covered as were the
experiences of being a test pilot and demonstration flying.
But this presentation also had its lighter side;
we heard about how the captain’s biggest responsibility was to stop the crew
from misbehaving during stop-overs and how exercises over Canada provided
opportunities to bring back large quantities of whisky – custom officers’
inspections were thwarted by hiding the bottles up the nose in the scanner bay.
This was the intriguing title of Jeremy’s talk which followed the Society’s AGM. He opened with a reminder of just how many traditions and rural events had disappeared over the last 60 years or so. Some of these could be seen in the way village people ‘sorted out their own’. In other words, dispensing justice to local miscreants. We all know about the humiliation of the stocks, but ‘Ran Tan Tan’? Alice Bealby, recording her memories in 1960, remembered a man being punished for abusing his wife with ‘ran-tanning’ or ‘rough music’. This was when a band of villagers assembled outside a house armed with sticks and old tin cans to make a lot of noise and would sing, for example:
‘Ran Tan Tan with an old tin pan, This man’s been beating a good woman’.
The Society organized a formal dinner to remember the Armistice on 17th November 2018 to bring a close to our commemorative events. Over 50 people enjoyed a very good evening and a wonderful meal of roast beef carved at each table. Everyone dressed up for the occasion and following the meal poems on the Great War were read out by Marion Collins, Helena Narracott and Nigel Priestley. Well known favourite songs from the period including ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ and ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’ were sung as a finale, with Anne Speed leading on the piano. Several hundred pounds was raised for Help for Heroes from the raffle and dinner. The final sum will be announced shortly and at our AGM.
[Afterword: the amount sent to Help for Heroes was £535.]
On the 7th of November the Society launched its programme marking the anniversary of the Armistice in 1918, with the story of Lincoln’s role in creating the first military tanks.
A record number of members and visitors came to the Memorial Hall to hear military historian Richard Pullen and filmmaker Andrew Blow recreate the story of the ‘Land ships of Lincoln’ and how the development of these military tanks became a major factor in saving lives in the latter half of the war.
Richard Pullen became interested in the tanks because his grandfather worked at William Foster and Co. of Lincoln from 1916. Fosters (with the help of Major Walter Wilson) were inventors and manufacturers of the world’s first tanks. Andrew Blow’s interest came from the discovery of rare 1918 film of the tanks taken on the Lincoln testing ground.