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North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area Report Spring 2010.

I was very impressed with the latest Windscreen, especially to see so many pictures of members taking their green machines out in the snow. I keep intending to take my Jeep out for a drive in the white stuff, but I keep having this terrible worry that someone else might lose control of their car in the slippery conditions and crash in to me. Can anybody offer me some suggestions on how I can overcome this paranoia and thereby enable me to take dramatic pictures of my Jeep in the snowy countryside?

We had our Area AGM in February and although Tony and I thought we had identified a volunteer to take over one of the roles it was in fact someone raising his hand to just ask a question. I must therefore report that I am still Area Secretary, Tony is the Chairman and Nathan remains the treasurer (and who is still disappointed that he has not been given any treasure).

During the AGM we presented the Noel Bryon memorial trophy for the greatest contribution to the club to Don Evason who did a tremendous amount of work in organising the road run at our Swinbrook event last year and who has managed to bring in a fantastic selection of guest speakers. His work was very much appreciated by all of our members.

We had a second trophy to present, but this had to wait until the March meeting. This went to Brian Tegg for “The most shows attended” and comprised a WW1 German shell case with an engraved plaque. Brian attends an incredible number of shows each year and it will be interesting to see whether anybody else from the area can do more.

As an Area we have always been very lucky in finding some very interesting people to come and talk to us. Most of these have been WW2 veterans, but these chaps although fascinating to listen to are really getting on in years and as their numbers dwindle we will soon be listening to just veterans of more recent wars. Our most recent guest speaker was Martin Reed the second in Command on the P&O ship Canberra during the Falklands War. He delivered a most interesting talk on the preparation and role of the ship during the war and was able to show on our big screen a large number of colour photographs that he took during the war. Interestingly, the only damage suffered by the Canberra during the war was caused by the back blast of an anti aircraft missile fired by a Marine who was standing too close to the outside of Martin’s cabin. The back blast broke a window and damaged his drinks cabinet. War can be hell!

A few of our members were invited up on to the ex USAF cold was airbase at Upper Heyford for a tour. Taking with them two Jeeps, a Champ, Bedford MW and a SUMB and meeting up with a DDR Tatra car they had plenty of opportunity for some great photos. The airfield was established during WW1 and after WW2 it was leased to the USAF, until the Americans withdrew in 1993. Unlike many other airfields of this era it is remarkably untouched and looks very much like it did the day that the Americans shut the gate for the last time. Probably the most striking feature of the airfield is the 56 bomb proof aircraft hangars. These would each have held an F111 aircraft and is constructed out of two foot thick concrete and steel. Despite the amazing history of the site the local council are looking to redevelop the airfield and plan to build several thousand new houses. However, as they have been quoted a price of £2 Million to dismantle each hangar it would seem likely that these will remain untouched. I am sure that there is always a market for new houses with adjoining garage that will hold about 100 cars. I will suggest it to my wife that we should consider moving there if one comes up for sale.

Looking at the photos that were taken by Dave Bayliss everyone had a great time and managed to get access to a fascinating site that will soon be lost. There is an intention to establish a museum on the site and although some of the buildings have been given protected status, it will be a poor comparison to the complete air base that stands at the moment.

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