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North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area Report Spring 2013.

Once again we have had serious flooding in the Cotswolds. I am not sure if it is purely coincidental but Charlie has just purchased an LVT or water Buffalo as it is more commonly known which plans to take to the next War and Peace and which I am sure will attract a great deal of interest. Another recent addition to the area is the Dobson's RB44 which now has a communications body on it and which looks superb.

With the drop in temperature and darker nights drawing in it is the usual (and far more sensible) practice to leave our military vehicles in doors for a few Months and occupy our time either catching up on reading while sitting in front of a log fire. Well anyway, that is what I reminded myself while scraping the thick ice off my car on what was the coldest morning of the year so that I could get the Jeep out from behind it. The Jeep obviously thought this as well as it really did not want to start. Thankfully, with the assistance of John and Mark we were off to join other Area members for one of Dave Moy's off road runs over the border into Warwickshire and Glocestershire. Dave has the most amazing talent for finding green lanes through some of the most beautiful countryside. Unfortunately, I was already frozen solid by the time we arrived at the start. Four hours (and one pub) later we gallant few arrived at Windrush airfield to meet up with the other area members who had arrived to see a fly in at this historic airfield. As I attempted to thaw out my hands which had frozen to the steering wheel I saw most of the other members had already dashed in to the control tower. The smell of freshly cooked bacon and sausages was the probable reason for this and our thanks went out to Colin, Shirley, Brian, Tony and Maggie who were working furiously in the kitchen. Although the smell of bacon was calling to me I watched the Auster taxi away, turn around and then come tearing back up the landing strip towards me. It was quite disconcerting to watch it being buffeted around in the strong wind, but it quickly took off, did a circuit and flew off in to the distance. At that stage the desire for hot food was so strong that I ran to the control tower to see if there was any left.

Roy then gave a very interesting talk on the history of the airfield and had numerous aerial photographs to show how it had developed over the years before becoming a camp for displaced persons and eventually being abandoned. Almost all of the buildings have long been demolished but thankfully the control tower was saved from this fate by a parachuting club who used it as their club house for a while. The weekend prior to the road run we had arranged a working party to go up to the control tower, give it a good clean, check the electrics and tidy up the grounds. Our sincerest thanks to everyone who could make it and help preserve this piece of history.

Other events that we have been to included the families day at RAF Brize Norton for 47 Air despatch Squadron. They have relocated their DC3 from RAF Lyneham to Brize and this made a very interesting backdrop for our vehicles. Another cold and windy day did not discourage our members from going to the Kidlington Airfield and we had 10 vehicles arrive to support the Long Hanborough bus museum open day. Thankfully the bus museum was quite warm and the members all enjoyed it and the free bus rides.

Our Area members have been very helpful in assisting the Royal British Legion this year and we have had good turn outs in Banbury, Henley on Thames, Bourton on the Water, and Stow on the Wold. While he wasn't looking someone placed a fake parking ticket on Jim's Land Rover which was parked outside Henley town hall. Jim could not believe his eyes, but when he got closer he realised that it was actually a receipt inside a fixed penalty notice bag. That and everybody else laughing was enough to give the game away.

We always try to provide some form of entertainment at the Area meetings and we were very lucky to have Robin Mills provide another well illustrated talk this time on the subject of the Battle of the Atlantic. In the November meeting Nathan brought in rare colour footage taken by the "Scandal" politician John Profumo of the Northants Yeomanry (with Bren and Windsor carriers) at Brackley which was fascinating. This was followed by a war time film on bomb disposal provided by Julian which much like watching episodes of "Danger UXB" resulted in me regularly holding my breath for long periods.

At the end of November (another freezing day) I took the Jeep to my daughters school as her class were doing a project on WW2. The kids were very interested and asked lots of questions. I later heard that Brian and Michael had just taken a Champ, Jeep and Bedford to Freeland school to help with their project. We all had rewarding days and it is satisfying to know we are passing on our interest to the next generation.


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