The Probus Ewell bikers’ formation visited the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum and Chapel on 20th August. The permanent memorial chapel at Biggin Hill emerged in 1943 when RAF personnel thought it would be appropriate to have a memorial to the increasing number of aircrew who were being killed on operations from within the Biggin Hill sector, remembering especially those who had died in the Battle of Britain. Further more, there was a desire to commemorate that victory, and mark the destruction of the 1000th German aircraft by fighters from the Biggin Hill sector, which happened in June 1943. It was then decided to choose aircraft flown from Biggin Hill airfield during the Battle of Britain, by two fighter aces who had survived the war. Spitfire K9998 QJ-K represents one flown by Pilot Officer Geoffrey Wellum of 92 Sqn and Hurricane P2921 GZ-L represents one flown by Flight Lieutenant Peter Brothers of 32 Sqn.
The museum opened recently and although small is nevertheless interesting in documenting the heroism of the ground crews and, in particular, the WRAF contingent based at Biggin during the war.
The highlight must be the memorial chapel and stained glass representing the various facets of Biggin Hill and the RAF during war years.
The report from the bikers was that the ride outbound on the A25 was uneventful apart from a Jim having to execute a very graceful forced landing in the middle of the A25. Pleased to say no damage to the pilot or machine.
Coffee and sandwiches in the café were welcome although Ron declined on a weight and balance basis. Apparently, the inferior German built machine struggled on some of the hills and the additional fuel load had to be rejected. Well Biggin Hill is 600 feet ASL!
Joe took over as leader and path finder on the return run taking us into the wrong turn-off before the fly-over in Croydon resulting in the flight ending up in the middle of Croydon where enemy pedestrians and buses broke up the group with the leader opting to run for home base. The remaining machines had to battle with the flak in Mitcham and Morden to safely reach base. The leader, having bailed out in Croydon, was eventually found drinking tea in Ewell.