Shipdham Barbecue 7th August 2016  
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On a lovely Sunday lunchtime I went with my parents and several other members and their friends to Shipdham Airfield to have a BBQ at the Clubhouse, as Roy West flies a light aircraft from there. The BBQ had lovely beefburgers and sausages cooked on the BBQ by the butcher who supplied them and who has a shop in Dereham. Bowls of vegetables, baked potatoes and salads were served inside the Clubhouse.

Most people ended up eating inside as although it was a lovely sunny day it was very windy and so plates and napkins blew everywhere and even the baked potatoes would have blown away if they were not wrapped in foil! For dessert we had strawberries and cream and also a selection of cakes. There was plenty of everything to go round and second helpings were available so needless to say the butcher/chef was kept very busy cooking.

Later we were split into two groups and taken to have a look inside the hanger where many general aviation light aircraft are housed by various members of the Shipdham Flying Club. These included a Pitts Special and a Fokker DR1 Dreideckeckker with the machine guns and cockpit covered.

Following the tour of the hanger we were taken around the 44th Bomb Group Museum where we had a guided tour and an interesting talk by one of the Flying Club Members, who told us many interesting facts relating to the dozens of photographs which were displayed around the walls of several of the rooms in the Museum.

The Museum told the story of the 44th Bomb Group which was called The Flying Eightballs, named after the final black Pool ball to be potted, the image of which was on the nose of the B-24 Liberators. There were several pieces of memorabilia, photos and models of aircraft that were based there such as "Lemon Drop" which survived the Ploesti Raid in Romania and became an assembly ship; also the model of "Flak Alley" which was in the library. Later some of us had a look at a former transformer building and were told where the Control Tower is now situated, by the Industrial Estate.

As the wind did not drop those who Roy had intended to take on a flight could not go up as it would have been too dangerous and uncomfortable especially after having our BBQ! Many thanks to Roy West, Peter Wood and those who welcomed us and showed us around and made this such an enjoyable afternoon.

Andrew Elphick
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