This girl was gobsmacked a few months back to discover that there was an Edwardian era flying school and then a WWI airfield not 25 minutes drive from where we live. We’ve been waiting for the right day (today!) to explore it.
People have lived at East Boldre for thousands of years (we wondered if this might be a robbed out barrow of some sort – there are lots of local tumuli)
100 years back one of the first air schools in Britain was built there. No concrete runways for these guys, just grass – and bumpy at that. It was later used in WWI, with hangars, mess etc on the east side of the runways.
Plenty of evidence remaining.
Flying was a dangerous business. I suppose we’re used to the stories from WWII of “The few” but the sheer volume of those who died in accidents on local Hampshire soil – many of them from Canada – astounded me. I defy anyone to look at the picture of Peter Rylands and not be moved.
Something else which surprised me, because we’ve flown over the area so many times on the Jersey – Southampton route, was the Beaulieu letters (until I found out that they’d only recently been restored). They’re supposed to mark the turning point for early air races.
To be continued in the week.