Our site home page on the corporate intranet had recently taken to publishing a "Hursley fact of of the day" to which I submitted a piece based on something I saw on The History Channel a couple of months ago. I switched over, it came back from an advert break and resumed ...
... then in September 1940 disaster struck. The Luftwaffe bombed Supermarine's Woolston and Itchen factories in Southampton causing the loss of hundreds of lives and badly disrupting Spitfire production. Production was quickly moved to Hursley Park, near Winchester ...
I went surfing to verify my words and found them essentially verbatim.
Last week I got a call from HR asking if they could use my submission. I told them it's why I had submitted it. But it turned out that they were at that very moment giving an 80-year-old lady who'd been resident in Hursley during the War a guided tour and the BBC were filming it.
A couple of years ago the auditorium in The House was reopened after a major refurbishment. In stripping out the old cladding and false floor, they discovered that during the war the auditorium had been used for benchtesting Merlins before they were fitted to airframes. The floor was awash with oil and on the wall was a sign that read something like "WARNING Aviation Fuel. No smoking under pain of instant dismissal."
It gave me a really warm feeling to know I'd brightened that little old lady's day.
Yesterday the flight flew up Southampton Water past my house from horizon to horizon and a number of us stood outside silently saluting the Spitfire as they roared by in all their magnificence. The media seemed unsure as to exactly where they were flying to: would it be Romsey, Totton or North Baddesley? I am quite certain they flew to Hursley (between Romsey, North Baddesley and Winchester) to pay their respects to The House (which remained HQ to Vickers until IIRC 1956, when we took it over. That gave me a warm feeling too.
I have a warm feeling now: bugger it: nurse, I've wet meself again.
As a Child I loved being near an airfield. Namely the "works" field for Rolls Royce Hucknall. It was almost "normal" to here the lovely sound that is the "Sigh of a Merlin" on a summer's day.
Funnily enough, we have a Flying P-51D out of the Municiple airport here and although it is definately a Merlin, it does not has that soft "whistle" of The spitfire.
I do hope that these great machines never end up all TX'd
Last year, airshow here (Malta) starred Spit and Hurricane, flown down from Duxford (took 3 days to get here). I can't fully describe the sight and sound as they flew at wavetop level along Grand Harbour, whilst thousands watched from the battlements of Valetta and the 3 Cities. Suffice to say I have "memory goosebumps" as I write this.......