Tag Archives: Stirling bomber

The Stirling Project

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The Stirling Project facilities.
A complete seat frame and sub frame assembly of a pilots seat. Pilots seat frame assembly.
John showing us an observation window component from the cockpit and Pino with our own John McFarland.

Saturday morning of the reunion weekend and a trip to the Stirling Project was arranged. Arriving at the Project’s current base, the enormity of the project was laid bare to us all. The task in hand is exciting, terrifying and incredible, all at the same time – put simply, to build, almost from scratch the front portion of a Stirling bomber. To put this in context, there are no remaining examples either complete or in part and there also are no complete plans/ drawings of a Stirling. The dedication of the team is palpable as you stand in their facility – the space is full of mangled and corroded pieces of metal and sat within this are small islands of carefully re-crafted and reassembled new aircraft parts. Listening to Pino and John talk, it’s clear they understand the task they have set themselves – but its also incredible to hear of the support they have already received – only last week they returned from the Stichting Aircraft Recovery Group at Fort Veldhuis in Holland with loaned and donated parts to aid in the fabrication process.

From a design and manufacturing point of view I can appreciate the task they have set themselves and it was actually wonderful to listen to the team talk about the project and see how proud they were with their achievements to date. A project like this clearly needs support so I really would recommend that;

  1. You visit their website here.
  2. You seriously think about making a donation to the project
  3. You get in contact with them if you can either provide time, expertise or fabrication facilities.

Personally, I intend to keep a watch on progress and I have already discussed with Pino as to how I might be able to help them, even if only in a small way in the future.

Good luck boys!

‘Jock’ Sommerville full 1st Tour history – 1943

I’ve been busy over the last few days adding content to the blog – it dawned on me as I was doing it that there was no way of announcing it, or tagging the information for searches. I then realised that a blog entry is the way to do it and also a way to lead people to it via a search/ tag.

Under ‘Dad’ in the main menu bar, there is a new drop down menu. Third down, is 75(NZ) Squadron RAF – Tour 1 1943. Off this is Bob’s full first tour history. It contains crew and a/c information, the 75(NZ) Squadron Operational Book extract and the equivalent entry from the Bomber Command Diaries. Where aircrew/ a/c were lost on a raid, I have also listed the individuals and their fates.

Go to the first op of the tour – ’30/7/43 Mine Laying off the Frisian Islands (Gardening)’ here

Fingers crossed……

Stirling bomber N6101 from 1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach. Image © Imperial War Museum.

I am having a search through the Imperial War Museum image archive – I have no idea what I am looking for, but I guess I’ll know if and when I find it…….

And then I think I do……

1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach, Cambridge shire photo taken around 1943. The image is of a Stirling with a bomb train leading to it – The designator letter on the aircrafts side is quite clear – “E” and the aircraft serial number is listed as N6101. I go back to Bob’s logbook to have a look…..just in case….

Bugger me – there is an aircraft listed July 19th 23.30 (night training) – ‘Stirling ‘E’’. Its too good a chance to pass up, so I order a hi res digital copy of the image.
I know the chances of it being the same aircraft is incredibly unlikely – laughably so, I suspect, so I throw out a question on the LAF – perhaps actually hoping not to get an answer back……
Perhaps inevitably, I get the answer back I am expecting from Neilw;

Sorry! – The Stirling Story (Bower) has N6101 as crashed by runway and burnt out 09/12/42.

Oh well, it was a nice dream for as long as it lasted and it’s a beautiful picture of a Stirling anyway…….