F inding your way to the Wings over the Rockies museum couldn't be easier... you just look for the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress in the middle of Denver! Seriously, the museum 'gate guard' is a tall-finned B-52B - parked outside the museum's hangar. "he museum site is actually on the former Lowry AFB with the aircraft situated within a 150,000sq ft hangar dating back to 1939. Although the runway closed in 1966, the airfield remained active as a training facility until 1994, when the Wings over the Rockies moved in to preserve the history of Lowry AFB's operations as well as its collections, archives, and research library. The light and airy hangar contains a wealth of aircraft - most with a link to Lowry AFB, Denver or the state of Colorado. The earliest machine on display is the Colorado Aviation Historical Society's Alexander Eaglerock biplane built in Englewood, Colorado in 1926, while other early aircraft include a 1938-vintage Douglas B-18 Bolo bomber More up to date aircraft with local links are a Learjet 24 and the prototype Adam M-309 Carbon Aero that was developed in Colorado.
"Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them." These poignant words, spoken at war memorials in the United Kingdom and around the world on 11 November every year, exemplify how we commemorate those who gave their lives in the service of their countries. Indeed, during recent years the Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day ceremonies have been growing once more in significance as public events - a trend that is perhaps partly the result of more contemporary operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remembrance, however, can take many forms. When artist Richard Walker set out to learn more about his great-uncle, who had been killed in the First World War, it marked the start of an investigation which led to a number of surprising revelations. It was also the start of a journey of discovery that resulted in the creation of a remarkable memorial - a large (3.19 metres tall) panel painting, comprised of thirty-five separate canvases brought together in five sections.
"What did you do in the war?" must be one of the most used and abused phrases, but one that is now heard less often. Yet almost everyone in the United Kingdom and in the Commonwealth was touched by the great wars of the twentieth century and this inevitably included people who later became famous personalities. The politicians, film stars and sporting heroes of later years were the privates, sergeants and officers in the front line when their country was fighting for its survival. In this current era of reality shows where fame can come overnight and where some celebrities live in gilded isolation, it is sobering to consider that the personalities of earlier times landed in Normandy on D-Day, as Richard Todd of the Parachute Regiment did to capture Pegasus Bridge, or witnessed the shocking scenes relating to Belsen Concentration Camp as Dirk Bogarde did. Spike Milligan was a gunner; Enoch Powell became the youngest brigadier in the British Army and one of only a handful of men who rose from private to brigadier.
The Victorian historian Sir Charles Oman once wrote that "war is indivisible". It is never possible in wartime to completely separate one set of events from another, they are all inextricably linked. This is made clear in the acquisition by Jersey's Channel Islands Military Museum of a "Death Card" of a German soldier who was killed in 1944. As we reveal on page 85, in investigating the background to this memorial card it transpires that he was a member of a gun battery7 on Jersey which engaged the Royal Navy's fleet destroyer ILMS Onslaught. This ship in turn had attacked a German convoy which had tried to slip across the sea from Guernsey - a small flotilla which was transporting, amongst the varied cargo and passengers, a group of personnel from the Organisation Todt, which drew much of its workforce from across German-occupied Europe as far as Russia. Just to add to the intertwining of events, five days earlier the German convoy had been attacked by ships of the United States Navy and the guns on Jersey had opened fire.
It is a constant surprise to me how our understanding of the past often changes with time and nothing could exemplify this more starkly than the German occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War. With so many individuals from that difficult period in the Islands' history still alive and so much research having been undertaken we could he forgiven for believing that nothing new could be learnt. The so-called "Model Occupation" is gradually being seen in a far different light. As actor John Nettles makes clear in his interview with John Grehan (see page 16), the occupation was often one of fear and brutality. Indeed, this is one of the very reasons why John Nettles set out to produce his latest history of the occupation. That such an environment did exist is confirmed in the recently re-discovered papers of Frank Falla. This bundle of documents details some of the resistance efforts made by the people of Guernsey and how those caught acting against the Germans were treated - see the Briefing Room on page 6.
IN a time of great uncertainty for the Royal Navy, its ships and personnel have recently conducted a variety of notable operations during a busy two-week period, writes Martin Mace. In two separate incidents, for example, H MS Montrose and RFA Fort Victoria successfully intercepted pirates in the Indian Ocean whilst deployed on Operation Ocean Shield. Beginning in December 2008, this is the name of NATO's counter-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa with naval patrols being centred on the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin. On Wednesday, 13 October 2010, the Plymouth-based Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose was alerted to the presence of a pirate gang of ten men acting suspiciously in a small boat off the coast of Somalia. Believed to have originated from a known pirate camp, the gang's boat, loaded with ladders and fuel drums, was towing two other smaller vessels that have been traditionally used for pirate attacks against merchant ships and leisure craft.