Raydon Wings are the operators and
organizers of air shows and gatherings at the former WWII USAAF
airfield in Suffolk. The airfield was built by the Americans during
1942 and into 1943, with the first fighter group arriving in the
December. The airfield remained operational until September 1945
when the last Mustangs departed. It had been the home to the 357th,
358th and 353rd fighter groups flying both
P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts. But on 25th August 2007
the sight and sound of a Mustang flying over Raydon was going to be
seen and heard again.
It must have been difficult for
the organizers and volunteers of the last gathering which took
place on Saturday 25th August 2007: the weather during
the week running up to the Saturday was
more characteristic of a bad
November, with strong
winds, driving rain and days when it barely got light all day.
It would have been hard battling with these elements while putting
up the marquees and fences, and hoping that all the efforts would not
be in vain. As this was probably the worst summer on record – the
Saturday was likely to be the same. But, by late Friday afternoon,
the weather settled down and we were treated to some evening
sunshine: everyone was hoping this was a sign for the day to follow.
The stars & stripes fly's again over Raydon
Saturday dawned to a misty start
but by early morning it cleared to reveal a perfect blue sky
with hardly a cloud in sight and a light wind of no significance.
The stage was set for what promised to be a memorable day. The
military vehicles, classic cars and aircraft started to arrive and
the invited guests were able to enjoy the day wandering around
looking at the displays, or by just sitting in the late summer
sunshine having lunch and a cool drink. In the afternoon the crowd
was treated to an air display from some of the visiting aircraft including a thrilling display by
wearing the markings of “Janie” a Mustang based at Raydon during
1944 flown at the time by Bill Price who named it after his sister.
The marquee of the Raydon Airfield
Preservation Society (RAPS)
Guests looking at the displays around the RAPS marquee
The original sign that once hung over the door of the airfield pub
BSA motorcycle complete with riding gloves
The line-up of some of the military vehicles
One of the classic car lines
Members of the Raydon & District Model
Aircraft Club with their aeroplanes
Some of the light aircraft that flew in
Guest taking the opportunity to admire the warbirds
at close quarters
Spitfire PR XI
Harvard "Fools Rush In"
Cockpit view of Stearman N4712V
Stearman N4712V resting by the wind-sock
Maurice Hammond in Mustang P-51 "Janie" preparing to
depart with the Stearman starting to roll
Mustang P-51 "Janie" with a very lucky
passenger in the back seat waiting for start-up
display, the crowd started to trickle away and the vehicles and
aeroplanes headed for home. After they had gone the sun finally
set on what had been a very special and unforgettable day.
All of these pictures were taken on a
Sony DSC-W17 Camera.
Review of the 2011 Gathering
Please use the back button on your browser to return