Joan Jackson: Artist

Followers may recall this painting of number 43 Chapel Street, Brownhills.

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Rear view of 43 Chapel Street, Brownhills, by Joan Jackson.

This original oil painting was based on a photograph, probably black and white, taken before Joan and her husband were forced to move after the house was condemned in about 1967.

Recently, I received a request from Wendy Cooke, who wrote: Continue reading “Joan Jackson: Artist”

Homage to Sugar

Today’s phonetic alphabet goes … Romeo, Sierra, Tango, but in the 1940s S was for Sugar.  In this post S-Sugar is a Lancaster bomber with a long list of raids.  My connection is that my uncle, Leading Aircraftman Frank Dennis, serviced the electrics and instruments on this very aircraft.  I blogged about this in Sugar Survives!.

Lancaster S 1 (480x211)
Lancaster bomber S-Sugar

I prefer this dark, sinister and menacing image of a night-time assassin, but a bit more detail can be seen in the next, adjusted image.  In the hangar the lighting is quite low and the underside in shadow, as it would have been when setting off on a raid, with only starlight or non-full moonlight.  The people serve to show just what a monster this was.  The wingspan was 102 ft (31 metres).

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Lancaster S-Sugar, brighter.

Uncle Frank never mentioned Grand Slam, so I suspect he never saw one, as it was expensive and used sparingly on the most difficult targets – see board below.

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Grand Slam. Barnes Wallis designed this 22,000 lb “earthquake” bomb to bury itself and destroy foundations of large structures.
Lancaster
Information board about Avro Lancaster.
Lancaster S 2 bomb bay w blockbuster
Lancaster bomb bay with blockbuster bomb, at 12,000 lb, also designed by Barnes Wallis.

 

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S-Sugar, scale and unit markings.
Lancaster S board
S-Sugar, brief history, information board.

Transcription

In its long career this Lancaster carried two sets of unit markings and three different designs of unofficial nose art work. These drawings show the aircraft in No. 83 Squadron markings as Q-Queenie and No. 467 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force as ‘S-Sugar’. The photographs illustrate the nose art work.

Whilst with No. 83 Squadron the aircraft carried a painting depicting a devil with the words “Devils of the Air”. On moving to No. 467 Squadron RAAF, ‘Q-Queenie’ was recoded ‘S-Sugar’ and received a fresh nose decoration of a kneeling nude supporting a bomb. Finally, whilst based at Waddington, it acquired the bomb-log and Goering’s foolishly extravagant claim.

Lancaster S Goering (480x353)
“No enemy plane will fly over the Reich territory”.  Herman Goering.

Sadly, the 467 Squadron badge is not on display, and although I reproduce the famous 617 “Dambusters” Squadron badge below, there is no connection, except the “Lanc”.

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Badge for 617 “Dambusters” Squadron.  Apres moi le deluge.

Clearly, the RAF Museum at Hendon is not just about this one aircraft.  The exhibits are well presented, with lots of explanatory material, and it is well worth a visit.  Entry is free, but you will have to pay £3 or £4 for parking.  The nearest tube stop is Colindale on the Northern Line.  Some rebuilding work is going on in anticipation of the centenary of the RAF in 2018, so some exhibits are not available.  I will return!

The King & Castle

Have I at long last found that illustrious ancestor connected to royalty?  Sadly, no.  This is about a trip last week to the Severn Valley Railway (SVR).  The King & Castle is the public house forming part of Kidderminster station, the eastern terminus of the heritage railway that runs through the Severn valley from Bridgnorth, Shropshire.  Speed has to Continue reading “The King & Castle”

Stourport on Severn: a postcard

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The Tontine, Stourport on Severn

Here I am at The Tontine, in Stourport on Severn, Worcestershire.  The view from the doorstep shows the short route into town via the broad lock gate next to Clock Basin.  Stourport in a pleasant little Georgian town, though the traffic is a nuisance.  Apparently, it is the only town created as a result of canal building, being an important inland port Continue reading “Stourport on Severn: a postcard”

… but you can’t take planning out of the boy.

Well, that is what was said around the time I decided to leave the employ of Walsall Council.

However, as I once remarked to a former colleague, once you are on the outside planning becomes largely invisible.  Today, though, I noticed something that triggered a rye smile. Continue reading “… but you can’t take planning out of the boy.”

Plane spotting: D-Day deception

lancaster silhouette front

Some time ago I suggested to BrownhillsBob that some images from an aircraft recognition manual from 1944 might be of interest. I am only just getting round to it.

I inherited the manual, which I think belonged to my late uncle Walter Dennis, who, after his shift at Kynoch, Perry Barr, Birmingham, was charged with spotting aircraft movements. There was a network of such people across the country: the Royal Observer Corps. They reported their observations to operations rooms by field telephone, which helped with decisions about defence against air raids, for example directing anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft. Continue reading “Plane spotting: D-Day deception”

X marks the spot

Prime Minister from Liverpool to May

I have featured this coin before. These pictures were the first I took with a new lens that acts as a short range telephoto (90 mm) and macro, or close-up. But what was going on when it was minted two centuries ago?

As mentioned in my blog about the year without a summer, 1816, the country was suffering. Wages were in decline, harvests failing, the price of grain rising and with it the cost of daily bread. There remained a surplus of labour following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. Continue reading “X marks the spot”