Sunday, 1 November 2015

Autumn Colour and Carpetbaggers

It was a nice Autumn sunny Sunday afternoon and just about perfect for a wander in thee countryside. Using a local map we set off from the car park at Draughton village next to the Brampton Valley Way. The route would criss-cross the old disused railway line that runs to Market Harborough initially taking us up to the village of Maidwell. Always a favourite time of the year for me as the leaves begin to lose the fight but their farewell provides a fantastic array of colour before the ground takes them. The journey continued uphill and the hum of the ever busy A14 (M1-A1 link road) which itself rises to a pounding roar as we navigate the perimeter fence. Walking away from the A14 we soon came to the Carpetbagger Aviation Museum at Harrington. Operation Carpetbagger was a general term used for the aerial supply of weapons and other supplies to resistance fighters in France, Italy and the Low Countries by the U.S. Army Air Forces that began on 4 January 1944. In late 1943, the 22nd Anti-Submarine Squadron of the Eighth Air Force was disbanded at RAF Alconbury and its aircraft used to form the 36th and 406th Bomb Squadrons. These two squadrons were placed under the provisional 801st Bomb Group at RAF Harrington at the beginning of 1944 and the first "Carpetbagger" missions were carried out. In April 1944, the group moved to RAF Harrington (Station 179), a more secluded and thus more secure airbase. It's a cracking little museum with photographs, maps and exhibits and unique film footage describing the secret missions flown by the Harrington Airmen. Other displays show the vast secret agent and supply network masterminded by the British Special Operations operated from RAF Tempsford. Alongside the Carpetbagger Aviation Museum is the old Paymaster General's Nissen Hut and the Northants Aviation Museum. This museum contains the remains of recovered World War II aircraft including parts of a Lancaster, Hurricane, Wellington, Tiger Moth, B17 Flying Fortress, B24 Liberator and other WWII aircraft. Leaving the museum we walked back along the old runway which eventually took us back in the direction of the Brampton Valley Way. Lots of unusual funghi on display as you would expect at this time of the year. With the clocks going back last night the afternoon was drawing in quickly and soon got cold. A really good walk of about 5and a half miles!

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