Can you help us share Croome’s wartime story at the RAF Defford Museum? Find out more at the National Trust volunteering website.
A display celebrating the life work of local artist and historian Michael Barnard – shown earlier this year as part of the RAF Defford Heritage Day 2016 – is now on view in Croome Court until 14 October 2016.
Find out more at the NT Croome website: here.
The first RAF Guided Walk of the year took place on Sunday 5th June 2016 at 11.30am, meeting at the RAF Reception, Croome.
Further events are scheduled for:
- 3rd July,
- 7th August,
- 4th September,
- 2nd October.
Walk through Croome Park with trained guides who will describe the extent of the World War II RAF Defford base, while telling a fascinating story of the people & events connected to it.
Croome website has more details here.
A Facebook Event page for the walk on 2nd October is here.
Getting to Croome: information via National Trust website.
An Exhibition celebrating the life work of celebrated local artist and historian Michael Barnard, will open at Croome National Trust on Saturday, July 9th. The marquee exhibition is initially for one day only, as part of the RAF Defford Heritage Day 2016. The annual show is open from 10am to 5pm. Entry together with car parking and access to the RAF Defford Museum are free. Besides the Michel Barnard Exhibition, features of day will include Spitfire and Hurricane fly-overs, and a range of aviation-theme stalls and attractions.
Born in 1928, Michael Barnard is a well-known celebrity in Evesham and the Vale, thanks to his paintings with accompanying stories featuring regularly in the Evesham Journal and other leading local print media.
His ability as an artist emerged during the Second World War when he was a pupil at Prince Henry’s Grammar School – and also a Cadet NCO in the Evesham Squadron of the Air Training Corps. Through his membership of the ATC he readily and regularly had access to local airfields. His paintings and his recorded memories confirm a life-long fascination with RAF Defford and the airfields at Pershore, Honeybourne, Perdiswell and elsewhere. As an ATC cadet he seized every opportunity – of which there were many – to fly in RAF aircraft. The outcome was the indelible memories which illuminate and inspire his art and his historical record to this day.
As his style as a young artist developed, his fascination with the cinema became apparent and some his most memorable work comes from this period – notable his highly imaginative portrait of a ‘WAAF’ (inspired by the film “The Way to the Stars”) which now provides a striking introduction to the ‘Women of RAF Defford’ on-going exhibition in the RAF Defford Museum at Croome.
While he was largely self-taught as an artist, he pays tribute to his art teacher at Prince Henry’s, Miss Knight, and to the encouragement and advice of the famous cartoonist ‘Giles’ (Ronald ‘Carl’ Giles) of The Daily Express, and to a local headmaster, his uncle William McKanan-Jones.
The exhibition at Croome will show how his art evolved, providing a rich tapestry of life in The Vale through over the last 70 years, especially the local airfields and their impact on the community and the landscape.
He recorded his life and times in a richly illustrated ‘scrapbook of memories’ entitled “Secret of the Skies” (Perfect Image, Evesham 2002) which paid tribute to the Air Training Corps, then and now.
For more information on RAF Defford Heritage Day 2016, see https://deffordairfieldheritagegroup.wordpress.com/raf-defford-heritage-day-2016/ or phone National Trust Croome on 01905 370005 or 01905 370901
RAF Defford Heritage Day 2016 took place at Croome on Saturday 9th July, from 10am – 5pm. Full details can be found here.
RAF Defford, the secret airfield with buildings in the grounds of Croome Park, was the centre where British airborne radar, based on the inventions of the scientists at Malvern, was tested, developed and proven by flying trials, during the Second World War and after.
The outcome was a series of remarkable achievements, which played a crucial role in victory for the Allies in the War, and the defence of the West in the Cold War which followed.
By 1945, there were well over 2500 people at RAF Defford. Of these, up to 600 were women. They played a vital role in the fight to stay ahead of the enemy in the battle of the air waves, often in dangerous and demanding circumstances.
After the War, what had been achieved by these women was forgotten. This is their story.
The exhibition in the RAF Defford Museum is open to visitors on Sunday January 24th 2016, and thereafter seven days a week for at least three months. The Museum is open daily from 11 am to 4 pm.
Find out more about visiting the RAF Defford Museum at Croome on this page.
Working jointly with The National Trust, we are continuing to recruit volunteers to staff the RAF Defford Museum at Croome, to meet current needs and to cover the expansion of the Museum into a second building.
The Museum is open 11:00 to 16:30 (16:00 in winter), seven days a week. For every hour the Museum is open to the public, we need trained, National Trust enrolled volunteer Museum Stewards on duty.
Volunteer Museum Stewards play a vital role, talking to and directing visitors and helping them understand the history of RAF Defford and its achievements. Volunteers receive the general induction normal for Room Stewards, with specialist training involving DAHG for their role in the Museum.
As National Trust registered volunteers, Museum stewards will receive various benefits and privileges, and join a group with a high degree of team spirit.
Can you help us? Contact us for more details or phone Rachel Coltman on 01905 370001 or John and Ann Sterry on 01684 772234, for a chat about volunteering. Applications can also be made directly on the National Trust website.