Sunday 9 November 2014

Red Baron's WW1 fighter recreated

Red Baron's WW1 fighter recreated

With the the centenary of the First World War now well underway and the first Remembrance Sunday of the four-year long commemorations today, events and projects marking this momentous milestone and remembering all those involved in the conflict are coming thick and fast.

The subject of this post is one of the smaller projects in the grand scheme of things, but no less important for that - the latest replica of Baron Manfred von Richtohofen's infamous red Fokker Triplane.  I say "latest" as the Fokker Dr.1, to give it its proper designation, is one of the most popular World War One aircraft on the reproduction circuit thanks to its distinctive design and association with the greatest fighter ace of the time.  Indeed in many respects the red triplane has almost become synonymous with the Great War in the air, especially in the United States where many of them reside and where companies exist to manufacture kits.

The Dawn Patrol Rendezvous reenactors' Dr.1 at the National Museum of the U.S
Air Force, Dayton, Ohio, 2009 (source)

This new addition to the ranks resides and was built in Britain, however, by two enthusiasts at the Derby Aero Club.  Unlike some other replicas, which are often ­¾ or 2/3 scale, this one is also full-size and remarkably accurate to the original design - a testament to the owners' knowledge and attention to detail.  Hopefully we will see it at events around the country over the next four years (and beyond) - having experienced first-hand the Great War Display Team any further airworthy replicas are always welcome - perhaps they will all fly together one day!

D-EFTJ, a German replica, 2006

With several high-profile examples of flyable aircraft surviving from the Second World War it is easy to overlook the machines from the earlier conflict - original and airworthy types of which are few and far between.  Thus it falls to these modern replicas, built where possible to the highest detail, to remind us what flying and aerial fighting was like during the First World War and to honour the young men who flew them.  This Derby-built example is a worthy inclusion, and may there be many more!

Sunday 2 November 2014

Just like buses...

...nothing for ages and then a load come along at once - much like this blog lately!

Hopefully no-one's ever waited nearly a month for a 'bus (although the service round my way does its best to make it a possibility) but I'm certainly sorry - again! - that you've had to wait that long between posts.  Egads, I've been well and truly reminded why I didn't blog when I was last in full-time employment - work certainly does take up your time, doesn't it?  But have no fear, I don't intend to let Eclectic Ephemera gather dust and I absolutely promise you that no more than a month will elapse before new content appears.

In related news you may recall my mentioning the new [online] vintage magazine I have been involved with, In Retrospect.  Well despite a little wobble due to a lack of advertisers that splendid periodical is still very much with us - and soon to launch its first physical issue!  Sadly I won't be able to have something done in time for the inaugural edition (due for publication in about a month's time - watch this space for more news) but I have high hopes to make it into the January issue, fingers crossed!

Now, back to buses!  During the last few busy weeks I was able to get along to the local annual transport and classic car rally, held on the 12th October on Canvey Island and which has featured on this blog several times in previous years.  After last year's [literal] washout when floodwater severely curtailed the event, the rally's good weather fortunes had returned and we were treated to a bright - if slightly nippy - day (precipitating a series of winter colds culminating in a throat infection for your author, but it was worth it!).

Without further ado, here come the pictures:

CPU 979G, a 1969 Bristol VR, conveyed me from the local railway station to the showground; one of the many shuttle buses in use throughout the day ferrying people to and from the station, showground and museum - an excellent service.

Some old favourites from previous years were also again in attendance, including this 1941 Morris Z-Type GPO van and 1934 Morris 10/4 Saloon (below).

1950 AEC Regent III RT

This beautiful 1970 AEC Swift "SM1" caught my eye at the far end of the field; I particularly like the instructions on the front and side - today's buses should have the same I say (plus "Have fare ready" for all those bloody people who root around in their pockets/bag/purse for the money/ticket after they've boarded - can you tell I'm back in commuter mode...?)!

1953 Leyland Tiger

The showground is right next to the sea wall, on the other side of which is the Thames Estuary (on the other side of which is Kent), so at lunchtime I grabbed a bacon sarnie and mug of builders tea (complete in The Sun mug, I'm afraid to say) before taking a stroll along the sea wall.  By great good fortune I was lucky enough to see the SS Waverley steaming homeward-bound after one of its regular day trips on the Whitstable-Southend-Tilbury-London route.  The SS Waverley is the last surviving sea-going paddle steamer, built in 1947 to replace her predecessor which was lost at Dunkirk.  She was saved from the scrapheap in 1975 (sold for one whole pound!) and has since become a tourist pleasure ship on routes around the Thames, the Clyde, the Bristol Channel and the South Coast.  She's certainly a wonderful craft and, with next year being the 40th anniversary of her resurrection, I think a little cruise to London might be called for!

After lunch and that most pleasant surprise it was back to the buses:

1965 Leyland Titan

Then it was on the transport museum proper, whereupon arriving I was delighted to be met with the sight of London buses old and new!  I'd not yet seen the New Bus For London (seriously, they need to come up with a better name) up close and I came away most impressed.

Back in May the local bus operator, First Essex, commemorated 100 years of bus travel in Southend by repainting one of its vehicles in the original cream and red livery of Westcliff-on-sea Motor Services, which served the area until the 1960s.  I was pleased to see it at the museum alongside one of its forebears, a 1939 Bristol K.  Much, much better and more dignified than First's current livery of white, pink and purple I think you'll agree.  Perhaps we should start a petition to get them all repainted!

At my old primary school next to the museum the cars were packed in (a full house this year, so I heard) and undoubtedly the star of the the show for me this year was this 1935 MG N-type.  Lovingly restored over 20 years by its owner it was a testament to his enthusiasm, being in absolutely tip-top condition as far as I could see.  Alas in chatting amiably with the old boy it emerged that his son does not share the same level of interest and it was a shame to hear the sadness with which the chap admitted it.  We can only hope when the time comes it transfers to the hands of another collector (I did jocularly express my own interest, although with the more commonplace J-, P- and T-types fetching £30-40,000 and me still without a licence it would be a long time coming!) but honestly, who couldn't fail to be moved by this?


At the other end of the condition scale was this Model A Ford, a newcomer to the show (at least, I hadn't seen it before) which looked almost untouched!

One welcome return this year, though, was this 1930s Riley which had previously appeared as my show star.  Still a joy to behold, in lovely condition complete with period magazines, books and maps on the seats. 


To finish here are some close-up shots of the beautiful 1933 Huppmoblie K-321 Cabriolet Roadster, another show regular, over which I (not surprisingly) lingered for some time - even taking the time to explain to a couple of ladies the concept of a dickey seat and how the roof had to be retracted by turning the little handle behind the front seats.


Well, that's it from me for now, but I hope to be back in the coming weeks hopefully with some more interesting vintage news (it's been a bit quiet on that front lately, as it often seems to get around the end of the year).  Don't forget as well to be on the lookout for In Retrospect - in paper format! - from the beginning of December.


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