Plan seeks £1.5m to reopen World War I Essex airfield

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Former World War I airfield Stow Maries could be restored and opened as a museum, reports the Sunday Times.

The newspaper reports that the site, near Chelmsford is Essex, is expected to receive a grant of £1.5m from the National Memorial Heritage Fund in June.

If this goes ahead, its wooden hangers will be rebuilt to house a collection of aircraft from the 1914-1918 period. The restored airfield could then host a flying day next year to as part of the Commemoration of World War I.

Russell Savory, driving force behind the project, told the Sunday Times: ‘Almost a quater of a century before the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, people were experiencing the terror of aerial bombing for the first time. This will remind us of the role of pioneers of aviation.’

Savory intends to use the initial £1.5m to buy out a business associate who helped save the site from developers and then apply for a further £4m to restore the 22 buildings that would have formed part of the World War I airfield.

Most of the planes that Savory hopes will soon occupy Stow Maries will come from the Bianchi Aviation Film Services, whose reproduction and original aircraft have appeared in films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

The airfield was used by pilots who were protecting London from Zeppelin and bomber attack. Among those reputed to have been shot down after being damaged by aircraft operating out of Stow Maries was Zeppelin L15, which crashed near Margate in Kent.

 

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