The Duke of Gloucester joined volunteers at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome near Maldon recently to mark the centenary of the first ever medical evacuation by air and of the first operational flights from the airfield.
To mark the casualty evacuation by a BE2 aircraft from the Sinai desert in 1917, a period ambulance and a BE2 staged a re-creation. A Tiger Moth took to the skies to commemorate the first flights from the airfield, Europe’s largest surviving World War One aerodrome, and a low-level flypast by a Hercules C-130 marked the modern era of casualty evacuation.
The Duke officially opened the Aerodrome’s new 37 (Home Defence) Squadron Museum, which tells the stories of the servicemen of the Royal Flying Corps who made the exciting – and sometimes terrifying – journey from the beginnings of flight at Stow Maries. The museum also highlights the early years of the RAF and WRAF through to the closure of Stow Maries in 1919.
The Duke joined more than 200 guests as they soaked up the atmosphere of the Great War aerodrome. He spent time talking to Mrs Betty Hay, daughter of Captain Steven Hay GM AFC, Flight Commander, 37 Squadron, Stow Maries 1918, and Mr John Guiver, nephew of Amy Guiver, WRAF, RFC Stow Maries. www.stowmaries.org.uk