Whilst in a blog mood, I recall a few years ago seeing an article together with some photographs in a certain local publication. Someone had submitted pictures taken at Bovingdon of some genuine WW2 aeroplanes. The aircraft had been utilized for a major film titled THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN. The subscriber/publication also wanted to know if anyone else remembered the public display and had any photos. I responded by website and e-mail. But for reasons to fiddly to detail, something appeared to go wrong with the communication. I copied my e-mail and promptly submitted it personally to the reception area pertaining to the anonymous publication. It was to be passed on to whoever.
Unfortunately, in the wake of this submission, for the next few weeks, I could not find any reference to not only my response, but also to anyone else who may have contacted the journal. So it means that unless I did not spot something, the poor member of the public never had a published response.
At risk of me being incorrect, I feel that my unpublished article could qualify as a blog for our website. Despite the fact that I see an area of improvement to some of the phraseology, the rest of this blog consists of my original believed to be unpublished reply.
It was with interest that I saw the photographs of WW2 aeroplanes in your history section. In fact it pleases me. I have read and heard some people omit this area’s involvement concerning some of this film’s location work. I gather some was also done in Spain. Hemel Hempstead may not be so exotic, but it still played its part for the film, The Battle of Britain. And the location is more authentic.
I seem to recall reading something in your paper, stating that we should not be surprised if we see WW2 aeroplanes in the sky. Even in battle or on fire. I don’t recall seeing anything that spectacular, but every so often I saw these ‘planes flying in the local skies of 1968.
I believe that the display on the ground at Bovingdon Aerodrome, was one Saturday during early or mid October. By coincidence, the previous Monday, I joined The Hemel Hempstead Cine Society, now Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers.(I am still a Member.) I say coincidence, for I visited Bovingdon that Saturday and took some home movies with my first cine camera. It was an 8mm Kodak Brownie. A few years later, this gauge became known as standard 8. Also referred to on occasion as normal 8 or even regular 8. This was due to the introduction of the super 8 and single 8 gauges. Whilst on my very modest production, I met someone from my new film making club.
I remember returning home and watching a rock ‘n’ roll show on television. Modern movie making enthusiasts may wonder why I did not watch my cinematic pictures on my television set as well. The reason for this is that the four minutes worth of film I took, on this short roll of Kodachrome II film stock, then had to be posted to the Kodak laboratory, also by coincidence, in Hemel Hempstead. It was then I had to wait until it was developed, and then subsequently returned for me, with excited curiosity, load, thread, and project onto a screen.
A few years later, in October 1971, I commenced working at Lucas Aerospace. I was now part of the aircraft industry. But it was an interesting, and possibly unique experience, for me to actually be able to go close up to these aircraft, both British and German. When I was born, their pilots were enemies. That Saturday at Bovingdon Aerodrome, the aeroplanes stood beside one and other, no longer utilised as flying foes in opposition, but now in welcomed peace.
© Alan French.