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The Aircrew Association Archive Trust dissolved as a charity on 30 June 2020.

Nevertheless, the ACA Archive at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington will endure and continues to welcome contributions.

The Archive exists to record memories and memorabilia of military aircrew and to make sure that key material is carefully preserved and available for research and display.

Please think carefully before discarding any relevant material and consider offering it to the Trust.

See the Trust page for details of how to make contact with the ACA Archivist, who will be delighted to assist.

The Last Project Propeller June 2022

by Nick Glover, a member of Woking Branch ACA and a flying instructor with Aerobility at Blackbushe

Sunday 19th June 2022 dawned a little cloudy, a little hazy, and a little windy. Just about flyable for the last ever meeting of WW2 Aircrew Veterans organised by the charity Project Propeller.

Volunteer pilots like me provide their time and an aeroplane to fly as many veterans as possible from all over the country to a central airfield where they get together for a few hours, then we fly them home again in the afternoon. Ten years ago we mustered around 120 light aeroplanes bringing several hundred veterans together. This year we needed 66 aeroplanes, hence the decision to make it the final meeting.

This last meeting was to be at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green airfield, a venue very little changed in the last 80 years.

PP Manager Graham Cowie introduced me to John Cooper, a pilot who had trained in the USA, and on return converted to Wellingtons then Lancasters. He remained in the RAF after the war continuing to fly on Lincolns, and eventually became an instructor and IR instructor/examiner. I was immediately on my mettle in such elevated company, and that old feeling we get on check flights came flooding back. I needn't have worried. John was  polite and self deprecating, and it was a pleasure to be in his company.

We took off from Blackbushe at 1015 and initially set course for Brize Norton to transit their overhead. I avoided the problem of demonstrating my inferior skills by handing the aeroplane to John, who took it with great relish, and proceeded, with all of his 98 years, to show how an aeroplane should be flown.

Things got quite lively at Halfpenny Green with so many aeroplanes arriving together. One pilot clearly hadn't read the briefing notes and he ignored the briefed radio procedures, speeds, headings and reporting points, which kept the rest of us on our toes. At this point I took control, only because, in the event of a mishap, I could honestly say on the inevitable paperwork that "I" was flying the aeroplane.

The meeting went very well, and John met up with several old colleagues, and also the daughter of his regular rear gunner. Food and entertainment was provided and there was a great atmosphere as veterans caught up with old friends.

There were several aeroplanes on display, including a spitfire and Avro Anson. At two o'clock there was a short display by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Hurricane.

Departure in the afternoon was much easier as aircraft just took off and set course home.

On transit at Brize Norton the controller wanted to know why so many aeroplanes were from Halfpenny Green. On explanation he wished my veteran well.

For me it was a privilege and a pleasure to take part in the last meeting. I formed a friendship with John and have had several outings with him since. If I'm lucky enough to reach John's age I hope I have the enthusiasm for life that he still has.