You are invited to attend our free exhibition of the WW1 military flying school at the East Boldre, Beaulieu Airfield, with some recently discovered, exciting new material. We have enhanced our exhibition to include the WW1 military hospitals at Brockenhurst, which treated many of the pilots injured in flying accidents at East Boldre. After his second crash, Sergeant Arthur Simmons spent several weeks in hospital where he took a number of photographs which we have restored and added to our collection.
During 1916, Corporal Gordon Tucker was an aircraft rigger at East Boldre. He later moved to airfields in Hounslow and Wye where he continue his career as an aircraft engineer. During his time in the RFC, he kept meticulous pocket diaries of his experiences, the repairs he made to aircraft, his run-ins with superiors, the food he was served, his romantic liaisons and the many flights he took. His letters and diaries are the most extensive record found to date, of the day to day life on a WW1 military airfield.
Gordon Tucker’s diaries contain many unexpected gems, for example, the entry for Sunday 12 November 1916 provides previously unknown information about the Commanding Officer. It reads, “Lovely day. Plenty of flying. Capt Westerdarp now CO. Lt Byers killed in a Curtiss nosedive.”
Recently, his sons, Michael and Stuart Tucker, have made their father’s memorabilia available. Michael Tucker, age 84, who has transcribed his father’s diaries and letters, has flown from his home in Australia to be present at exhibitions at Hounslow, Wye and here at East Boldre. He will bring a range of WW1 memorabilia, including his father’s uniform, diaries, documents, photographs and medals. His 90 year old brother Stuart, who lives in Surrey, is currently unwell but we hope he can also be here.
At 11:00 am on Saturday 27 July, we will formally thank Michael and Stuart and present them each with a signed copy of our book, ‘From Forest Field to Western Front’.
In addition to the photographs and the Tucker diaries, the exhibits will also include the New Forest National Park Authority’s mobile WW1 exhibition and stands for the Milton Heritage Group (Friday and Saturday) and the East Boldre Painters Group.
At the same time, the latest designs for the new East Boldre Community Hub and Community Shop will be on display in our new Robert Coles Room, and there will be someone on hand to answer your questions.
The exhibition will be at the East Boldre Village Hall on Friday 26 July from 1:00 – 5:00 pm, Saturday 27 July from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Sunday 28 July from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be available.
We look forward to seeing you if you can make it.
With best regards
Secretary, East Boldre Village Hall