During the weekend of 18/19th May 2013 Newark
Air Museum hosted a weekend dedicated to one of the most
loved of all British Jet Aircraft, the English Electric
Lightning. The event ran on both days of the weekend,
with the museum opening between 10am and 5pm on both
Newark Air Museum is the home to Lightning T.5 XS417,
which was the first production of the T.5. This was
flown from Salmesbury, for its first flight, on 17th
July 1964 in the hands of the legendary English Electric
test pilot Jimmy Dell. A restoration and repaint of this
airframe was commenced during the early part of 2011.
This was completed for the date of the above event. This
event was used to celebrate the Lightning XS417 having
spent 25 years at this museum, having been purchased by
the museum in 1988
Callsign Alpha was specifically asked to attend this
event and we were pitched alongside this magnificent
Cold War Warrior!
We set off in convoy from Mansfield on Friday the 17th
of May with the Bedford MJ leading and two landrovers.
Guy in his resplendent RAF Military Police 110 Defender
and Martin were on route to RV at the museum the same
day having driven from up from Norfolk.
As usual the weather forecast for the weekend was mixed
so fingers were crossed.
The usual task of laying out the dpm cam net and tent
pitching then ensued and the sight of the tents and cam
net next to the RAF Lightning looked really in
character. An unscheduled appearance of the BBMF
Lancaster was a welcome sight as it flew a low pass over
The rest of the evening was used to sort kit and prepare
ready for the public the next day.
Once again Paul’s wood burning stove was going to be put
to good use as before but the heavens opened at tea time
and the deluge of rain started and did not stop until
well into the early hours.
Saturday morning thankfully no rain but overcast so
after breakfast the busy process of getting the display
items out went ahead.
The kit all laid out and everyone ready the public were
admiring the various displays.
So the day went by really well and with extremely
positive comments from museum staff and public alike was
warmly welcomed by us. We were spectators of the BBMF
Spitfire and Hurricane who did several low level fly
pasts and the sound of those distinct engines always
brings a smile.
Henry joined us with his winterised defender 110 and
also Mick & Jackie had made the trek in their RB 44 and
were soon set up on the display. The parachute regiment
display complimented the overall display very well
indeed. All the military vehicles on our display really
looked the business.
We were also joined on the Saturday by a new member Tim
who took some very good photographs so a warm welcome to
Another guest who joined us to display was Clive on his
military police Harley Davidson motorcycle. Thanks Clive
for preparing and displaying the bike to such a high
professional standard it really looked well.
The evening soon came along and we discussed the way the
event had gone and this time before retiring to our bed
we had another log burning session which always gets us
Thanks to Mark from M.R. Surplus (Driffield) the arctic
sleeping bags performed exactly what they were supposed
to do and the cold overnight temp did not get to us.
Thanks very much indeed Mark!
The Sunday was so much better weather wise with clear
blue skies and that bright object not seen very often.
It was all too soon time to take down all the displays
and pack away safely but clearly again a very successful
weekend and a very big thank you to Mick and Jackie for
attending and to Guy and Martin for daring to come ooop
North and join us for this special event at Newark Air
We have been already asked to come back in 2014 so that
is indeed high praise for the members who attended and
gave their expertise in making this display event a
Thank you all the Callsign Alpha members and invited
guests who made the effort to attend.
Also a big thank you to
the event team at Newark Air Museum who made us feel
most welcome at this event.