Saturday, 17 September 2016

Copyright Westland archives
   October Newsletter

Welcome to the second of the quarterly newsletters.

This issue is a little early due to Holidays.

Unfortunatly we are still having real problems getting the workshop set up at Fishburn airfield and untill this is ironed out we are unable to get on with the build which is not only frustrating for the team but disapointing for you the members, please be sure that we are doing all we can to get this situation sorted out as soon as possible.

In the mean time things are still happening behind the scenes.

A thank you to Roger Rasmussen from Norway for his kind donation to the project.

There has been an exploration of Fox Tor on Dartmore by Drone to examine the area and see if there is any evidence of the crash site of two Whirlwinds details of which can be found below.

The sale of the limited edition Profiles by Richard Caruana has gone very well and enabled us to add some more money into the kitty for when we are able to start the build again. As a way of saying thanks to Richard for his kind donation of the Profile we presented him with one of the limited edition prints.

Note from Richard.

The postman has just delivered the Whirlwind print and I'm really impressed with the way it turned out.
Many thanks for this copy which within an hour or so will be at the frame makers to hang in my studio.
Give my sincere thanks also to all those working so hard on the Whirlwind project, and hope to live to see it being rolled out one day!
My compliments on a job well done, and would be most pleased if it will bring in funds for the project.
Kindest regards,

This is an  article by Jim Munro on the progress of his film on the Whirlwind.

We had a very positive 2-hour meeting in London earlier this summer with a Production Company having a strong pedigree in Documentaries & with links to TV organisations both in the UK & internationally. 

There is a tacit understanding that the film will be made and right now a search (with drones) is taking place for a missing Whirlwind on Dartmoor as a possible key event (if WW located) on which to trigger the launch the film.

Meantime work on developing the film storyline has been proceeding apace with the 2nd of the two logical 'parts' of the overall story now showing more promise having earlier proved to be something of a Cinderella.   That 2nd part starts after the first 6 Whirlwinds were awaiting the German invasion of Britain........which never materialises, thereby providing a natural and useful hiatus in the storyline of our film.

Current state of play is that there is plenty of work to be done on further working up the detailed storyline/prospective screenplay.  At the same time we have been chasing down interesting leads on an opportunistic basis & these have included a)meeting up with S/Ldr Robert Woodward's daughter Roberta for the very first time, also b)getting closer to finding out which 'diminutive' ATA girl pilot 'upset' Alec Torrance by waltzing all over the sky in a brand new Mustang she was ferrying, back in 1942/3!      And John McClure (Ontario, Canada) has been helping Dodge Bailey (Chief Test Pilot at the Shuttleworth Collection) with some details of techniques employed for flying the Whirlwind, since possibly relevant to other types flown from Old Warden.

Informal contact has also been established with the New Zealand based team responsible for putting a Mosquito into the air (it now resides in the USA) and now working on others, the second being expected to fly any day now.

Cheers Jim

Copyright Westland archives

From the shop

Following their successful launch at the AGM, we now have the following new products available in the shop.

'Convoy Patrol' painted exclusively for the WFP by renowned artist Michael Daly MBE AGAvA has been reproduced as a limited edition fine art print signed by the artist and Whirlwind pilot John McClure DFC

The original exclusive acrylic-on-canvas painting is also available

A limited edition A3 side profile drawn exclusively for the WFP by renowned artist Richard Caruana and signed by Whirlwind pilot John McClure

Both prints are also available unsigned

'Convoy Patrol' has also been reproduced on greetings cards, available in packs of five, whilst there is also an adhesive free static cling windscreen sticker.

Please visit the shop on our web site to find other goodies for sale.

Many thanks for your continued support
The Whirlwind Fighter Project Team

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Dartmoor Survey Project

Anyone who has followed the Whirlwind story to any extent will be aware of the almost legendary pair of Whirlwinds that disappeared over Dartmoor in appalling weather on December 29th 1940, with tragically fatal consequences to F/Lt Wynford O.L. Smith and P/O Donald M. Vine.

Though the two pilot's bodies were found and given decent burial in Exeter, the location of the two aircraft was quickly forgotten, except to some local witnesses who remained clear and consistent in their claim that one or both were in Foxtor Mire – a dangerous and remote stretch of semi-liquid bog that was the inspiration for Conan Doyle's horse-and-rider-swallowing 'Grimpen Mire' in the Hound of the Baskervilles.

In searching for these aircraft, the WFP have been very lucky
to now have on board Robert Stone and his team of Birmingham University Engineers
Copyright Robert Stone

Robert is in fact Professor Robert J. Stone Bsc(Hons), MSc, C.Psychol, AFBPsS, CergHF, FIEHF Academician (IHEAS, Moscow), Chair in Interactive Multimedia Systems and Director of the Human Interface Technologies Team at the University of Birmingham -

There is a 'team within a team', who's very appropriate logo is at the foot of this article, who are focussing on work in the 'Digital Heritage' arena. This includes compilation of data into models that aid the understanding and ultimately the preservation of our heritage.
Via Dutch WFP member Bas Coolen, himself a specialist in UXO detection and battlefield archaeology, Matt Bearman made contact with Robert. Bas alerted Matt to the fact that the team had been testing their remote-sensing drones over Dartmoor already, and when Bas told Bob what might be there at very short notice they performed some extra passes on our behalf over the area 'most likely' to have been where the two aircraft ended up.

Having obtained records of eye-witness accounts from Gareth Jones, a well known aviation archaeologist who had researched the Dartmoor Pair a decade ago, as well as Rob Jones (author of the definitive book on Dartmoor air crashes), Ian Macrae and others, along with met reports and the surviving 'official' documentation, Matt had already postulated on the (differing) approximate locations of the two at the WFP AGM. In August Bob and team returned to Dartmoor, this time specifically to take some high resolution (4k) video from a very low altitude at these locations.

There was one nasty moment – in an unintended bout of 'practical experimental archaeology' the drone did impact somewhere near the middle of the mire on the first day of the survey, thus replicating the fate of the aircraft that can't have been too far away. In an operation that read like the tracing of a space probe on an alien planet surface from the last gasps of battery power, the drone was located and an intrepid team of Bob and student set of into the Grimpen mire to recover it from its calculated position. To everyone's relief, they found it. 

Copyright Robert Stone

There have been some potentially interesting results, but to prevent anyone traipsing over the mire – which is a very dangerous pastime – or digging it up, which could result in some quite severe legal repercussions, we will not be detailing much here at his stage – especially as no-one wants to look daft when things turn out to be interestingly-shaped stones, or even sheep bones.

Copyright Robert Stone

In the meantime, here's an example of an interestingly-shaped stone or bone from Bob Stone's lone drone

Matt will be hiking to the most promising spots that are NOT in the squishy bit in the week 24th-28th October. If anyone wants to join in the 'field walk' please do, but there won't be room in Matt's camper with the wife and two kids – and please bear in mind these are PROBABLY NOT Whirlwind bits at all. Matt is really going to rule stuff OUT, not in.

The really exciting part of the 'Mires Project', as it is now rapidly becoming, is yet to come. Bob has really taken the bull by the horns, and he now has his PhD students designing specific instruments to detect aircraft parts in the mire, as part of their academic work. Very specifically the plan is to devise a sensitive, reliable yet lightweight metal detector that can be hung onto a drone and flown at very low altitude over the key locations in the impassible squishy bit. Frankly, if there's a large body of metal in Foxtor Mire, it really can only be one thing.

A HUGE thanks to Bob and team for all of this – we are a lucky bunch of amateurs to have such extremely professional and dedicated help.

 Contact details---------------------

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