On 12 May we welcomed Veterans from Hull to visit XH558.
The visit was organised by Norland Crew CIO, which is a charity run by former Veterans, Keith Thompson, Derek Degg and Craig Metcalfe. The charity provides advice and support services regarding issues of loneliness, trauma and a signposting service to access other services if required. In addition, the organisation arranges trips to events and places with particular relevance to the service users e.g. remembrance parades and war graves… and iconic Cold War jets.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Norland Crew charity has been supporting Veterans and their families. The charity has been helping former members of the military deal with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD, which have been exacerbated by the effects of the nationwide lockdown. They have also been providing home food deliveries to older Veterans who were shielding during the pandemic.
One of the guests on the day was a piper. Danny Fleming was a Pipe Major with the Scots Guards and was a member of the British Armed Forces who took back the Falkland Islands after Argentina invaded in April 1982. Our visitors and Volunteers were treated to a goosebump-inspiring rendition of Auld Lang Syne played on the bagpipes. Danny also played a number of other tunes, including Men of Harlech and Scotland the Brave, while the Veterans took a look around the Vulcan.
The Avro Vulcan served with the Royal Air Force from the mid-1950s. Nearly 30 years later, the aircraft became a part of the task force assembled for the Falklands Conflict. Norland Crew Trustee, Craig Metcalfe, said “The Vulcan holds a special place in so many hearts”.
There was an Argentine 135KG bomb on display under the aircraft for the visit, which was donated to Vulcan to the Sky Trust in May 2022. The bomb was found at Stanley Airfield by the Technical Intelligence Team during its visit to the Falkland Islands in June 1982. The bomb was renovated by EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Wittering and presented by the Tech Int (AIR) to the Defence Intelligence Cell as a memento of the South Atlantic Campaign.
During their visit, Veterans were also able to climb up to the cockpit for a look around and had a demonstration of the bomb-bay doors in action before leaving the airfield and returning to the meeting point for some lunch.
Norland Crew’s Craig Metcalfe said “Everyone really enjoyed the day and the Volunteers were excellent and very informative.”
All of the Vulcan to the Sky Volunteers, many of who are also Veterans of the Armed Forces, thoroughly enjoyed the day too.