Davidstow Airfield and Cornwall at War Museum

Newsletter June 2014

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Link to the web page here – June 14 Newsletter (some information may not be readable unless you do)

A new Newsletter and a new Editor – I’m not sure if that is good or bad! My name is Mike Quance, I am a volunteer at the museum and, for better or for worse, I have taken over the duties of Editor of this newsletter. Don’t worry though, this is the only time you will have to look at a photograph of me! As I have not seen any of the previous newsletters I will have to create my own format for what this and future ones will contain. Obviously there will be information on new displays and forthcoming events, but if anyone reading this would like to see some specific areas covered then we would welcome your suggestions. Just send me an email at [email protected] and I will see what I can do.


We are very pleased to have been awarded the 2014 Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor. This certificate is given as a result of comments made by members of the public on the Trip Advisor website as well as those made by Trip Advisor reviewers themselves.

The fact that we have been rated either Excellent or Very Good in the comments made, shows that the hard work put in by Steve & Sheila and the volunteers at the museum has been worthwhile.

Hopefully the museum will continue to grow in forthcoming years and we will continue to receive favourable comments from our very welcome visitors - and maybe even another award!

Saturday 14th June 2008 was a glorious sunny day, perfect for the official opening of the Cornwall at War museum.

Six years later in 2014, the 14th June was also a glorious sunny day and provided ideal weather for a group visit by the Cornwall Association of Local Historians. About 30 people came for a visit that lasted all day. After an initial introduction by Steve they split into three groups, with two groups being escorted around the museum by Sheila and myself whilst the third group went on an Airfield Tour under the very capable direction of Rod. On their return the groups changed over such that at the end of the day all of our visitors had been around the museum and visited the airfield. The photo shows the group enjoying a lunch-break which was probably most welcome by some of the older visitors! Certainly the comments made by them on their departure showed that they had really enjoyed their visit – which is not surprising when you have a group of historians looking at history!

If anyone reading this belongs to an organisation that would enjoy a group visit to the museum then why not phone Steve on 07799-194918 to see what arrangements can be made.

One of the more recent acquisitions at the museum is a radar unit. The photo shows John, who is one of our willing (?) volunteers, cleaning the unit with a heavy-duty industrial power washer. The next stage will be to sand down any remaining loose or flaking paint and then re-paint it with the conventional red and white squares. In the longer term Martin (our mechanical genius) intends to fit some form of hydraulic motor so that the radar head will rotate. There will not be any power radiated from the radar so it will be quite safe to stand near it and, when finished, should look quite impressive. At present all we know about the radar is that it was manufactured by Plessey. If any newsletter readers has a radar background and can provide any more details we would be very pleased to talk to you.

New Buildings

World War 1

As it is now 100 yrs since the start of World War 1 it seemed appropriate to dedicate a new building to this. We already had a building for the Battle of the Somme and this has now been extended to provide additional features, photographs and displays. We also have on trial a “smell generator” which gives out what we believe is a typical musty aroma – mixed with a tinge of cordite! The new building (No. 8A) displays a time-line showing major events of WW1 and the period leading up to it. As well as various artefacts on display there is also a small cinema with a very informative film about the war. This though is not the type of film that is currently being shown on TV but has a lot of previously unseen footage of different aspects of the war, including a very unusual technique for training pilots to fire their guns!

Animals at War

This building was actually open at the beginning of the current season, but if you haven’t been recently then it is certainly worth seeing. Apart from the well-known use of horses and pigeons, it also has informative displays on dogs, cats, mules, elephants etc.

Search and Rescue

This is at the other end of the Animals at War building and has a display on Search and Rescue equipment together with a DVD showing a Search & Rescue Training film. The S& R equipment (both old and new) is fascinating and deserves to have a photograph included in this newsletter. Regrettably this has not been possible due to the problems of taking photos through glass windows and having reflections from the nearby doorway. The solution? Simply come to the museum and see for yourselves!

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Telephone: 07799194918

Address:  Nottles Park, Davidstow, Camelford, PL32 9YF