Military History Tours On Tour - Bomber Command (RAAF in the UK) 17 July 2015
Leaving Wolverhampton we were heading further south with a final objective as Winchester. This is quite a long run so we left at 0830 but immediately became caught up in traffic getting out of Wolverhampton.
Finally the traffic cleared and let us proceed. Our first stop was for a morning tea break in the famous Cotswold village of Broadway. Often referred to as the "Jewel of the Cotswolds", Broadway village lies beneath Fish Hill on the western Cotswold escarpment. The "broad way" is the wide grass-fringed main street, centred on the Green, which is lined with red chestnut trees and honey-coloured Cotswold limestone buildings, many dating from the 16th century. It is known for its association with the Arts and Crafts movement, and is situated in an area of outstanding scenery and conservation. The wide High Street is lined with a wide variety of shops and cafes, many housed in listed buildings.
Broadway is an ancient settlement with the known history of the village to be over 5,000 years and so may be evidence of one of the first partially settled sites in the United Kingdom. Broadway has also seen the settlement of the ancient Beaker people (1900 BCE), and later, the Roman occupation.
By the 11th century the village was already well-established and apparently thriving. It is listed in the Domesday Book as part of the land holdings of the Church of St Mary of Pershore.
With all this history around us, we did what any budding historian would do, found a coffee shop and settled down to ponder! Broadway is such a beautiful village and leaving its history behind one can just appreciate the buildings in their golden Cotswold stone facades.
We gathered after our morning break and continued our journey to Aston Down via the village of Bibury which is also noted as one of the most beautiful in the UK. At Aston Down, a World War 2 airfield we were served lunch at the Cotswold Gliding Club and need to thank Jacqui for such a wonderful spread. There was a course being conducted and due to that course, we were not able to go for a glide ourselves but we watched as the gliders took to the sky and drifted back in such a graceful manner.
Prior to leaving we were able to take our coach around the airfield to view the existing WW2 hangers and both runways. It interesting to note that the Australian Flying Corps trained here at Aston Down as well as Leighterton where we were then heading.
We arrived into the village of Leighterton and made our way to the Cemetery where we conducted a small Remembrance Service for the 24 Australian flyers who had been lost to accidents while training as pilots before being posted to France. We then headed to the Church in the village, established around 1290 and has an ANZAC corner which is dedicated to those pilots.
We were pleased that we were able to visit the cemetery and pay our respects and following the visit we set off towards Winchester where we will be basing ourselves for our time visiting the area.
Tomorrow we have a number of visits programmed and plan to return early to Winchester to visit the magnificent Cathedral.