Sunday, August 26, 2018

Departure (Okuribito)

An amazing take on "Departure" as we all at some point have to leave this world. From the Oscar winning film. And yeah, some of us may leave it from here. Or there. Does it really matter?

Composer: Joe Hisaishi

Performed by: The London Symphonic Orchestra

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Joan Baez surprised by Scandinavian talk show: – I’m in culture shock | Skavlan

Lovely lady who is still so very active, "longing for that feeling."

Then she sang this

At Woodstock, in 1969, she sang the song about the Swedish worker and socialist activist, Joe Hill. He was wrongfully executed by the US authorities, in Utah, of all places. "Joe Hill ain't dead..."

More versions here, from Paul Robeson to Bruce Springsteen...

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, Alive as you or me Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead," "I never died," says he. "I never died," says he. "In Salt Lake, Joe," says I to him, Him standing by my bed, "They framed you on a murder charge," Says Joe, "But I ain't dead," Says Joe, "But I ain't dead." "The copper bosses killed you, Joe, They shot you, Joe," says I. "Takes more than guns to kill a man," Says Joe, "I didn't die," Says Joe, "I didn't die." And standing there as big as life And smiling with his eyes Says Joe, "What they forgot to kill Went on to organize, Went on to organize." "Joe Hill ain't dead," he says to me, "Joe Hill ain't never died. Where working men are out on strike Joe Hill is at their side, Joe Hill is at their side." From San Diego up to Maine, In every mine and mill - Where working men defend their rights It's there you'll find Joe Hill. It's there you'll find Joe Hill. I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, Alive as you or me Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead", "I never died," says he. "I never died," says he.

Hope you will add your own version too.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Visiting the F10 Royal Air Force Flight Museum in Sweden

This summer I had another task except visiting Croydon in London, as described in the previous post. I also wanted to go back to the Swedish F10 Royal Air Force Flight Museum in Ängelholm, a town in southern Sweden. My youngest aunt Gertrud worked there as a nurse until the air base was closed by the end of the Cold War so she was my guide.

The main reason I wanted to pay it a visit is that it has what I believe is the only complete exhibition of how Swedish airfields could be used as emergency landing places for returning airplanes, mostly bombers, after terrible raids deep into Nazi Germany during World War 2. Many hundreds of pilots and their crews were rescued this way, most of them young Americans and Brits, but also Canadians - and even a handful of German airmen.

This map shows southern Sweden. Each of the top (dark green) dots represent American airplanes. The middle (red) dots represent British airplanes, and the bottom (black) dots German airplanes. As you can see down at the lower left, most airplanes were escorted to Bulltofta airfield in Malmö, the city where I was born.

At least 62 American planes, 14 British and at some point or another, one German, landed at Bulltofta in Malmö.

Rinkaby was another airfield that saw a lot of action, which all escalated especially in the summer of 1944, as well as in the lower right, showing how some 12 of these huge American planes would have managed to land at tiny Sövde airfield near Sjöbo. It is a story that needs to be told again, don't you think?

And here is how to connect the dots, so to speak - it was the duty of Swedish pilots belonging to the Royal F10 Scania (Skånska) Air Force Wing to intercept the foreign airplanes, find out their status, and guide them to safety at the bigger airports like Bulltofta (or guide them out of Swedish air space if they did not need to make an emergency landing, but were simply lost).

Here is one image of the displays from the F10 Flight Museum homepage.

These missions were often flown during the night, so the help of the F10 pilots must have saved many lives.

As you can see from the other dots, many other bombers and airplanes crashed in rural areas of southern Sweden, without much hope of aid or rescue. For more details, check out the Forgotten Airfields homepage.

Of course this has been described by WW2 historians, but I feel that somehow, the story needs to be told properly, and all the Swedish F10 pilots ought to be given a big "thank you!"

There is only a very small monument at Bulltofta in Malmö, and at a nearby church in Kirseberga, a black marble memorial to the Swedish pilots who fell in the line of duty between 1941 and 1945.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Visiting Croydon Aerodrome Museum in London

It was just great to take the train and then the bus and suddenly it was there, way south of London, this airport that had been a fixture of my imagination for so long. The end of the journey for the two characters in my novel, and there it was. A much larger white Art Deco building than I had imagined, and as I took the tour, "Where is the airfield?" I had to ask.

The Tower has been wonderfully restored and is also used for offices.

You can take the tour and walk up into the Tower, and enjoy the displays. And, yes! There is a delightful collection of photos and other items related to the 1937 flight from Tokyo.

Peter Skinner was my guide, and he invited me to the Archives, where I could go through their official file called "Divine Wind" - the translation of the Japanese word kamikaze. Remember, please, that the April 1937 flight that I describe in my novel happened before the end of WW2, when that particular word took on a completely different meaning.

Closed in the 1950s, and left to rot, and not much to save, until the volunteers moved in and created this wonderful museum that is only open once a month. Make sure you catch it if you are in London. It is well worth a visit.

Check out the Historic Croydon Airport homepage.

Hello Martin,
Thought the picture of you was very flattering!
Yes, the Pathe News clip of the arrival was very good and shows scenes very similar to those in the stills in our collection.
As an aside. The film clip shows one of our famous aviation personalities - The Master of Sempill, who had connections to the Japanese Navy, welcoming the two fliers at Croydon. Believe it or believe it not, in 1955, when I was an Officer Cadet in the Royal Air Force, I was inspected by the self-same Master of Sempill, at a Passing-out Parade in the Isle of Man. He came over from the Scottish Highlands and was dressed in a ragged shepherd's cloak and was carrying a shepherd's crook, whereas we were all dressed in immaculate uniforms! We all had a big laugh afterwards!
Best regards,
Peter Skinner

HCAT Archives

The guides all have personal stories to tell, they know the place in and out. I had the best time, thank you all so very much. I thought the picture of Mr. Skinner holding my book was rather flattering, too.