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Review: 'Can we borrow your airfield?'

Tim Prince, one of the founders of the International Air Tattoo, gave the first in a series of talks at Greenham Common's control tower

Review: 'Can we borrow your airfield?'

The first in a series of free talks was given by Tim Prince

Tim Prince, one of the founders of the International Air Tattoo and now Honorary Vice Patron of the Royal International Air Tattoo, gave the first in a series of free talks last Wednesday at Greenham Common Control Tower.

During the talk, entitled ‘Can We Borrow Your Airfield?’, Tim explained how he and Paul Bowen found themselves in a difficult situation in 1972 when the airfield they had held the Air Tattoo at in Essex was then no longer suitable with the completion of a motorway at the perimeter.

The search for a new venue led the pair to Greenham Common, which had a 12,000 foot runway and was then a standby USAF base.

Tim explained that until the late 1970s, the event was run entirely by volunteers with assistance from the Armed Forces, as well as many voluntary organisations in West Berkshire.

The show grew in size with many more aircraft included. It also became bigger thanks to the involvement of local World War Two legend, Douglas Bader, who became a patron of the event.

With the permanent reactivation of Greenham Common with an active unit in 1982, the last show was held at Greenham in 1983.

Tim shared a series of excellent photos of the Air Tattoos including many of how the control tower operated the shows in the 1970s.

The next free talk, A History of Greenham Common Airfield, takes place at the Control Tower on Tuesday, 26 June at 7.30pm.  Book your free ticket here.

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