November 10, 2013 … age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn*

With some friends from the Camera Club, I went to two places yesterday.

I am going to write about only one of them. The school fair and Scarecrow festival at Gladstone in the Wairarapa was very nice, and in other circumstances would have got fair coverage. However the competition was the Remembrance Day Airshow put on by the Vintage Aviator collection at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton. And I offer more images in one day than in any previous edition. If aircraft are not your thing, please come back tomorrow.

The Allied lineup


You needn’t have been reading these for very long to know that I am a total aviation nut, so almost anything else takes second place. So, the airshow it is. This is an airshow like no other on earth. I seriously doubt that a similar specialized collection exists anywhere else.

The German lineup


The Vintage Aviator Collection consists of a mixture of restorations and reproductions of WWI aircraft. To the greatest extent possible, original parts are used, but where the originals are unavailable, they simply make new items to the original specifications. Their website outlines their many astonishing achievements.


I have a particular fondness for these. My grandfather, a cabinet-maker, spent the war making propellers for these and aircraft like it.

The line up outside the hanger is simply amazing. On the Allied side of the war, there are SE5As (3), a BE2c, BE2f, FE2b, Sopwith Pup, Sopwith Triplane, Sopwith Camel, Sopwith Snipe, Avro 504K, a Bristol F2B and a Nieuport Bebe.


Where else can you find six Fokkers like this?

On the German side, there are Fokkers galore. There Are DR1s (3), DVII and DVIII (2), as well as Albatros DII and Albatross DVas (2) and a Pfalz DIII. There is doped fabric, varnished wood and tight flying wires. There are authentic colour schemes exact replicas of famous aircraft flown by famous war heroes.


The propeller is behind the pilot and the gunner in front. All very well untill you were attacked from the rear

And lest we forget these are fighting machines with a lethal purpose. Young men went to war in machines just like these. The bombs and guns were not dummies and their intention was to kill the enemy.


This has the look of a hand crafted yacht rather than a fighting killing machine

At the start of the war, the aircraft were slender fragile objects By 1918, they had acquired some muscle and bulked up considerably.

Bristol F2B

Near the end of the war this very large fighter had a big V12 Rolls Royce engine and it was a joy to hear it overhead yesterday

To my pacifist friends, I am sorry, but the achievements in this field of endeavour have always fascinated me.

Albatross DVa

The moulded ply fuselage is a thing of great beauty

I have admiration for the engineering feats, for the problems overcome, for the imaginative use of materials. Above all, I have admiration for the astounding courage of those who flew these aircraft.

Sopwith Pup

Some aircraft did well but lacked the fame of others. The Pup was soon outclassed and was superseded by more powerful and agile planes

So many different solutions to the problems encountered resulted in a great variety of aircraft of differing shapes, sizes and purposes, but all required great courage to fly.

The BE2F

The F variant of the BE2 was more powerful than the C, but was no match for the agile German fighters

Some were agile and powerful others were slow and lumbering and needed protection by other aircraft.

FE2B escorted by SE5A

I liked the highlights on the wings

Even without the guns and bombs, these things could kill you if mishandled. I have read that more Sopwith Camel pilots died in training than were shot down by the enemy.

The Sopwith Camel

A deadly weapon with a skilled pilot, it was also the downfall of many less skilled aviators

It was almost impossible for the novice pilot to recover from a spin in a Camel, and at some stages of the war, the life expectancy of the pilots was such that most were novices.

Sopwith Snipe

Another 1918 aircraft, the Snipe replaced its older brother, the Camel

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them“*

*Ode to the fallen, by Lawrence Binyon


About wysiwygpurple

I am a family man, a passionate amateur photographer and a retired academic . What's the purpose of this blog? Well in the first instance it provides me with a platform from which to resume writing, an activity I greatly enjoy. What will the blog be about? Anything that takes my fancy but it is likely to arise from things I see and experience, in my family, in my travels, or anything else I feel like. Each daily post will contain one or more images made the previous day. Sometimes the image will illustrate the points made in the prose, and sometimes the prose will attempt to interpret the image. What kind of images will they be? Always safe for work and family. Usually they will be representational, and sometimes they will be impressionistic or experimental.
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2 Responses to November 10, 2013 … age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn*

  1. Nice images. There is a real beauty in those planes.

  2. John Titchener says:

    Thank you, Brian. Both for the photos, and for the very appropriate words.

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