The re-creation of a World War One Royal Flying Corps airfield is the centrepiece of an exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF.
‘Lincolnshire: Bastion in the Air’ is the first of the two major exhibitions commemorating the First World War and Lincolnshire’s heroic contribution to the defence of the country from the air.
The Heritage-Lottery funded exhibition, inside the Dambusters’ hangar at RAF Scampton, depicts life and the working conditions on an airfield in France, complete with replica aircraft of the time -a British DH2 Fighter and a German Rumpler C VII reconnaissance aircraft.
There is also the skeleton of a Sopwith Camel, to show the construction of these early planes.
The exhibition has been almost four years in the making, and Dave Harrigan, Lincolnshire County Council aviation heritage manager is delighted with how it has all come together.
He said: “When we wanted to tell the story of Lincolnshire’s participation in World War One, we uncovered a story very few people knew about - or had forgotten - and that was Lincolnshire’s key role, both on the ground and in the air, in defending this realm against the threat. On the ground, we discovered that Lincolnshire became the second largest producer of combat aircraft in the world by the end of 1916, and they employed over 7,000 women to do the job.
“In the air, we defended the country against the Zeppelin threat and that’s how, thanks to the Germans, the Royal Air Force came into being - and we wanted to tell that story.
Mr Harrigan continued: “One hundred years ago men were flying from this newly named Royal Air Force station Scampton against Zeppelin threats coming over the North Sea and attacking the Midlands, the industrial north and also down to London and out of that the air force grew.
“How to tell that, we thought we would build an airfield to show what life was like for these young men living out on the Western Front.”
The exhibition will tell visitors the history of Scampton, formerly Brattleby, during the First World War, with dramatic stories of local service personnel on the Wall of Heroes.
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Lincolnshire County Council and West Lindsey District Council, the Lincolnshire: Bastion in the Air exhibition will run until the end of August.
The exhibition will include a free tour of the RAF Scampton Heritage Centre, including Guy Gibson’s private office.
Prior booking is essential; visit www.rafscampton.co.uk