As most of you guessed, we haven’t really become convinced of an ancient Egyptian connection to IWM Duxford. We took advantage of April Fools’ Day to highlight a little piece of IWM Duxford’s hidden history. There really is a scarab beetle etched into the ground in front of Hangar 2: Flying Aircraft, but it didn’t originate in Africa 2,000 years ago.
The hangar that used to stand here belonged to No. 64 Squadron, and their badge features a scarab beetle. This is because the squadron spent some time in Egypt in the 1930s. They were based here from 1951 to 1961, flying Gloster Meteors, then Javelins.
The beetle was placed here by squadron personnel to show just whose territory this was!
I included a few clues in the previous post – did you spot them? It’s not really ‘64’ feet from the scarab to the hangar entrance, and the reason I included the phrase ‘firm of purpose’ is because this is a translation of the squadron motto – “Tenax propositi”.
However, it is possible to argue that the scarab is here because of a meteor – a Gloster Meteor, to be precise…
Duxford is very lucky to have an active veterans association. The ‘Old Dux’ are ex-Duxford personnel of all ranks and trades. They meet twice a year, here at Duxford, and communicate regularly via a newsletter.
I am very pleased to say that the Old Dux have given us permission to put some of their stories here on our blog for everyone to see. Many of them have been included in the newsletter over the years and I have really enjoyed going through them and picking out some extracts to share. The stories of the men and women who served here are vitally important to Historic Duxford and so it’s only fair they feature on the blog too!
I thought this poem was a good way to start:
Go pin your medals on; be proud they’re yours to wear,
Pull your shoulders back a bit and let the youngsters stare.
They are yours by right of war; by service to the crown.
They are symbols that you did not let your side down.
Wear them proudly on your chest and let all who will deride.
They are yours by right of war, so carry them with pride.
It is not known who wrote this poem but it reminded me how behind every set of medals worn by a veteran is a wealth of stories and experiences. Duxford’s veterans are no exception.
Do you know anyone who served or still serves in the armed forces? What are their war and peacetime stories?