The Gloucestershire Environmental Trust has awarded a grant of £9000 to the Jet Age Museum to build a replica cockpit of an Airspeed Horsa assault glider.
GET provides grants from funds generated by the Landfill Communities Fund for the benefit of Gloucestershire, its people and its environment.
The Trust is funded under the scheme by Cory Environmental (Gloucestershire) Ltd, which owns and manages waste management sites in the County. These include the former RAF Stoke Orchard site, home to No.3 Glider Training School during the war.
During World War Two more than 3600 assault gliders were built under contract by furniture makers throughout the UK to carry airborne troops and equipment during the liberation of Europe. Gloucestershire played an important role in the assault glider story.
H. H. Martyn, founders of the Gloster Aircraft Company, built cockpit sections for the Horsa gliders at their Sunningend Works in Cheltenham, the County’s RAF airfields at Down Ampney, Aston Down and Fairford were all involved in the launches of airborne assaults at Normandy, Arnhem and the Rhine crossings.
2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the airborne landings in Northern Europe and a dedicated Horsa project team from the Jet Age Museum's volunteers will construct a replica of the glider cockpit to celebrate the event. The cockpit will eventually become a significant part of airborne forces exhibit at the museum, which will open at Staverton later this year.
Project co-ordinator, Trevor Davies said: - "We are delighted that GET has stepped in as the major sponsor, and we have also received outstanding support from individuals and industry alike. Remarkably we have found 90-year old former glider pilot, Ken Plowman living locally. Glider assaults often resulted in heavy casualties and many pilots were honoured for their bravery, this will be a fitting memorial."
GET Chairman, Professor Stephen Owen said: - "Gloucestershire Environmental Trust is delighted to help in the creation of the Jet Age Museum, which will present to the public an important aspect of Gloucestershire's recent history, particularly the contribution made by the County's aircraft industry to Britain's role in the Second World."