The UK’s Carrier Force continued their first operational deployment this week by participating in MPX2021, a multi-national maritime partnership exercise involving the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy. The UK’s Dambusters (617 Sqn) were also participating as the carrier group continues to exercise and develop their experience operating at sea and cooperating with other forces to maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific Region. Being an island nation, the UK operating aircraft from a rolling and pitching airfield is not a new concept; HMS Invincible, Hermes and Ark Royal are testament to that. However, operating the 5th generation F-35 between the various nations who are operating the aircraft is undoubtedly a quantum leap in technology and a different set of demands than the days of the F-4 Phantom and the Harriers that our retired Navy Aircraft Handlers like to regularly remind us land lovers during tea break.

The team had a stroke of luck this weekend as 13 volunteers were so busy we didn’t have time for the Navy contingent to break out the rum ration and ships bell. Scunthorpe was also blessed with some wonderful weather which facilitated the day’s main task: to move the Mk5 and Bedford Miles from Scunthorpe to the storage location and get them undercover for the winter. This was made possible by Brad and Neil from A.P.S movements who got the boss and family up on site at the crack of sparrows to make sure the vehicles were shifted in good time. With the lions share of movements sorted out the week before, the powered winches on the trailers made short work of loading both vehicles on their respective trailers.

There were also other movements happening at the storage location at the same time to receive yet more vehicles in the already tight space. This meant another round of vehicle Tetris and juggling pallets to maximise the available space which has been graciously given to us in our most dire time of need last year. When the vehicles arrived and were lowered off the trailers, the Nuclear Convoy Volvo was utilised with the rigid bar to push the vehicles back in to position next to the long term projects which are unlikely to move in the near or longer term. The other vehicles were then moved back into position to complete the task.

Back at Scunthorpe, the Museum HQ had another rejig of all the artifacts and items which are stored there to avoid the leaks that we have been experiencing recently. Speaking of leaks, the two Amigos were hard at work this week to solve the issues with the WOT1’s leaky radiator and water pump. Thanks to local contacts, Smithson’s Radiators, the radiator has been refurbished in good time and a water pump has been sourced from Belcher Engineering in Diss, Norfolk. These will be fitted another weekend when things aren’t quite so hectic.

Finally, the volunteers sat down to discuss the future of the museum, a way forward for the team and what we need to focus on over winter. Although we have plans for the future in the form of our partnership with the Scampton Consortium, we are very much aware that the generosity shown by the owners of our storage area will not be everlasting and they have to prioritise their business, should an opportunity arise. Therefore, we need to be constantly looking for alternative homes for the collection and trying to keep our ears to the ground for potential opportunities which may be available. If you know or hear of anything in and around Lincolnshire want to pledge your support to help us in our plight, please contact us using enquiry@firemuseum.uk.

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