The first aircraft touched the grass at Bicester in 1911 and by 1917 the Royal Flying Corps had firmly established themselves, making this the perfect centre for WAHT. WAHT’s new home at Bicester Heritage is the historic (and quite possibly the UK’s last remaining) 1926 Fire Party Hut. Found in highly original condition the corrugated steel exterior has been sympathetically restored and painted in British Standard colours, with a welcoming wooden interior soon to be decked out in period style.
The arrival of WAHT’s two Royal Aircraft Factory BE2es at Bicester Heritage will allow WAHT to achieve its objective of advancing education of the evolution of military aviation in the Great War for the Centenary period. WAHT will reach out to the local and regional schools to set up a comprehensive programme of visits to their hangar at Bicester Heritage and to set up a hub to rekindle public interest in technical skills. Daniel Geoghegan, Managing Director of Bicester Heritage, remarked that “WAHT and Bicester Heritage are focused on the future of skills, education and knowledge: a World War I airfield in the centre of the UK is the perfect location.”
This significant opportunity has been made possible by the kind support of The Vintage Aviator Ltd (TVAL) of Wellington NZ, who built and operate the two BE2es now in the care of Bicester Heritage’s on site storage company Historit. In conjunction with TVAL, WAHT plans on rotating many flying examples of WW1 aircraft between BH and New Zealand – a DH2, Tabloid, Morane Type F and an Eindecker to name but a few. Hopes of establishing a permanent core of aircraft at BH are developing swiftly with an excellent collection of aircraft recently pledged for the Centenary period to WAHT by the German Collector, Oliver Wulff, who is also a Trustee of WAHT.
WAHT and Bicester Heritage look forward to providing further updates as the news on this exciting venture unfolds.
“WAHT’s arrival is the most significant signal yet of Bicester Heritage’s support for early aviation and commemorating the role it played in World War I.” (Daniel Geoghegan, MD, Bicester Heritage).
“WAHT has been looking for a base for over a year and we now look forward to complementing all aspects of Bicester Heritage’s ambitious programme in the air and on the ground as the perfect backdrop for reaching out to the Nation of all ages about aviation’s role in the Great War.” (Dick Forsythe, Chief Trustee, WAHT).