It is a sad place, a place of loss and memories and death. Taken at face value it is a huge collection of war time memorabilia housed in the original buildings that date from the period. 40's music plays gaily in the background whilst you wander around the exhibits.
A marvellous record of the past you might think, but each mangled engine, each shattered propeller, each bullet hole in the fuselage represents the loss of a young man's life. And they were young. Story after story relates the downing of the various aircraft on show and the name and age of the pilot. Most were between the age of 19 and 24 with only a few months of training behind them before they were expected to take to the skies.
Imagine that... they weren't even old enough to vote (21), yet they were old enough to die a horrendous death and be proud of it...to be labelled a "hero"! One comparisson made by today's standards was to imagine passing your driving test and then being put behind the wheel of a grand prix racing car and told to get on with it! Imagine your own son, husband or brother. (My brother at 19 couldn't even get out of bed, but that's another story!)
I found it a very sobering experience and of course your thoughts turn to the soldiers that are fighting right now, this minute, somewhere far, far away...at least back then they were fighting for King and Country, our Country.......