Spitfires and Gliders


The WOW Factor

A previous blogpost highlighted Steven Halward, the talented detectorist from Lincoln who makes fantastic sculptures from the scrap metal we tend to throw away.

There was one fantastic piece I failed to include – I’d like to make amends and show you now. The model of the Spitfire weighs around 2kgs, is made of scrap parts (of course) and certainly has the WOW factor. It also one of my favourite creations.

Spitfire fabricated from bits detectorists have discarded . © A Steven Halward production

Fascinating Find

Steve sent me pictures of a most unusual find from a site that used to be an RAF rubbish dump. Although it isn’t all that old, the artefact is fascinating, especially with its history gleaned from the September 1946 edition of Flight magazine – the ‘official organ’ of the Royal Aero Club.

A contributor to the Correspondence columns tells us that aluminium souvenir ‘tickets’ made were from gliders and distributed for the premiere of Theirs is the Glory, a British film about the Battle of Arnhem. The programmes for the 1946 production were made from parachute silk on which particulars about the premiere were printed. Steve says, “Not everything needs to be centuries old to be of interest!”

ALUMINIUM SOUVENIR TICKET FOR THE PREMIERE OF THE 1946 FILM“THEIRS IS THE GLORY, SUPPOSEDLY MADE FROM THE ALLOY OF CRASHED GLIDERS THAT CARRIED THE BRITISH AIRBORNE INTO ARNHEM IN 1944-ALTHOUGH IN REALITY PROBABLY KNOCKED UP FROM SCRAP POTS AND PANS IN SLOUGH, AND ISSUED TO VETERANS AND ACTORS WHO ATTENDED THE PREMIERE

Theirs is the Glory

The film, a Rank production, was a resounding success a the box office and the Earl Mountbatten subsequently received a cheque for £50,000 for the Airborne Services Security Fund. The film was the ‘Help for Heroes’ of its day. The premier was held on the second anniversary of the original battle and attended by the Prime Minister, Clement Atlee.

If you happen to find one of these aluminium tickets on your next dig, don’t assume that it is similar to the one found by Steve, because in 2006 the film was re-released on DVD and aluminium tickets were once again produced, only this time they weren’t recycled from old gliders!

 Rather than making a film in the traditional manner by hiring actors and building sets, the director and his team worked in close co-operation with the British Army.  Just over 200 survivors from the British 1st Airborne Division were transported back to the ruins of Arnhem and Oosterbeek to recreate the epic battle. 

The film is also inter-cut with footage from the actual operation . . . One must remember that the men were still serving soldiers when the film was made, not actors. Some of the lines are delivered in a rather stiff or subdued manner; but looking closely at their faces as the film progresses, the viewer gets some sense of the horrors these men survived.

Extract from an American film review by C/SGT Tombstone

THEIRS IS THE GLORY earned some of the highest critical praise ever afforded a British wartime docudrama. This is the filmed record of the ill-fated battle of Arnhem in September of 1944, when the Allied forces combined to force a total German retreat from Holland. The “bridge too far” at Arnhem proved to be the Waterloo of this particular strategy, due to a series of unforseen mishaps and miscalculations. Of the 10,000 troops engaged in the offensive, 8,000 lost their lives. Without sugarcoating the disaster, the film points out the courage and sacrifice of the men involved in the mission.

This 1946 production could be the most important war film ever created! Take a look and judge for yourself. It’s about 1hr 20mins long, so settle down with a drink and enjoy!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 thoughts on “Spitfires and Gliders

  1. Steven Halward is certainly talented his creation of the Spitfire is something special.
    A while back I remember his creations being in a Searcher article I think it was yourself who did it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s stunning … photographs never do these creations justice… every single piece used close up you can recognise eg. A bit of buckle/penny/button/strapend… it must take hours sorting and searching for just the right piece. Yet another interesting blog John

    Like

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