Project Timeline

  • March 2020

    The Horsa has Wings!

    The Airspeed Horsa at the Overloon War Museum

  • October 2019

    Horsa moves to the Overloon War Museum

    The Airspeed Horsa has moved to its permanent display location at the Overloon War Museum and is being prepared for public display.

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  • Septermber 2019

    Horsa to be displayed in Oosterbeek

    The Airspeed Horsa was displayed in Oosterbeek from 7-25 September 2019

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  • June 2019

    The Horsa Moves to Holland

    The full-size replica Horsa assault glider, built by enthusiast volunteers at RAF Shawbury between 2001 and 2014, made its way by sea across the English Channel to be on display in Holland in September as part of a major event marking the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden. Over 600 Horsa gliders were towed into battle at Arnhem over three days in September 1944.

    A contingent from the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) will transport the disassembled glider from RAF Cosford to a display site at the former airfield at Soesterberg, some 70 Km NW of Arnhem.

    It will be re-assembled, under cover, for public display in September in front of the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek from the start of the Airborne March till after the 75th commemorations in September. Afterwards the Horsa will be dismantled for a second road move to its final destination for re-assembly and permanent public display at the Oorlogsmuseum at Overloon, 60 Km south of Arnhem.

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  • 27 November 2018

    AGT Trustees Meeting

    The AGT Trustees held a meeting to discuss the 3 main proposals for rehoming the Airspeed Horsa gilder and placing it on display to the public.

    All 3 proposals are very attractive and representatives of the 2 teams that have not yet viewed the aircraft to assess the practicality of their plans will be invited to RAF Cosford to discuss this further.

    No work has been done on the Horsa since it moved into the hangar at RAF Cosford in 2014. The aircraft is sitting on jacks with the undercarriage, wing centre-section and tail fitted. The wing outer sections and horizontal tail surfaces have not been fitted, as these would need to be removed anyway when the aircraft moves to its final destination.

    Hopefully, 2019 will see the Horsa in its new home and on display to the public.

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  • 23 November 2018

    The Waco moves to Dumfries

    Finally, some progress! After preparatory work on the Waco on 21 November 2018, the Waco was collected by the transport team from the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum on Friday 23 November 2018 and was unloaded at its new home the following day. The museum is now preparing the glider for public display.

    Loading the Waco took some 5 hours to load on the Friday in cold and blustery conditions outside the hangar at RAF Cosford. A very professional job by the 2 members of the transport team and with able assistance from the military Field Gun teams who were training in the hangar!

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    The transport frame containing the wing and tailplane was transported as a single unit as a separate load. The large cylindrical object isn't part of the glider, this was a load that had already been picked up on the way to collect the glider.

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    We look forward to visiting the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum sometime next year to see the Waco on display.

  • 20 January 2017

    Where has all the time gone!

    Well, it's 2017 and time is passing by and we aren't really any closer to rehoming the two gliders. We do have plans for both of the aircraft, but these depend on the potential recipients being able to provide suitable shelter for them. In spite of a number of enquiries, we are only looking at one option for the Horsa - it all goes very quiet when I send the dimensions of the aircraft - yes, it's BIG! The Horsa will potentially go to an established privately run museum, but that is dependant on funding to build a large agricultural type building. The Waco will probably also be going to a private museum, not the same one as the Horsa and being a smaller aircraft, housing it is not such a challenge. It was hoped that the Waco would move on from storage at RAF Cosford before Christmas, but it looks like this timescale has slipped a little.

  • 10th May 2016

    Considering Options

    It's been quite a while since we last visited the hangar, partly due to access issues but mostly due to the fact that as the aircraft will be moving to another location for display, there is no point in carrying out any more work on them before the move. Today, we were accompanied by a group from a small but established aviation museum who have an interest in acquiring the CG-4A Waco. We had a very productive meeting and hopefully in the fullness of time this will lead to the Waco having a new home with regular public access. Options are also being considered for the Horsa, with two groups currently offering realistic solutions for the housing and display of the aircraft. Unfortunately, none of these options for either of the aircraft involve the RAF Museum who are still conducting their collections review and are unable to accept any aircraft during the period.

    We are greatly indebted for the support provided by RAF Cosford in their continued provision of safe storage for both of the aircraft. Following repairs to the roof of the hangar last year, it's a nice dry and snug home for the aircraft until they go to their new locations.

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  • 27th October 2015

    Still no Progress

    Well, over a year has gone by since the timeline was last updates and what progress has been made? Unfortunately, very little. The RAF Museum are conducting a collections review which will take a number of years and during the review they will not be accepting any additional aircraft. The Horsa and Waco remain in storage at RAF Cosford and although the AGT Trustees have been actively seeking a new home for them, these attempts have not produced any results. We have had helpful suggestions from a number of individuals as to where the aircraft might be displayed, but unfortunately no museums or organisations have shown an interest. The Horsa in particular is a large aircraft and both the Horsa and Waco need to be displayed indoors as they would rapidly deteriorate if left outside. Fortunately, RAF Cosford have been very supportive and continue to offer storage for what was initially expected to be a 6-month period. We are very much in their debt and are most grateful for their continued support.

  • 6th September 2014

    Horsa Glider Reassembly Progress

    A six hour working day at RAF Cosford saw the tail section being refitted to the Airspeed Horsa glider. The aircraft is now mobile on its undercarriage although it is supported on jacks whilst in storage. The next working day will see the rudder and horizontal tail surfaces being refitted. Still no news regarding when the Horsa and Waco will be moved across to the RAF Museum Cosford site.

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  • 4th August 2014

    AGT Timeline Added to Website

    It's difficult to get an overall view of just how the project has evolved over the 14 years since the idea first came to mind. The timeline allows you to scroll back and forward over the years to see when events ocurred.

  • 1st August 2014

    Working Day at RAF Cosford

    Another rewarding session with the Horsa. The aircraft is now supported and levelled on jacks and the undercarriage shock struts are fitted. The glider is still sitting on the crash mats but there isn't really any reason to remove them until we need to move the aircraft as the weight is shared nicely between the mats, the undercarriage and the jacks. Some time consuming and fiddly jobs to be done next before the tail is refitted, so we've saved those for another day

  • 26th July 2014

    Working Day at RAF Cosford

    A good day in the hangar at RAF Cosford today. Thanks to all those who came to help us today, especially the Pontoon and Dock Company who provided manpower and lifting capacity. The work went pretty much to plan, with only a few moments of head scratching - pass me the hammer, no the big one Port and starboard main undercarriage legs were fitted, just the 'A' frames as the shock struts fit onto the main spar. The undercarriage acted as stabilisers preventing the fuselage from rolling whilst the main spar section was fitted. As expected, the main spar took a fair bit of juggling to lay it flat and then lift into place. It's a very heavy and unwieldy chunk of airframe that had to be fitted in a slot in the fuselage and with the leading edge fitting into its own slot. If it's not exactly right, then it won't fit. The spar went in easier than I expected (note - easier not easily!) but it took a little while to line it up exactly to allow the main spar pins to be fitted. Funny how you struggle for 15 minutes, then the pin just goes in without any effort So, that was 5 hours of work today minus a few tea breaks. The fuselage is still sitting on the crash mats, so the next task will be to refit the metal reinforcing plates to the fuselage, they pass through holes in the main spar, then fit the undercarriage shock struts between the 'A' frames and the main spar. It looks like they will be a good fit as the fuselage sits on the mats. Then the trick will be to get the crash mats out from under the aircraft by lifting the nose slightly and then lifting from each side of the spar, one side at a time. The Waco team also had a good day, caring out some minor work - there isn't too much else they can do to the aircraft until the RAF Museum is ready to accept it - and covering over the glider and the wing sections in their transport crate with heavy duty polythene. The hangar does leak a bit when it rains, but we can live with that. To make the day perfect, we even had a flyby by the BBMF C-47 Dakota - OK, it wasn't ACTUALLY for us, but it was very nice of them anyway

  • 31st May 2014

    AGT Letter Published in the Times Newspaper

    AGT letter published in the Times newspaper Saturday 31 May 2014 as the 70th Anniversary of D-Day approaches. Written by one of the Trustees, it explains the background to the project and remembers the daring Horsa pilots.

  • 11 May 2014

    AGT Move out of RAF Shawbury is now complete

    The AGT move out of RAF Shawbury is complete. Offices cleared and keys handed back - thanks for all your hard work Richard. The AGT is now officially 'homeless' after some 13 years at RAF Shawbury.

  • 10th April 2014

    RAF TCM Team Collect Last Piece of the Dakota from RAF Shawbury

    The RAF Transport Command Memorial team collected the last pieces of the Dakota today, the tailplane and the fin. Had to split the tailplane into its 2 halves by undoing loads of nuts and bolts! 1 Hangar at RAF Shawbury is now looking very empty indeed. Thanks again to all the team at RAF Shawbury for their help during the aircraft moves.

  • 3rd April 2014

    Final Road Convoy Leaves Shawbury for RAF Cosford

    Final move today. Horsa wing centre-section with main spar removed this morning. Convoy to RAF Cosford went without incident and unloaded in the storage hangar. Too many people to thank, but special thanks to all the AGT Volunteers and supporters, everybody at RAF Shawbury both military and civilian, RAF Cosford who are hosting us during storage, Rex Stevens transport and last but not least, Dan Bryant and his excellent team at the Pontoon and Dock Company. Break out the champagne

  • 2nd April 2014

    Horsa Fuselage Loaded and Tiger Departs Shawbury

    The Horsa is loaded and waiting for the wing centre-section to be lifted off and transported separately. Struggling with one of the main spar pins, need more tools so calling it quits for tonight.

    That's the Tiger off base into storage until the Army Historic Aircraft Flight come to get it.

  • 31st March 2014

    Waco Fuselage and Horsa Tail Move into Storage at RAF Cosford

    Another busy day! The Waco glider and the Horsa tail section left RAF Shawbury for storage at RAF Cosford. The final move, the Horsa fuselage and wing centre-section should be on the M54 either Wednesday or Thursday. Time to ask the RAF Museum Cosford when you will be able to go and see the gliders on display? We need a bit of 'people power' to get these aircraft displayed by the Museum. Thanks again to the Pontoon and Dock Company and Rex Stevens Transport for the excellent work today

  • 29th March 2014

    Flypast Magazine Article on the AGT

    An excellent piece on the Assault Glider Trust in the May 2014 edition of Flypast magazine. Pages 92-95.

27 Mar 2014
Dakota arrives at North Weald
The Dakota arrives safely at North Weald to join the RAF Transport Command Memorial fleet. Good luck with your new owners and we look forward to seeing you in the air in the not too distant future
27 Mar 2014
The Dakota leaves RAF Shawbury by Road
The end of an era - The AGT Dakota leaves Shawbury to start a new life with the RAF Transport Command Memorial at North Weald. It's been a very hectic 3 days and more pictures showing the work involved preparing the aircraft for the move will be added to the AGT website soon. Sorry to see her go, but with a long term plan to return her to the air, she will have an exciting life with the RAF Transport Command Memorial and Dakotair.
23 Mar 2014
First Convoy to RAF Cosford
First convoy to Cosford completed successfully today, well done guys! Horsa and Waco wings now in storage at RAF Cosford. One more convoy should do the trick - maybe later this week after the Dakota has gone?
12 Mar 2014
Update regarding the glider move to the RAF Museum Cosford
An update on where we are with the Horsa and Waco Assault glider transfer to the RAF Museum Cosford. It's a bit of a 'good news, bad news' story really. Space that was due to become available in Hangar 1 at the RAF Museum has not materialised due to reasons beyond their control. The museum does not have space to store the gliders on site in the meantime. Although museum deep storage is available at the depot at Stafford, this would make it less likely that the aircraft would be put on display in the near future. RAF Cosford has kindly offered space for the aircraft to be stored until the RAF museum can accept them. This is a limited time offer on the understanding that the RAF museum will take the aircraft as soon as they have room. The gliders will move from Shawbury to RAF Cosford some time over the next 3 weeks, bearing in mind that the deadline for moving out of Shawbury is 1 April 2014. Unfortunately, whilst the gliders are stored at RAF Cosford they will not be available for public viewing. It's a bit of a frantic time at the moment and the AGT really appreciates the help that is being provided by all those involved in the move, especially RAF Shawbury and RAF Cosford. The work being done by the volunteers and the transport contractors is fantastic and it would be impossible to achieve the move without everybody's enthusiasm and dedication. Our aim is to have the gliders on display at the RAF Museum for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on 6th June 2014. Achieving this aim is now largely out of our hands, but maybe if there is enough public interest, the museum will see the importance of getting the aircraft on display.
10 Mar 2014
Taking the Horsa apart
Busy day at Shawbury today preparing the Horsa for transportation by road. Horizontal tail surfaces and rudder removed, port wing container bay removed, tail section removed and loaded on a temporary trailer. The next job will be to cradle the fuselage, remove the undercarriage and the wing centre-section prior to the move. Many thanks to The Pontoon and Dock Company Ltd (yes they move aircraft too!), Cobham plc (especially Frank and Dave) and all the team at RAF Shawbury.
4 Mar 2014
AGT Volunteers' Lunch
AGT volunteers and partners lunch at the Fox and Hounds, Shawbury village on 4 March 2014. An excellent gathering with a good time had by all. A big thanks to all the volunteers, you made the project possible and achieved far more than we imagined when we started back in 2000.
25 Jan 2014
The Airborne Jeep and Trailer depart RAF Shawbury
AGT Trustee Martin Locke thanked Darren & Peter Bick for their support over the many years we have had their Jeep and trailers together with the Airborne Forces Kit display. Darren attended many of the AGT open days as part of the Airborne Forces reenactment team and both Darren and Peter have been enthusiastic supporters of the AGT since the early days.

Darren was presented with a 50th anniversary D-Day coin certificate by Martin.
17 Jan 2014
Update on the plans for the AGT collection
Lots of exciting news regarding all the Trust aircraft. The Horsa and Waco will be moving soon, hopefully both to the same destination for public display. However, it is possible that the Waco will go into storage which would be a great shame with the 70th Anniversary of D-Day coming up. The Horsa and Waco really do need to be displayed side-by-side and the Waco would tuck in tight under the Horsa and hardly take up any extra space at all The Tiger Moth and Dakota will not be joining the gliders, but there are even more exciting plans for both of these. Many details to be worked out so nothing more to report at this stage, but both aircraft will hopefully be in the public eye for many years to come.
January 2014
AGT News Updates now on Facebook
Assault Glider Trust latest news is now posted on the AGT Facebook page. The Latest News section will be left on the site as an archive but will no longer be updated. To see all the exciting news about this amazing project, visit the Facebook page.
25 Jun 2013
Hangar Maintenance at RAF Shawbury now Complete
Work is now complete in 1 Hangar, so pre-arranged visits can once again be made to RAF Shawbury to view the Trust collection.
5 Jun 2013
BBC Filming for TV Documentry
The BBC recently visited the AGT at RAF Shawbury to film using the Trust Horsa and Dakota. The footage shot at Shawbury will appear in the forthcoming docudrama D-Day: The Last Heroes which will be screened on Sunday 9th June and Monday 10th June 2013.
20 May 2013
Horsa Wing Build Update
With the construction work on the Horsa fuselage almost complete, attention has focussed recently on the outer wing sections, with the port and starboard outer wing sections being covered, doped and painted.
April 2013
Date set for AGT departure from RAF Shawbury
RAF Shawbury was kind enough to offer the AGT a home for a '2-year' project back in 2000. The Station has continued to make us most welcome even though we have overrun by some 12 years! With changes being made to the helicopter flying training system, Shawbury will need the space that we are currently occupying so to give us enough time to organise our move, it is proposed that our move out of RAF Shawbury will be complete by April 2014.
14 Dec 2012
Hangar Maintenance at RAF Shawbury
RAF Shawbury is currently conducting essential maintenance on its aircraft hangars. During this maintenance period, aircraft will be moved between hangars, including the hangar containing the Assault Glider Trust exhibits. Unfortunately, this means that there will be no access to the Trust exhibits until sometime mid 2013.
7 Dec 2012
Volunteers Christmas Lunch and Presentation
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The Hon Henry Montgomery, son of Assault Glider Trust Patrons Viscount and Viscountess Montgomery of Alamein and Grandson of Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein visited RAF Shawbury to view progress and to meet the Volunteers. A former Trustee, the Hon Henry Montgomery joined the volunteers for the AGT Christmas luncheon and also presented them individually with a commemorative coin and certificate thanking them for their contribution to the project.
April 2012
Why has it all gone so quiet?
You might have wondered why the news pages haven’t been updated lately. Our excellent Curator Rachael Abbiss has completed her term of duty with the Trust and has moved on to even greater things! Her original contract was extended by the Trust due to the excellent work that she was doing at Shawbury that far exceeded her somewhat modest title of ‘Curator’. Rachael, thank you for all your hard work, and all the best for the future. Rachael was the only paid employee of the Trust, so now we are back to a 100% volunteer workforce.

The volunteers in the Hangar continue to work all hours to complete the work on the aircraft and to work towards the completion of the construction phase of the project. With the work on the Hangar completed, requests for visits can now be accepted and anyone who applied during the Hangar maintenance should reapply to make sure that their application is processed. The Trust remains highly grateful for all the support provided by RAF Shawbury, not least of which is the provision of a home for the collection. Shawbury was only ever intended to be a temporary home back in 2001 whilst the construction phase was completed (originally estimated at 2 years, but that was before the collection grew from one to three aircraft!) and work continues to finalise arrangements for the move to a new home.
July 2011
Display 'Stub' Propellor for the Tiger Moth
As the Gipsy Major is looking so good after a lengthy rebuild, it was decided to display it separately, as to install it in the Tiger Moth would mean it would never be seen again. In order to finish off the engine, a stub or timing propellor would present the engine to best effect. Obtaining a suitable prop did not seem an option due to cost implications. I was able to obtain a propellor on loan, and made a 3D router copier. This took a lot longer than expected, both designing, building and then producing, with Jon and I working together, but the results are quite pleasing. The next stage is completing a suitable engine stand.

Brian Howett & Jon Ledger.
March 2011
Educational Programme Update
In 2010 the education figures for the Trust were the best on record with over 6500 students from primary to post-graduate ages attending educational workshops and lectures in both visits and workshop environments. Once again the Trust has continued to develop links with educational establishments throughout the West Midlands and Nationally. The Engineering Diplomas have continued to be a big success and in Feb 2011 the Trust completed Engineering Diploma Level 3, Maintaining Engineering Systems and Products with Lutterworth College (Leicester), which has not been approached before. The TCAT (Telford College of Arts & Technology) Engineering Apprentices that undertake a placement here at Shawbury every Friday are currently working alongside the AGT Model Wing. As part of their course the students are placed in a working environment for one day out of the week to learn new hand skills and gather an understanding about basic engineering principles. Frank Fletcher has been working hard with the students over recent months to teach them about construction techniques on model aircraft.
November 2010
CG-4A Waco (Hadrian) Assault Glider Update
All the Waco team efforts during 2010 were concentrated on the wings. Julian has been working on a stub starboard wing about 0.6 metres (two feet) long which he will only be skinning on the upper surface. This will allow visitors to view into the underside and end to see the main and rear spar construction details. They will also be able to see how the end and first set of ribs are constructed and fitted. Brian, Bob and myself have been working on the outer section of the port wing which is about 5 metres (17 feet) long. The spars were constructed during 2009 and then 2010 saw considerable progress on constructing and fitting ribs and applying about half of the plywood skin. In late summer Ashley Letts joined the team and made a very competent start on constructing an aileron. This involves the most delicate work so far attempted as the ribs are built up using mainly 6mm square timber and even some of the stringers running the full 5 meters are only 6mm square (17 feet X 1/4")
October 2010
Flying Model Wing Update
2010 proved to be a comparatively quiet year for the Model Wing, in terms of show attendance and used as a year of consolidation. It was also a year of sad loss. Our original Horsa Glider, model LH291, some 17 years old, lost radio signal at Weston Part Model Show and was destroyed. This model was bequeathed to the Trust, by the family of Frank Hargraves, who owned the model at the time of his death in 2003. Frank was captured at Arnhem as a solder in the South Staffordshire Regiment and so it was a poignant memorial to him and all involved on that operation. It is hoped to salvage some of the parts, to build a static exhibit, but at the time of writing, other work is a priority. With the loss of our primary tug Dakota, it has not been easy to achieve the impact that I had originally planned for the Trust’s models to have at the shows. A busy season of attending shows awaits at Teeside, Weston Park, East Kirkby, Cosford and Welshpool.
September 2010
Horsa Cockpit Arrives at the Silent Wings Museum Texas
The Horsa Glider cockpit built by the Assault Glider Trust arrives at the Silent Wings Museum Lubbock Texas USA
August 2010
Horsa Cockpit Departs for America
The Assault Glider Trust at RAF Shawbury has shipped a Replica Glider cockpit to the United States of America. The cockpit is a replica of those used on the Mark I Horsa Glider, which was used extensively during the Second World War on Glider Operations across Europe.The cockpit has been built, over the last 5 years, at the airbase by Michael Lillestone of the Assault Glider Trust. The cockpit was moved to Telford for packing completion before sailing from Felixstowe or Southampton container ports. It is expected that the cockpit will reach Houston, Texas around the 8th September.The cockpit is destined for the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock, Texas. The museum is a partner museum to the Shawbury Assault Glider Trust and has many vintage aircraft. The museum sent a replica Hadrian Glider to the Shawbury Trust which is now housed with the Horsa, Tiger Moth and Dakota at Shawbury. The cockpit is in a nearly complete condition and will need a few weeks work to finish it off once it reaches the Silent Wings Museum. They intend to show the cockpit in the Texas museum from 21st September. Michael Lillestone said; 'I thought this day would never come. I am delighted that the cockpit is going to the Silent Wings Museum for display.'
11 Jun 2010
Glider Receives American Guests
The Assault Glider Project, based at RAF Shawbury has received some special guests from a partner Museum in the United States of America. On Friday 11th June Joe Hays and John Mccullough, both of which are associated with the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock Texas, visited RAF Shawbury and the Assault Glider Trust. Both gentlemen were met by Group Captain W A W ‘Bunny’ James, three Trustees from the AGT; Sqn Ldr (retd) Martin Locke, Major Gary Hickson & Tim Jenkins and Trust members Mike Lillistone, Mike Horan and the Curator Rachael Abbiss. The purpose of the visit was to further strengthen the relationship between the Trust and the successful airborne museum and also to give an opportunity for John and Joe to have a look at the Horsa Cockpit which will eventually be displayed in the Silent Wings Museum in Texas. In 2004 the Silent Wings Museum very kindly donated a Waco fuselage to the Trusts collection and in return Mike Lillistone, from Grinshill, has been working hard on creating a Horsa Nose Section that can be exhibited over in America. Both John and Joe were extremely pleased with the progress that has been made and as a result we are now looking into shipping the cockpit over to the US during the summer months.
May 2010
Dakota Wing Repair
Accidental damage occurred to the Dakota wing just over a year ago and recently a huge effort has been made to repair the last areas of damage. WOII E. Gibson & CPO M. Corcoran from RAF Cosford have been working on straightening and repairing the wing flap on the Dakota. Eight frames were significantly damaged and the aim now is to correct the profile, plate the end of the flap and dress the damage. ACAM - Aircraft construction & maintenance – based at RAF Cosford have had the wingtip in their care over recent weeks. The first job performed by our Trust Engineers & ACAM was to remove the wingtip and assess the damage to the skeleton. Significant progress has been made on the Dakota wingtip since the 29th April 2010. ACAM have made an impressive move forward with re-skinning the wingtip alongside knocking out the various dents and strengthening areas that need attention high impact damage.
22 Apr 2010
Forth Engineering Diploma Residential Course
On the 22/23 April the Trust and RAF Shawbury held the fourth Diploma Residential since the first took place in February 2009. We have introduced a new wire locking activity which involves the students using a wire locking training rig used by students at DCAE Cosford and we have a new maintenance activity that allows the students to get to grips with some basic riveting tasks on plates of aluminum. All of the students were fantastic and managed to achieve all tasks that were presented to them.
April 2010
Horsa Glider Wing Container Bay Construction
The volunteers working on the Horsa have recently made tremendous progress with the Port wing container bay which will eventually be attached to the back of the stub wing. The wooden containers that were held in the bay during the war would have carried various supplies such as medical and consumable goods as well as heavy equipment such as weaponry and even collapsible motorbikes! During the War the wooden containers would slot into the circular bays in the underside of the wing centre-section. All metal brackets and hinges are produced by one of our volunteers
March 2010
RAF Shawbury Hosts Hangar Party
Hangar one at RAF Shawbury, was transformed into a Sixties and Seventies ‘Top of the Pops’ style set decorated with large screens showing adverts and psychedelic backdrops for the audience of 400 guests who were mostly in period dress. The event, raised funds for the Station Charity, Help for Heroes and the Shawbury based Assault Glider Trust. Sponsorship to assist with the costs of the event came from Landrover and FBHeliservices whilst the backdrop for the photos was an original 1963 E-type Jaguar. The event was a huge success raising close on £4000. £500 of that raised will go to the Assault Glider Trust with the rest adding to the years Station tally for Help for Heroes. The audience consisted of a wide range of Station personnel, local Shawbury people and guests from across the region.
February 2010
Engineering Students Train For Diploma at RAF Shawbury
Students from Birmingham Frankley School have recently completed a ground breaking engineering diploma working with Assault Glider Trust at RAF Shawbury. The Diploma in Engineering is an exciting and innovative qualification for all young people that immerses them into an Engineering environment and has crucially been designed to incorporate and blend the best of academic and applied learning. On the 25th and 26th of February RAF Shawbury and The Assault Glider Trust produced a maintenance module of the Specialised Engineering Diploma for the students of the Birmingham school. The Diploma consisted of general engineering tasks and applications over a two day residential stay. The Students conducted a number of maintenance tasks to develop and improve upon the theoretical knowledge they had obtained from the classroom. Rachel Abbiss, the Curator at the Assault Glider Trust said,’ we are pleased to be able to offer these innovative diplomas at RAF Shawbury through the trust. The students really enjoyed their stay and enjoyed completing the tasks.’
February 2010
Horsa Cockpit for the Silent Wings Museum
Over the past 5 years, one of our volunteers has been working on the construction of a Horsa Cockpit for the Silent Wings Museum, Texas. The cockpit will be put on display in the Museum and utilised as an integral component of their airborne exhibitions. Throughout the construction process original parts have been used where available but many parts have been constructed from scratch. The workmanship on the cockpit is exceptional and its creation has been an essential element of the project over the last few years.
January 2010
Educational Programme
The Trust is continuing to work with local educational establishments, colleges, schools and training initiatives as we enter into the New Year. We currently have a new group of hard-working Engineering Apprentices from Telford College of Arts & Technology. The 12 youngsters are working on four projects which not only complement their college course but also give them a taste of a workshop environment in preparation for future employment. The four projects involve working alongside our Volunteers here at RAF Shawbury and provide the students with an insight into the world of aircraft restoration, conservation & construction. 
January 2010
No AGT Public Open Day in 2010 due to work at RAF Shawbury
Unfortunately, due to planned engineering work in 1 Hangar this year, it is very unlikely that there will be an Assault Glider Trust Open Day, as most of our aircraft have been moved into the corner of the Hangar whilst the work is in progress. The Dakota is in fact outside for at least 8-10 weeks. The progress of the work will be reviewed and consideration will be given to an event in September.
December 2009
Horsa Wing Construction Update
Over recent weeks the volunteers have been pushing forward with progress on the Port-wing leading edge and main spar. All ribs were created from scratch using original copies of the technical drawings used for Horsa construction during the 1940’s. Each wing rib was created individually by hand using Douglas Fir for the frame and Birch Plywood for the biscuits offering stability to each rib. Each sheet of Plywood is first lightly pinned onto the ribs to assess size and adjustments can be made where necessary. This preparation techniques ensure that the ply sheets fit appropriately when fully-attaching them to the wing section. Ply sheets are securely fastened to the ribs using brass pins and this process will be repeated throughout the wing. Work on the Horsa wings has been an extremely time-consuming and delicate operation due to many of the technical drawings having approximate measurements detailed on them. The volunteers have done an absolutely fantastic job getting to this stage and this quality of work will continue throughout 2010.
October 2009
Donation to the Archive
The Assault Glider Trust would like to give a huge thank you to Mrs M. MacDonald, Mr M. Bishop and Mr J. Dilworth for their generous donations to the AGT Archive. Mrs MacDonald generously donated her husband’s personal effects from the War including photographs, printed material relating to operational activities and War Office issued flying glasses! Mr Bishop donated his father’s personal diary and scrap books which provide very detailed accounts of what he witnessed and encountered during the War and, of particular note, what happened to him during his time as a POW. Mr Dilworth very kindly provided us with a donation to help towards project costs and not only that he provided us with a Record of Service which details his activities during the War. All of these items provide a lasting testimony of each individual’s experiences and are not only a fantastic addition to the Archives but act as useful teaching aids to inform Children of wartime activities.
September 2009
Restored Tiger Moth Roll Out
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In July 2007 the Assault Glider Trust, based at RAF Shawbury, received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support a two year restoration project on a Tiger Moth. The Tiger Moth has undergone a huge amount of reconstruction over the past two years and all of the hard work was carried out by the Trust’s Volunteers who truly are the heart of the organisation. The work carried out on the Tiger is a true testament to the hard work put into the project by the Trust’s volunteers and Tim Jenkins, the Trust’s Director of Education, without whom the Trust would not have got this far.
August 2009
Artist Presents Painting to AGT
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The Assault Glider Trust and RAF Shawbury were recently presented with a large painting depicting the work carried out by the Charity. The artist, Mr David Thorpe, has produced a number of fantastic pieces for the Trust over the years and this is yet another achievement. This latest painting shows work progressing on the Horsa, Waco and Tiger Moth in the workshop based at Shawbury. Individuals that appear in the painting are Major Ray Conningham, the founder and original Chairman of the project, chatting to actor Richard Todd, who famously played the role of Major John Howard in the film the ‘Longest Day’. Richard actually parachuted into the battle as part of the Airborne Forces on D-Day. Also portrayed in the picture are Brigadier Sutcliffe, the President of the Glider Pilots Association and Squadron Leader Martin Locke of the Trust. Finally, a Veteran of Arnhem (Market Garden) and the Rhine Crossing (Op. Varsity), Arthur Shackleton is portrayed with Lieutenant Colonel Nicholls, the Chairman of the Glider Pilots Association. The Picture will be hung in the Officers’ Mess at the airbase.
5 Jul 2009
RAF Shawbury Armed Forces Day - 5th July 2009
Royal Air Force Shawbury, in association with the Assault Glider Trust, held their Armed Forces Day and Veterans Day celebration on Sunday 5th July at the airbase.

The weekend was an outstanding success with over 500 people attending. The audience included veterans from all over the region as well as many members of the general public. After an initial downpour the weather brightened for everyone in attendance that enjoyed displays of the Assault Glider Trust aircraft; the Airspeed Horsa, WACO, Dakota and Tiger Moth. Further stalls and displays were provided by the Royal British Legion, RAFA, Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, St Dunstan's, Forces Pensions Society, SSAFA, RAF Benevolent fund, War Widows Association and vehicles of the Military Vehicle Trust organised through Peter and Darren Bick and Chris Brown. A Spitfire flown by Squadron Leader Al Pinner of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from RAF Coningsby performed a fantastic display and members of the Model Aircraft Club at the Station provided some excellent displays of their models.
June 2009
AGT Model Flying Wing Update
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The Model Wing was set up to promote the full size Project taking place at R.A.F. Shawbury. We fly the models at airshows around the country, but primarily at WestonPark and Cosford Model Airshows. The team is made up from members of the R.A.F. Shawbury Model Flying Club, who give their time to make, repair, maintain and ultimately to fly the models. The team are more than happy to talk “across the fence”, to any interested parties who wish to know more about the models. The display usually starts with towing the Assault Glider Trust banner, which is in the capable hands of Frank Fletcher. Then a “tug” is used to tow up the Horsa Glider, very much like what would have happened during World War II and especially during the taking of Pegasus Bridge. The Horsa glider is released at height and glides to a graceful landing to complete the display. It is then the turn of the Whitley and Hadriann or Waco to perform.
May 2009
Special Engineering Diploma
RAF Shawbury and the Assault Glider Trust accommodated level 2 Engineering Students from four Wolverhampton schools at the end of last month. The aim of the level 2 engineering course is to contribute to the development of a skilled workforce, and to enable candidates to demonstrate their abilities, skills and associated knowledge in an engineering maintenance environment. RAF Shawbury provided the perfect environment for the Students to conduct a number of maintenance tasks to develop and improve upon the theoretical knowledge they had obtained from the classroom. The students learnt how to effectively wire lock a pair of bolts, a union and Clutch Bell Housing from a Gazelle. The students worked as a team to fit and remove the Helicopter blades and move the aircraft around the Hangar.

The Diploma Residential is proving to be an essential segment of the Engineering Diploma because it bridges the gap between the theoretical knowledge obtained in the classroom and a real engineering working environment.

The Trust and RAF Shawbury are very proud to be associated with such a terrific and innovative qualification and will be working alongside many other Wolverhampton based Schools throughout the year.
May 2009
Amazing Find in Back Garden
The Horsa glider was primarily constructed of birch and spruce alongside fabric-covered plywood forming the skin of the glider and despite the intention for the glider to only be used once operationally a surprisingly large amount of Horsa material survives within the British Isles and Europe. Such material was recently recovered by the Trust from a back garden near Southampton. The Horsa items belonged to a gentleman called Charles Richards who had purchased a Horsa fuselage after World War II. Charles joined the RAF prior to the War as an instrument fitter and served in Iraq at Habbaniyah before returning to join 7 Squadron at Oakhampton in 1943. During the War many Horsa’s entered into retirement as potting sheds, chicken coops and even remodelled accommodation. Charles recycled parts of the Horsa fuselage to meet his own needs and essentially refurbished his workshop and garden shed using alternative interior fittings!
April 2009
Shrewsbury Business Chamber Presentation
In November last year a charity dinner was held at Shrewsbury School to help raise money for the Assault Glider Trust. The funds were raised by Shrewsbury Business Chamber and a cheque for £2,500 was presented to Group Captain David Prowse, Station Commander, on behalf of the Trust last month. The money will significantly aid the project and provide the volunteers with essential materials and tools needed for the completion of the aircraft.
13 Mar 2009
The Dakota Moves Hangar
On the 13th March 2009 the C-47 Dakota was moved into alternative Hangar space which is now set to become a temporary exhibition area for all the Trust’s aircraft. It is hoped that over the next two months theHorsa, Waco and Tiger Moth will accompany the Dakota and alongside display boards, video footage and exhibition cabinets containing various aviation artefacts and archive material an exhibition will be created for members of the public & children to enjoy. The aim of the exhibition is to provide an historical overview of airborne operations and to encourage adults and children to engage with their aviation heritage. A display will be assembled focusing on Operation Freshman which will include some of the archaeological items that the Trust has in its collection (see the ‘Op Freshman’ section of the website) and display boards will illustrate and take a detailed look at the internal & external construction of the Waco fuselage.
12 Mar 2009
RAF Shawbury and DHFS Dining In Night
RAF Shawbury & DHFS held an Army-Led Dinner Night on 12th March 2009 to commemorate Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine (1945). Guests of Honour at the Dinner were Professoe E R Holmes and Godfrey Yardley, who is not only an Op. Varsity veteran but a volunteer at the Trust as well. Godfrey has been a volunteer with the Trust since its establishment in 2001 and has contributed significantly to the restoration project over the years. In an upcoming edition of Britain At War magazine there will be a feature article based on Godfrey and his experiences during Operation Varsity.
14 Feb 2009
Hangar Party
On the 14th of February RAF Shawbury hosted a Valentines Hangar Party to help raise money for Combat Stress and The Assault Glider Trust. The evening was a huge success and raised a considerable amount of money for the two charities!
February 2009
The AGT Assists with Engineering Diploma Programme
The Diploma in Engineering is an exciting and innovative qualification for all young people that immerses them into an Engineering environment and has crucially been designed to incorporate and blend the best of academic and applied learning. On the 10th and 11th of February RAF Shawbury and The Assault Glider Trust pioneered the maintenance module of the Specialised Engineering Diploma as part of the Wolverhampton 14-19 Engagement Strategy. The Diploma consisted of general engineering tasks and applications over a two day residential stay.

The Students conducted a number of maintenance tasks to develop and improve upon the theoretical knowledge they had obtained from the classroom. Station Training & Development Officer Andy Robinson and Chief Technician Nick Bowles, who ran two of the maintenance workshops, were most impressed with the work conducted by the Diploma Students and mentioned that dedication and maturity was shown throughout each activity. The Diploma was not only significant because it provided the students with the opportunity to sample an engineering and military environment but it is also the first Engineering Diploma to be conducted within the country! The Trust and RAF Shawbury are very proud to be associated with such a terrific and innovative qualification and will be working alongside many other Wolverhampton based Schools throughout the year.
February 2009
Horsa Glider progress
Restoration work on the Horsa had been put on hold recently due to work proceeding full-steam-ahead on the Tiger Moth. Recently some of the volunteers have continued work on the Horsa revolving mainly around wing construction. The Port wing leading edge and main spar are complete with minor adjustments needed to be made to the wing ribs. The Starboard spar and leading edge are currently under development and work will continue on them over the next month. Due to accidental damage to a few of the seats in the Horsa, one of the seats is being replaced using plywood and finished with varnish. The other seats that mainly have surface cracks will be re-supported and the cracks will be sanded from the surface. Work is progressing nicely on both of the Horsa cockpits with Mike Lillistone leading the way on the one cockpit and the new TCAT Apprentices working on the other. Both of the cockpits are currently being covered with plywood and the internal structure and the components are being reviewed and restored accordingly.
February 2009
Tiger Moth Update
Over the past month work has focused predominantly on Tiger wing restoration and construction. Since the last update the Upper Starboard wing has been re-wired and sanded down and will soon be silver doped and eventually covered with madaplin. The Port Upper has been left in its original state and has undertaken minimal restoration due to the immaculate condition it was left in. The Port Lower has been re-wired and fitted with newly created brackets and last week was silver doped.
January 2009
AGT in the News
The Trust has featured in a number of Newspaper and Magazine articles during the past month which has highlighted the significance of the organisation as an important charitable institute within Shropshire.
January 2009
Education News
During the latter part of 2008 the Trust welcomed three students who have currently been working hard on their own woodwork projects. Using the facilities at Shawbury the boys, all aged 16, have produced their own project drawings and progressed considerably on the development of a Scooter, miniature Horsa Glider and a Jewellery Box. All three of the boys attend the AccessSchool in Shropshire and will continue to take part in educational projects at Shawbury throughout 2009. The Young Apprentices from TelfordCollege’s School of Engineering have had a successful year helping with aircraft restoration work and creating exhibition units for the Trust. The Work Experience is an essential element of their course and offers them not only the opportunity to sample a work environment revolving around aeronautical engineering but allows them to interact with their aviation heritage as well.

Last year the Trust welcomed the help of Gary Lewis who spent nine months working voluntarily at Shawbury. Gary was part of a Shropshire County Council initiative to help young adults with learning disabilities find work placements within the county. Gary helped the team with the aircraft restoration work and stated that it had been a great experience and he had enjoyed learning new skills. Gary has recently undertaken a work trial with KDS Solutions and has been offered a paid position within the business.
January 2009
Calling for Volunteers
The Trust is interested in recruiting new Volunteers to help with the construction and restoration work on the Waco during 2009. It is hoped that by late summer 2009 the wing of the Waco will be completed. A background in mechanical engineering would be advantageous but the Assault Glider Trust welcomes anyone with basic wood working skills or anyone who has a passion for aircraft restoration.
January 2009
AGT featured in Britain at War Magazine
The Assault Glider Trust will be featured in an upcoming addition of Britain At War magazine. The article that will be featured in the March issue is based on Operation Freshman. The purpose of the operation was to destroy a heavy water plant at Rjukan in Norway due to fears that the Germans might have utilised the facilities there to advance the development of atomic weaponry. A five man team consisting of 4 serving RAF personnel and a Norwegian military historian conducted a successful expedition to Norway in 2004 to recover the wreckage of one of the Freshman gliders: Horsa DP349. The Trust currently holds the artefacts that were recovered from the excavation and has provided Britain At War with images of the Horsa objects and the expedition. The magazine is committed to supporting veterans and organisations such as the AGT and as a result we have managed to establish significant links with the magazine and will now include articles, appeals, news and events in the magazine each month. Keep an eye out for the magazine in March.
December 2008
CG-4a Waco Update
The Waco team have been making brilliant progress on the aircraft over the last three months, focusing specifically on wing construction and restoration. The Waco will be restored in a different way to the Tiger Moth and Horsa and instead of being a complete display aircraft it will be fully completed and restored on one side and left open for internal viewing on the other. The Waco team hope that this innovative idea will allow members of the public to understand and observe the design and construction techniques involved in the Waco’s composition.
December 2008
Education News
The Trust has seen an explosion in the number of people through its doors this year and in particular has witnessed a rise in the amount of educational visits, workshops and lectures. This is largely due to the impressive educational package that has been devised by Tim Jenkins which incorporates aspects of the curriculum as well as providing young people with the opportunity to interact with their aviation heritage and aeronautical engineering.
We are continuing to develop strong links with heritage organisations and educational establishments both across the West Midlands and Nationally. During October the Trust received another visit from the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust. Members of the RRHT were impressed with our progress and we are currently and we are currently exploring a closer working association between the two establishments.
25 Nov 2008
Veteran Visit
On Tuesday 25th November the project received a visit from Mr Frank Dougan. Frank was a Private during World War Two and served in the Devonshire Regiment. Mr Dougan was 19 when he first encountered the awesome strength of the Airspeed Horsa. One particular story which has stayed with Frank was his experience during Operation Varsity. Frank was tucked in close to his colleagues in Glider 133 as they eagerly waited to embark on their journey across the Channel. After only a few minutes a huge hole appeared above the cockpit of the Horsa leaving many, including Frank, to think they were under enemy fire. Minutes had passed when the realisation came that the tow rope had snapped and the pilot’s were then desperately seeking an open space to land! Gliders were still present on the departure runway so Glider 133 found sanctuary in a nearby field. What followed was a smoked-filled scramble from the wreckage and a long walk home! Frank’s amazing stories will be compiled in our newly devised ‘Veteran Memoirs’ alongside many other unforgettable oral accounts.
November 2008
Tiger Moth Progress Report
The fuel tank was taken off the aircraft and restored and was then re-doped and repainted alongside the rest of the fuselage. The instrument panels of the Tiger were badly damaged and have undergone an extensive rebuild and all the instruments have been re-serviced. The back seat of the Tiger underwent partial restoration as damage to the original was minimal but the front seat had to be completely rebuilt and both were then repainted. Lower Starboard Wing - The internal bracings of the Tiger have been re-rigged to ensure that all bracings are tightly secured to the newly restored wing. During the three week restoration/construction of the lower wing the broken ribs from the original Tiger Moth were repaired and replaced alongside the metal work. The whole wing has been silver doped in order to offer the materials, in particular the wood (Douglas fir), adequate protection from moisture etc. Work is progressing well on the Port Lower and Upper Starboard wing sections. The next step in development is to conduct a trial rigging before covering the wings with unbleached Irish linen (madaplin). Engine The engine (Gypsy Major) of the Tiger has been stripped down and is now ready for the rebuild to commence
5 Nov 2008
AGT On Facebook!
The Assault Glider Trust Facebook page is published
18 Jul 2008
Shropshire Star News Report
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June 2007
It's all still happening!
It’s all still happening even though I’ve not been posting too much information on the “Latest Updates” page. We’re giving a great deal of thought to the possible future home of the Trust and a lot is happening behind the scenes. Regardless of the decision, there is still a great deal of work to be done, both on the aircraft and on fund-raising to ensure the Trust has a secure future. Work on the Horsa, Waco and Dakota is progressing well, but we are always in need of more volunteers to help with the work here at Shawbury. You do not need to have any particular skills, as there is work at all levels to be completed.
November 2006
Website Forum
The Guestbook has now been replaced by the Forum as the primary means of leaving comments. The guestbook has been unused (except by the spam posters!). The Blog has also been discontinued as it received few visits and no comments.
September 2006
Burma Commemoration Weekend 2-3 Sep 2006
The Burma Commemoration special open weekend went very well and was attended by many veterans and their families as well as large numbers of the general public.
August 2006
Sir Jack Hayward OBE, Waco Pilot
A new section has been published about Sir Jack Hayward OBE, sponsor of the Assault Glider Trust and wartime Waco Pilot. To read Sir Jack’s recollections, click here
5 Jul 2006
Forum replaces Guestbook on Website
A phpBB2 Forum replaces the Guestbook. Many more options with multiple topics available
17 Jun 2006
Guestbook added to website
New Guestbook added to the site. Hopefully this will be a little easier to use than the message board on the old site. A Google search bar has been added to the front page to allow the whole Assault Glider Trust website to be searched. The seach bar can also be used to search the World Wide Web.
10 Jun 2006
Op Freshman DP349 Gallery
Recovery archive added to the Horsa DP349 page to show the artifacts recovered from the crash site in Norway. Thumbnails with larger pictures with captions are available for viewing.
9 Apr 2006
Website Update
A fairly major update to the website this weekend as production of the site has moved from the tried and tested (but somewhat ancient) Adobe Pagemill to NetObjects Fusion 8. I’ve decided to discontinue the Message Board section as it was difficult to use and did not really add any value to the site. If there is a demand for its return then I will reconsider this decision.
March 2006
RAF Shawbury Open Weekend
The RAF Shawbury open weekend and Op Varsity memorial service were a great success, although the weather on the Sunday was unbelievable - bitterly cold with drifting snow! Members of the public and veterans alike battled through the arctic conditions to shelter in the comparative warmth of the hangar and a good time was had by all. Richard Todd (Airborne veteran and renown film actor) was joined by Mme Arlette Gondre (Cafe Gondre, Pegasus Bridge) and dozens of veterans for the memorial service on the Sunday.
November 2005
Progress Report
It's probably a good time to remind ourselves just how much progress has been made since the Trust was formed. The Horsa wing centre-section is being constructed and soon it the aircraft will be standing on its own undercarriage. The Waco has made significant progress since its arrival in February 2005, with the cockpit being fitted out and with the wing ribs being constructed. The Dakota's cockpit is almost complete and work within the fuselage continues. The down-side of all this good news is that the project is consuming funds at an alarming rate so it's not a time to sit back and relax. The support that the Trust has received from sponsors and the hundreds of hours the volunteers have put into the work have made the dream come true. There is still a lot of work to be done, but with the continued support of all our friends, a permanent memorial to all airborne forces will be a reality.
October 2005
The Webmaster returns from a 4-month detachment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
April 2005
Public Open Weekend 2-3 April 2005
Just a short update until I can find the time to do a decent one. The open weekend on 2-3 April was very successful, with a constant flow of visitors over the 2 days. The weather was good and meeting all those who came to see us was very interesting. Amongst those attending there were many veterans including glider pilots, tug pilots, airborne troops and those who supported them in some way. Relatives of airborne troops, their children and grandchildren were also there in great numbers as were those who had a general interest in aviation and wanted to wish us well. The next public open weekend is on 3-4 September 2005, so put the date in your diary and come along and see the project.
20 Mar 2005
RAF Shawbury Operation Varsity Event
The Horsa, Waco and Dakota all moved to 4 Hangar for the official RAF Commemoration of Operation Varsity. The commemoration, held on Sunday 20th March 2005 was attended by over 600 people and included a flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota. This was the first public appearance of the newly refurbished Waco airframe
February 2005
Horsa DP349 Arrives at RAF Shawbury
The remains of Op Freshman Horsa DP349 have arrived from Norway, and the preservation and cataloging of the wreckage will begin soon. Some carefully chosen items will be displayed at the Op Varsity Commemoration, and also during the Public Open Weekend. Shipping from Norway to Shawbury was by TS International Packing Limited. Rosie and Mark of the British Forces Broadcasting Service visited Shawbury in November to shoot the third film in a series covering the use of Assault Gliders, the recovery of DP349 from Norway, and the work on the Trust Horsa.
26 Feb 2005
The Waco arrives at RAF Shawbury!
The CG-4A Waco Assault Glider has arrived from the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock Texas, and work has begun to prepare the aircraft for its first appearance at the RAF Op Varsity Commemoration being held on 20 March 2005. The Waco will be displayed in component form due to the tight time scales. Hopefully the aircraft will be displayed in a more complete form at the first Public Open Weekend of the year on 2-3 April. TS International Packing Limited moved the shipment from Lubbock to Shawbury
29 Jan 2005
The Waco heads for the UK
The CG-4A Waco Assault Glider has left the Silent Wings Museum and is due to arrive at Shawbury in the near future. It is hoped that it will appear at the RAF Operation Varsity Commemoration on 20 March 2005 (invitation only). Heritage Lottery Grant funds have already been awarded for the restoration of this aircraft, and progress is expected to be swift.
December 2004
A Busy Month
The planned slowdown for Christmas just didn't seem to happen, with work continuing right up to the holiday. Jason delivered the next batch of cockpit parts, and work started straight away to give the Horsa its classic nose profile. The tailplane was fitted to allow correct fitting of the supporting struts, and to finalise the elevator and rudder control runs. The original unused centre-section main spar has been refurbished and work has started on the centre-section itself, and the spars for the outer wing sections. The exterior fuselage paintwork is mostly complete and the identity LH291 has been added. The Dakota has gone into storage in a hangar on the far side of the airfield, it's next appearance will be at the Operation Varsity commemoration.
30 Dec 2004
Horsa Parts for the Silent Wings Museum
The Horsa parts for the Silent Wings Museum at Lubbock TX finally left by sea on 30 December 2004. This is part of the Trans-Atlantic exchange with the Silent Wings Museum, who are providing the Waco fuselage and many other components on long term loan. Horsa parts being delivered to Lubbock include:
Fuselage main skid
2 x undercarriage oleos
2 x undercarriage assemblies
2 x wheels complete with tyres
8 x fuselage bulkheads/frames
1 x nosewheel assembly
1 x box of various brackets and associated parts
November 2004
Public Open Weekend 6-7 November 2004
The Public Open Weekend on 6-7 November 2004 was a great success and was well attended. Two more open weekends are planned for 2-3 April and 3-4 September 2005. The Assault Glider Trust will be taking part in the Royal Air Force commemoration of Operation Varsity on Sunday 20 March 2005. This is the deadline for the roll-out of the Horsa and Waco, so the pressure is on! This will be the first time that the Horsa, Waco, and Dakota have appeared together. The Op Varsity commemoration is an RAF event which will be by invitation only.
September 2004
Norway Expedition to Recover Horsa DP349
A 5 man team consisting of 4 serving RAF personnel and a Norwegian military historian, have returned from Norway following a successful expedition to recover the wreckage of Horsa DP349. DP349 which crashed near to Fyljesdalen to the north-east of Stavanger in the early hours of 20th November 1942. This aircraft was one of 2 Horsa aircraft and Halifax tug combinations involved in a daring attack on the heavy water plant at Rjukan. Heavy water was an essential part of the German nuclear programme, and was required for the production of an atomic bomb. Operation Freshman did not succeed, as both gliders and one Halifax tug crashed. The survivors from the glider crash landings were executed on the direct orders of Hitler. The crew of the Halifax died when it crashed near Helleland.
June 2004
Assault Glider Association Renamed
Following the Association Annual General Meeting, and with agreement of the Charities Commission, the Assault Glider Association has been renamed The Assault Glider Trust. The name 'Trust' more accurately describes the project, as it is run by the Trustees and supported by the volunteer membership. 'Association' suggests a large organisation with a formal membership, which has caused confusion in the past with supporters asking to join the association as an official member.
June 2004
Boulton Paul Association Visit
Our Chairman and the Webmaster visited the Boulton Paul Association heritage centre in Wolverhampton to discuss closer co-operation between the two Trusts. The Boulton Paul team have already built two aircraft, and are restoring others. They are a registered charity, supported by a highly motivated volunteer workforce. Their D-Day event on Sunday the 6th June 2004 was a great success, and was attended by the Assault Glider Trust Webmaster who ran a display stand during the day. The work of the Boulton Paul Association reinforces the strong links between aviation and the West Midlands.
June 2004
BBC TV Filming
The volunteer workforce continues to make good progress with the Horsa. The fuselage has been mounted on trestles at a realistic height, and the fin and rudder were fitted for filming by BBC TV. The arrival of the cockpit allowed a bit of 'hangar flying' to take place, with 2 veterans who landing at Pegasus Bridge on D-Day trying the aircraft on for size. Work on the components for the Silent Wings Museum Horsa is almost complete, and will be shipped to the USA soon. Work has started on the tailplane of the Waco CG-4A glider, with new parts being made from originals lent to the Trust.
June 2004
Dakota Engines Fitted
A great deal has happened this month, the Dakota has left the paint shop looking incredible. FB Heliservices Ltd have completed the work to a very high standard, and are justifiably proud of their work. Air Atlantique have fitted the engines and propellers, and having fitted the engine cowlings, Rob is in the process of restoring the cockpit to original condition. The Dakota formed part of the display at the RAF Shawbury Annual Reception, and attracted a great deal of attention. The Dakota is a significant display aircraft in its own right, when combined with the assault gliders, it forms part of a unique collection.
April 2004
Radio Control Model Wing
Another exciting development has been the donation of 3 large scale radio controlled flying models. Two Horsa, a Waco, and a Dakota were presented to the Trust by the Battle of Arnhem Memorial Flight. The Flight specialised in the recreation of the Arnhem landings, towing the gliders with radio controlled Dakota aircraft. Two of the aircraft belonged to an Arnhem veteran who died recently, and they have been donated with the kind permission of his son. The "Flying Wing" of the Association will operate these and other aircraft that will be built with the assistance of the Memorial Flight.
April 2004
Horsa Cockpit for the Silent Wings Museum
The first of 2 Horsa cockpit sections (one for the project and one for the Silent Wings Horsa) is nearing completion in the south of England, and delivery is expected towards the end of May 2004. The volunteer that is building these also built the fuselage bench seats for the Horsa and the quality of work just has to be seen to be believed. The arrival of this landmark assembly is eagerly awaited and will completely transform the somewhat tubular fuselage
April 2004
Dakota Repaint
It's getting difficult to keep the website up to date as so much is happening at the moment. The work on the Dakota is progressing well, with the fuselage now taking its place in the paint shop, the wings and tailplane having been moved out. The problem of a lack of towing arm to move the aircraft was resolved by the restoration contractor FB Heliservices Ltd, constructing an adaptor to allow a universal towing arm to be used. Air Atlantique have sourced a pair of engines and propellers which will be installed once the aircraft leaves the paint bay.
March 2004
Good Progress being made with Horsa
The work on the Horsa fuselage continues to progress well, with the plywood skinning being completed on the majority of the fuselage. The tail section has been removed so that the fuselage can be rolled on its side to allow the underfloor area to be finished and skinned. Work on the cockpit section is progressing well at a location in London. A second cockpit is being built at the same location for the Silent Wings Museum Horsa. A large work table is about to be constructed, to allow work to begin on the wing spars. The parts constructed for the American Horsa will soon be shipped by air to Lubbock, these include fuselage bulkheads, undercarriage parts, and the landing skid. Work has started on 'reverse engineering' Waco GC-4A parts, initially the rudder and tailplane. Air Atlantique have come to the rescue with engines and propellers for the Dakota, identifying items which hopefully will be delivered in the near future.
December 2003
Heritage Lottery Grant Awarded
The Assault Glider Association has been awarded a grant of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the restoration of the Dakota and the rebuild of the Waco assault glider. This is very good news, and is the result of a great deal of work by the Chairman and the Trustees. The grant allows the work on the Dakota and the Waco to be put out to industry, ensuring that the specialised work will be completed to a high standard. Our band of volunteers continues to work hard on the Horsa construction, and although funds allow the work to continue, more money will be needed to complete the project. The Heritage Lottery Grant for the Dakota and Waco was possible as both aircraft are original wartime aircraft. As the Horsa is effectively 'new build' (although it does contain a number of original parts), it is not possible to obtain a Lottery grant for this work.
December 2003
Horsa Wing Spars Discovered
A pair of large wooden box sections were found in a hangar at Coventry Airport, and these were delivered with the Dakota. They were thought to be the main wing spar for a Hamilcar glider, however, initial examination suggests that these are a pair of Horsa centre-section main spars. This is fantastic news, as it will allow the undercarriage to be fitted sooner rather than later (the main gear shock absorbers mount on the bottom of this spar). The second spar will be delivered to the Silent Wings Museum for use in their Horsa build.
4 Dec 2003
The Dakota Arrives at RAF Shawbury!
On Thursday 4th December Dakota G-AMHJ (KG651) arrived at Shawbury from Coventry on 4 low-loader trucks. The aircraft was delivered by an RAF team from St Athan and escorted by civil police. The aircraft was handed over to FB Heliservices Ltd who will be carrying out restoration work including the respray to wartime lend-lease colours.
14 Aug 2003
VIP Day at RAF Shawbury
A VIP Day was held on 14 August 2003, with guests being invited to view the project and discuss progress with members of the volunteer team. The aim of the day was to raise funds for the project, and to promote its visibility across a broad spectrum of the local community. The day was well attended, with over 100 guests including the Major of Shrewsbury and Atcham. The association remains eternally grateful for the continuing support provided by RAF Shawbury in general, and by the Station Commander in particular.
June 2003
Visit by Professor Richard Holmes CBE TD JP
The renowned historian and author Professor Richard Holmes, visited the project in June 2003. He is best known for Firing Line (US title Acts of War), a study of human behaviour in battle, and Soldiers, the book of the prizewinning BBC TV series, which he wrote in association with John Keegan. He has written and presented several television programmes, including two six-part BBC TWO series, War Walks I and War Walks II, as well as a series on the Western Front which was televised in the summer of 1999.
June 2003
Visit to the Silent Wings Museum
The President of the Association and one of the Trustees visited the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock Texas USA, to discuss the exchange of Horsa and Waco parts. The visit was highly successful, and is hopefully the start of a long and mutually advantageous union between our two organisations.
June 2003
Royal Visit by HRH the Duke of Kent
The highlight of this period was the visit by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, who inspected the work and talked to veterans and volunteers as part of a visit to RAF Shawbury. This visit just is one of many, and demonstrates the interest in the project and acknowledges its importance as a memorial to all those who went to war by glider.
April 2003
Airspeed Horsa Construction
The Horsa continues to progress well, with detail work being completed on the fuselage prior to skinning. Work on the tail surfaces is well advanced, and the next major task will be to mount the fin, rudder, and elevators to the tail section. The work has generated a great deal of local TV interest, with a number of appearances on regional news programmes. More visits have been made by Airborne veterans and their families to see the glider, and to recount their experiences.
April 2003
C-47 Dakota Move
We are still hopeful that the Dakota will be moved from Coventry to Shawbury at minimal cost, however, the date of arrival has now slipped to August 2003. Unfortunately, the aircraft that has been donated does not come with engines or propellers, and the acquisition of non-airworthy display units would cost as much as £3,000.
March 2003
Heritage Lottery Fund
The response to the initial letter to the Lottery Heritage Fund was encouraging, and an application is to be submitted as soon as possible. It takes 3 months to obtain a decision, so a March 2003 application would result in a decision in late June. If successful, the aim would be to receive the Dakota in late June/early July for restoration on a fully commercial basis.
January 2003
On Silent Wings

The American 17th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions used about 350 British Horsa's on operations in Europe. The Horsa had a much greater load carrying capacity than the American Waco CG4A. The Silent Wings Museum wants a Horsa. They have agreed to supply us with enough parts to build a Waco in exchange for us making complicated Horsa parts for them. DH Support Ltd of Duxford have provided the Americans with copies of the original working drawings and their Horsa is to be built in full view of visitors to their Museum. The American director visited us in October 2002 and two of our trustees fly to Lubbock soon. The Waco is a vital element of our Memorial, to illustrate British airborne operations at Sicily and in the Chindit operations behind Japanese lines in the Burma campaign.

7 Nov 2002
C-47 Dakota Donation
The gift of a Dakota by Air Atlantique was officially announced. The aircraft is currently at Coventry Airport, standing in the open with its engines and control surfaces removed to avoid wind and weather damage. Some of its paintwork is already peeling. It is hoped that permission will be granted for the aircraft to be placed in a hangar at RAF Shawbury. We hope to be able to persuade the Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Flight at RAF St Athan to move the Dakota at no cost to us. There is no point in doing this until we know where it can be kept. The aircraft will have to be dismantled for the move, and reassembled at RAF Shawbury.
7 Nov 2002
As a direct result of the VIP day, we raised more than £1000 which is good because funds are running low and we have an expensive year ahead.
June 2001
RAF Shawbury offers a home

In June 2001 Royal Air Force Station Shawbury, in Shropshire, offered hangar space for the construction of a Mk 1 Horsa by a team of volunteers living in the local area, and the station continues to support the volunteer team. Initially a section of Horsa fuselage, recovered after the war from a landing site in Normandy, was loaned for the volunteers to copy.

Summer 2000
An Idea for an Airborne Memorial

In the summer of 2000, veterans of the Midland Branch of the Glider Pilot Regimental Association decided that an appropriate memorial to airborne forces would be a complete Airspeed Horsa assault glider. This site follows the construction of this unique piece of aviation history.