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Brave air aces recalled as fighter plane lands at Brodsworth Hall

Stephen Abs Wisdom, a Historical Interpretor and propmaker of Ancient Wisdom, shows Beatrice Porter, 4, a First World War Biplane on the lawn at Brodsworth Hall ahead of the Brothers in Arms events as part of the hall's First World War season of events. Picture: Jonny Walton/Kaptur Creative

Stephen Abs Wisdom, a Historical Interpretor and propmaker of Ancient Wisdom, shows Beatrice Porter, 4, a First World War Biplane on the lawn at Brodsworth Hall ahead of the Brothers in Arms events as part of the hall's First World War season of events. Picture: Jonny Walton/Kaptur Creative

Brodsworth Hall turned the clock back to World War One to remember those who fought the conflict’s air war.

Bosses at the Doncaster tourist attraction parked a replica SE5 fighter plane from the period on the lawn in front of the house as they paid tribute to those who fought the air war.

The weekend’s event, Brodsworth at War: Brothers in Arms, looked at the wartime service of two brothers from the family which lived at the hall at the time of the war.

Charles Grant Dalton served in the Army Service Corps, while brother Stuart Grant-Dalton served with the Royal Flying Corps, the precursor of the Royal Air Force.

Historian Stephen Wisdom provided a talk on the air war which looked at how the aircraft evolved through the war, and re-enactors also told of the dangers faced by the people who worked in the factories producing the biplanes flown by the war’s pilots.

Children formed queues for the chance to sit in the cockpit, and try on leather flying helmets from the period.

Doncaster had a crucial role in the air war at the time, as it was home to a Royal Flying Corps base near the racecourse, where pilots were trained up for the front.

Among those who were attending the event were descendants of airmen who trained there in 1918.

One told Mr Wisdom how his grandfather had been sent to train in the borough after having applied to be an airman because it involved a weekend away from the front in London for assessment.

Mr Wisdom said the biggest cause of deaths among pilots was crashes in training at bases like the one at Doncaster, which was once opposite the racecourse next to what is now Leger Way.

And organisers said the visitors had told them of relatives who had been involved in the manufacture of the planes, who had suffered deadly illnesses as a result of inhaling the paint which was used on the aeroplanes.

The aircraft used on the day was a replica which had been produced for English Heritage, and was brought in by road.

Expert Mr Wisdom, who dressed in a Flying Corps uniform, said: “We’ve been telling people a little bit about World War One and the house’s link to that.

“The gentleman who lived here during World War One was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps and we’ve been telling people about how the war in the air developed.

“We’ve been using our replica aircraft which has been developed in co-operation with English Heritage.

“We’ve had some really good questions and had people who had relatives who actually served during World War One and we’ve been showing all manner of gear from flying suits to mascots.”

 

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