Little Staughton – 582 and 109 Pathfinders – Airfield Simulation

A CGI image of a wartime runway system with Lancaster Bomber aircraft.

Little Staughton – 582 and 109 Pathfinders – Airfield Simulation

Tommy Turner was my father and Sgt Pilot with 582 Pathfinders. He passed 30 years ago but instilled in me a deep love for flight and I’ve recently retired from 40 years in defence aerospace. Like many RAF siblings, all we have is a few photos in a drawer, a reminiscence or two, but no real appreciation of what they did or where they did it. We’d give much for an hour with them now, to ask questions about what, where, and when, but that time, alas, is past.

A burning desire to understand led to an interest in flight simulation. I decided to create the airfields dad flew from, so I could ‘fly’ – virtually – what he flew, where he flew from. This, combined with a copy of his Service Record, laid the breadcrumb trail so work could begin.

It’s been an amazing research project and given me a whole new appreciation of his journey, his skills. My first project, published last year, was to recreate Caron, 33EFTS in Saskatchewan. The video tells that story. Churchill reckoned BCATP – the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan – was possibly the decisive factor of the war.

Next, and currently work in progress, is Little Staughton, a major project to build the world’s most accurate simulation of a WW2 Bomber Command airfield – over 150 buildings currently modelled, based on a synthesis of Air Ministry Site Plans, LIDAR imaging, aerial photographs of the period, help from the Airfield research Group, the villagers and an ever-growing library of books. Once complete it will be made generally available so others can experience what it was like to fly a mission, day or night.

The plan then is to create a series of short videos to explain, 80 years later, exactly how RAF Little Staughton operated. We must honour them all, air and ground crew, never forgetting the price they paid.

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