First reunion made after four decades for former members of the Lincolnshire Gliding Club

Former members of the Lincolnshire Gliding Club held their first reunion of members for more than 40 years. Picture: John Edwards.
Former members of the Lincolnshire Gliding Club held their first reunion of members for more than 40 years. Picture: John Edwards.

An almost forgotten piece of Lincolnshire aviation history was recalled when 30 ex pilots met for lunch at the Ivy restaurant at in Wragby.

The principal guest was the club’s then CFI (Chief Flying Instructor) Jack Nicoll.

An experienced pilot, Jack trained in Canada with the Fleet Air Arm and as a petty officer, aged 18, received his wings on VJ Day.

Demobilisation followed almost immediately, though he did eventually join the FAA Reserve to fly interesting fighters such as the Firefly, Seafire and Seafury.

The Lincolnshire Gliding Club was formed at Swinderby in the mid sixties and soon moved to the rather bleak and wet Barney airfield, where they operated until 1978.

Always a shoe string operation, club members first had to build their hanger and convert the derelict control tower into a club house.

As well as privately owned aircraft, the club fleet was initially a mixture of ex-RAF and secondhand aircraft launched using club-built winches and a venerable Auster tug.

The members from all over Lincolnshire and adjoining counties nevertheless enjoyed hours of economical flying as trainees and subsequently qualified pilots.

It was noted that amongst the ‘old boys’ at the Wragby reunion were a Northern Standard Class Champion, a British Open Champion and a British Gliding National Coach.

The successor Lincolnshire Gliding Club now flies from Strubby near Alford.