A day watching gliders at Bickmarsh brought back memories for historian and artist Michael Barnard. He told reporter Gerry Barnett about learning to fly and milk runs to Herefordshire.

The old Roman road Ryknild Street was, said Mr Barnard, a road of a thousand memories, especially during the 1940s.

The old road stretches from Saintbury to Bidford then is lost for a few miles to reappear near Kings Coughton and on to Studley.

After cutting the old Honeybourne RAF station in two, the road travels north for a few miles to another airstrip known as Bickmarsh, the home of Bidford Gliding Club.

“To spend a day watching the gliders at Bickmarsh soaring in wonderful and majestic cloudscapes is a nostalgic trip back to the 1940s where on a similar airfield in Herefordshire, along with three friends, I experienced the thrill of gliding and qualified for our glider pilot licences,” said Mr Barnard.

The airfield, he explained, was RAF Madley where Eric Sykes, later to become a wonderfully popular comedian and writer, was then a radio operator.

Mr Barnard recalled that it was in October 1945 that RAF Madley went down in history as the airfield that Hitler’s deputy Rudolph Hess arrived at after spending three years in hospital at Abergavenny. The brief trip to Madley was prior to being flown to Brussels in a domestic aircraft on his way to Nuremberg.

“Our milk runs to Madley were full of security, never leaving the aircraft, landing, then off again,” Mr Barnard said.

“To pause 64 years later at Bickmarsh is to envisage our old Kirby Cadet gliders coming in to land and in my picture the past is being escorted in to land by the super gliders of today. No open cockpits, modern domes canopies – sheer luxury.”

Mr Barnard said the RAF couple on the left were two friends from RAF Honeybourne who always cycled the road to Bidford then on to Stratford to visit the Dirty Duck or Black Swan.

“From all these trips, prangs and all, I have many memories, sometimes sad, but all fondly recalled,” Mr. Barnard said.