Date = 29th June 2014
Run Number = 1565
Venue = The Crown
Beer = Greene King IPA
Hares = Paxo & Ewok
Runners = 10
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Après Hashers = 0
Newies = 0
Hounds = 0
Total = 10
Membership = Not at the Birthday Barbeque!
It was a fairly low turnout for the change from Monday to Sunday, this was due to make it easy for some visiting Kiwis to pay us a visit, the only trouble was their tour of the UK had taken them further afield & they weren’t present. They wouldn't be there at a venue whose post code ends in NZ!
It was a glorious day for those who did venture out to hear the GM's welcoming speech. When it came to the Hares' introduction, well, it seems at first neither Ewok nor Paxo wanted to take responsibility for explaining what was out there.
Paxo eventually took charge to explain that there would be a couple of roads to cross, there could be a pond [Was this mentioned to stop TBT OBE from Falling in? - Ed] Ewok did add that there would be a Jelly baby stop, except she had forgotten the said Jelly babies & the Pack would have to make do with, in her words, "some 'Manky' pastilles!"
Before the off Sloppy Seconds & a couple of others moaned "Bet we're going to Run around the Airfield to see the bunkers!" to which the Hares replied that it would go a different way than Paxo's last Military Mystery Tour in this neck of the woods!
Then, without further ado, the Pack were ushered away toward a footpath across the road from the Pub, passing beside the village hall with its Union Flag & Cross of St George fluttering in the breeze. There was also a large banner declaring a 'Dog show' would be taking place there in July.
The path would turn to the southwest behind the Village Hall, as it led behind the homes on the west side of Hunsdon, at the start it was clear that Sludge was not his usual FRBing self, he explained to the RA that be had pulled a muscle & would be walking around!
With Sludge walking along with the RA, it would mean that they would not be lured away further to the west & up to a Bar CHK on the edge of a crop field toward Oak Park Farm. Ewok came back to mark the Trail through a gap in the wild grass bordering the path, this led on to a CHK near the dead end of a small housing estate on Tanners Way.
Sloppy Seconds was straight on to the southwest bound footpath, leading away along the edge of the wheat field to the south of the homes, Sludge & Mr X were also convinced that this too was the correct route, until they got so far without finding any Dust!
Back at the CHK they would find My Lil' searching to no avail up through Tanners Way, then "On!" was called by Tent Packer & Kylie on a footpath in to a small Park area to the north, heading back toward the On Inn didn't seem right.
Tent Packer & Kylie were lured off of the footpath's course, not by the playground equipment but by some avian guano on a tree to one side, the RA questioned what these two had been up to?
Having followed the path's clockwise turn near the top of the park, the Pack were now heading south-eastward as they emerged on to Standsted road, they would be taken down this & away from Hunsdon.
Just off of a southward direction the road heads out of town, ahead in the not so far off distance, two footpath signs could be seen, one westward pointing & the other to the east. The furthest path, to the east, would prove to be the correct one as it led Mr X, Sloppy Seconds & Tent Packer on by a small, new housing estate of Great Oak Court off of Acorn Street.
A CHK was found on Acorn Street & being first there the RA decided to search southward where a footpath sign to the west could be seen, just beyond the entrance to the tastefully designed new homes were. As Mr X approached the westward pointing sign on the bend, where the road becomes a lane out in to the countryside, double arrows pointed eastward over to the fallow area of land below Nine Ashes Farm.
The Dust led along the path of mown hay cutting its way through the wild grasses before reaching the shade of the wooded area by a fishing lake. Sparky caught up with Mr X but seemed to be struggling to see the Dust, this did not improve on reaching the trees as he confessed that the dapples of sunlight breaking through the tree canopy looked like white dust to him, then Sparky failed to see a Held CHK by the small lake.
The RA's attention was diverted too, but his was down on the intriguing sign by one of the fishing pegs. The sign had several colourful national flags on it, the English text by the Union Flag explained that it was a Club lake & only members could fish, plus fish had to be returned. The other languages included Polish, Romanian & Bulgarian, which says a lot!
Anyhow, these two carried on through this new woodland, along the shaded way Mr X pointed out that there weren't many established roots to trip up TBT OBE. After a long trot they arrived at a CHK on the bend on the hard capped farm track.
The RA now took a wrong turn, as he choose to follow the track around on to the edge of the old RAF Hunsdon airfield. There wasn't any Dust that way, just a few broken clay-pigeons & in the not so far off distance was the pop, pop sound of shotguns bring fired.
Sparky called “On!” as he went down the track to the east, a short way along this & he was soon off down a tree-lined path to the south. Mr X came back to follow on behind Sparky, who wasn't in sight for long as he disappeared around the bend in the distance, the RA didn't get that far as he spotted the very obvious Bar CHK across the path.
As he returned to the main track, Mr X began calling Sparky back but it seems he couldn't hear the RA's bellowing! Ewok was concerned that the Bar CHK had gone, but the RA reassured her that under the tree canopy it was still intact & it was big enough to have tripped TBT OBE up if he had been lured that way, thankfully he wasn't!
Others joined in trying to call Sparky back. As the Trail progressed down the track to Eastwick Hall Farm, Ewok explained that the RA & Sparky should have stopped at the Held CHK by the lake & that it was drawn on a tree there. My Lil’ quipped that the H was upside down!
Anyhow, Sparky eventually made up his lost ground as the rest of the FRBs trotted along to a CHK by the tarmac lane up to the farm. On the way on this long stretch a very fit young lady came jogging by, this stimulated TBT OBE into running all of its length in what others thought was a show of his virility! [The old monkey glands kicked in then? - Ed]
From the CHK, that was not visible at the junction, My Lil' was soon on to the Trail over the lush green, tree-lined path up beside the farm, again this was a long stretch as it took the Pack northward. It was a shame Pebbledash wasn't present as the Pack were now running on Cockrobin lane! Instead our resident Smutster was celebrating Pepé le Pew's birthday with a family Barbeque. [What no birthday cake for the Hash? - Ed]
The potential of turning off to the east was ignored three quarters of the way up this route, as the Trail continued beyond the footpath off to the side. A blob of flour could be seen on an overhanging bough up ahead, the RA surmised that Paxo must have placed that blob there, or Ewok was on his shoulders to reach it?
Cockrobin lane came out through the wild grass verge to the wheat field that now cover the old World War II airbase. Sparky caught up with the other Keenies & My Lil' was surprised that Sparky called out 'Check Point' as he was first to reach the CHK on one of the main paths around the site that formed part of the runway & taxing routes.
While Mr X went off to search on what was a part of the runway up toward the small flying club, the rest searched further on Cockrobin lane as it cuts through more wheat. Sparky found the Trail along this footpath to the north, the ground beneath Hash feet was a dry cracked mosaic.
Mr X corrected his earlier mistake & followed on behind the other FRBs, looking over toward the small modern airstrip an orange windsock could be seen in a fairly firm state, at times reaching 45° [Ooh-er Pebbledash! – Ed]
The Trail quickly turned three times, firstly to the northeast, northward & then north-eastward again toward the flying club, just by where this nestles up to the southwest corner of Black Hut wood a Held CHK was found.
The noise of the clay pigeon shooting was still not that far away, Mr X had to point out the red flag flying from the observation platform, this was flying to indicate 'live shooting' was taking place.
Paxo & Ewok arrived, he suggested that the FRBs go over to look at the War Memorial beside which the flag of the Civil Air Ensign was flying, similar to the RAF Ensign but defaced with a dark blue cross on a white cross replacing the RAF roundel, the Union Flag is in the top inner quarter.
The Pack paid their respects at the memorial, on top of which are the remains of a prop from a plane that flew from RAF Hunsdon & crashed on the operation, the RA correctly mentioned being ‘Jericho’. A film with David McCullum was made about this attack.
In 1943 many members of the French resistance movement in the Amiens area had been caught by the Germans and imprisoned in Amiens prison. Some had been betrayed by collaborators, and the entire movement in the area was at risk.
By December 1943, 12 members of the Resistance had been executed at the prison, and it was learned that more than 100 other members were to be shot on 19 February 1944. Dominique Penchard began sending information about the prison to London, including accurate details of the layout, defences, and duty rosters
No. 140 Wing of the RAF Second Tactical Air Force, based at RAF Hunsdon in Hertfordshire, was selected to carry out the raid using Mosquito FB Mk VIs.
The Wing comprised 18 Mosquitos from No. 464 Squadron RAAF, No. 487 Squadron RNZAF, and No. 21 Squadron RAF, and was led by Group Captain Percy Charles Pickard (DSO and two bars), an experienced pilot and leader but who was inexperienced in low level attacks and underwent 10 hours' conversion training at Hatfield. The Mosquitos of 487 Squadron were assigned the task of bombing the prison guards' mess hall and breaching the outer prison wall in two places, while 464 Squadron's aircraft were tasked with bombing the prison's main walls if no prisoners were seen escaping.
No. 21 Squadron was assigned with the grim alternative of bombing the prison and all in it, as requested by those prisoners aware of the proposed mission. The overall raid was to be led by Air Vice-Marshal Basil Embry, and was ready to go from 10 February. Close support was to be provided by Hawker Typhoons from No. 198 Squadron RAF and No. 174 Squadron RAF.
Of the 717 prisoners, 102 were killed, 74 wounded, and 258 escaped, including 79 Resistance and political prisoners, although two thirds of the escapees were recaptured
TBT OBE asked what the extra A in RAAF meant, Mr X explained that it was ‘Stralian as in Royal Australian Air Force, while Paxo pointed out the New Zealand losses from this base, as well as British & Canadian plaques.
Once Sloppy Seconds & Sludge had made it to the memorial, the Hares allowed the Keenies to search for the Trail once more. The obvious route was to take the access road out to the north a short way & then in to Black Hut wood, sure enough the Trail took to this way, leading on through the area of woodland with its hidden bunkers & man-made concrete water courses lurking within.
Out of the wood, My Lil' & Mr X were first to see an arrow pointing away from the nearby Hunsdon Lodge Farm, the RA was none too sure on this but Dust was on the footpath northward through the wheat, right up to the bramble hedgerow where a Bar CHK was found.
These two turned back but were happy to see Sparky was still ruining toward them, while the rest continued westward beside the farm & then on through the top of the crop fields to join the end of Drury lane, the wayward trio caught up in time to see Paxo point out a couple of hidden bunkers in an adjacent private garden. The faded On Inn was found on a metal drain cover.
On by the modern Scandinavian looking house, which just doesn't fit in with the rustic cottages on the lane, to come out in to the High street. TBT OBE made sure all those around him knew that he was going to be having a bacon roll at the Crown, as advertised on the blackboards outside of the Pub, he even reiterated this by pointing it out as the Pack approached the sign.
Once changed, TBT OBE was slightly disappointed to discover that the kitchen was closed on Sunday & he would have to make do with crisps! He didn't sound happy as he mentioned the external advertising about bacon rolls!
Once inside the Pack would have a smutty laughs, before turning to the serious matters of the Braughing Wheelbarrow Race & the Chequers Air Ambulance Bike Ride. The RA also added that those going to the Christmas Do should book their accommodation if they want the modern lodges before it is opened to select visitors!
The Down-Downs were held out the front of the Pub, just as a light precipitation was felt in the air. So, a line was formed beneath the eaves of the Pubs' low overhanging roof.
The GM finished with his thoughts on the Trail, toasted the Hash & handed over to the RA.
The Hares were rewarded, with Ewok getting a Cider later when she's not driving! On to the misdemeanours, which went to Sparky for running 5.4 miles, while the rest did 4.2! Sludge received the other hit for injuring himself stepping in to his back garden!