Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Down the River Witham

We have left Lincoln and are traveling eastward on the River Witham through a wide valley.  We could see the towers of the Cathedral for a LONG time, reminding the peasants of an earlier age that God is always watching.

The sound of airplanes flying overhead is very common here.  Waddington Airfield is in this area and they send out AWACS (airborne early warning and control aircraft) on their mission at regular intervals.  Mike is loving the sound and sometimes the sight of the planes.  Once a pilot, always a pilot.

We passed a beautiful small Norman church in Greetwall.  The church marks the site of a medieval village of farmers and traces of their farming patterns still remain when you look carefully at the land itself.

The village of Fiskerton is now a distance from the river but was once a fishing village.  When the fens here were drained and the course of the river changed Fiskerton became a landlocked village.  However, during a flood in 1962 the water  once again reached the town, if only temporally.

Today we are moored near Woodhall Spa, located about a mile inland.  As the story goes, in 1811 they were drilling for coal and found iodine mineral water instead.  A Victorian spa town resulted.  Soaking in the waters is said to relieve the pain of arthritis.  I just might have to give it a try.

Also in Woodhall Spa is Petworth House which, during World War II, served as the officer's mess of the 617 Squadron, more commonly known as the Dam Busters.  This Squadron took part in a  top-secret Royal Air Force bombing mission in May of 1943. 
Their mission was  to fly deep into Germany, at tree top level, and destroy three dams essential to the Nazi steel industry. A  bouncing bomb that could skip across water had been developed for this purpose BUT, but to be effective, the bomb had to be dropped at very close range and very low altitude.  The raid was carried out with partial success but at a terrible cost of lives.  Fifty three of the  133 men who participated were killed, almost 40% .
 Below is a picture of the memorial to these men that was erected in Woodhall Spa.

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