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Airfield preserved for its wartime past

It starred in the opening sequence of the famous film The Dambusters, and was responsible for training thousands of pilots during the Second World War.

Now a local action group fighting to preserve the airfield at Silloth in West Cumbria has received a grant, ensuring the role the town played during the war won't be forgotten.

Paul Crone has this report:

Many lost their lives training for the war

Silloth Airfield opened in 1939 and trained thousands of servicemen during the Second World War.

So many accidents occurred over Solway Bay, it became known as 'Hudson Bay', after the Hudson planes that were notoriously difficult to fly.

Not far from the runway is a cemetery for those who lost their lives training for war.

Lawrence Marshall has vivid memories of living next to the airfield during the war:


Silloth Airfield trained thousands during WW2

The Hudson planes were notoriously hard to fly Credit: Gordon Akitt

A project to highlight one of the best kept secrets of the Second World War has been launched in West Cumbria.

Silloth Airfield opened in 1939 and trained thousands of American, Canadian and British pilots to fly fighters and bombers during the war.

Dozens lost their lives during their training Credit: Gordon Akitt

The Silloth Tourism Action Group has received a Heritage Lottery Grant to preserve the site for future generations, and to highlight the part the seaside town played during the war.

Training the pilots, navigators and wireless operators to fly the notoriously difficult Hudson planes came at cost.

In the cemetery, just a few hundreds yards from the end of the runway, are the graves of dozens of aircrew who lost their lives training for war.

The Silloth Tourism Action Group would like people to get involved Credit: Gordon Akitt

It’s hoped many other residents will come forward to assist in the project with memories and photos of the town’s wartime years.

Woman involved in £130,000 drug supply sentenced

A woman from Silloth has been sentenced to 23 months in prison for her involvement in the importing of £130,000 worth of drugs.

45-year-old Anita Robertson was told her sentence would be suspended for two years.

She appeared in Carlisle Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 1 May, after pleading guilty to helping to import 6.5kg of mephedrone.

She came under suspicion when packages addressed to her arrived at Stansted Airport and Coventry International in August 2013.

The packages contained white crystalline substances which were later confirmed to be Class B controlled drugs.

She was arrested on the 21 August 2013 after the police discovered she had been receiving packages over a seven month period.

“Robertson believed that she could just receive these packages containing illegal drugs and get away with it. However, this case highlights that we are always checking on illegal activity. Once suspicious were raised, then it was only a matter of time before we brought her to justice.

“This investigation prevented a substantial amount of illegal drugs going onto the streets and is another example of the continuing work by Cumbria Police, along with partner agencies to disrupt the importation and distribution of illegal drugs.”

– Andrew Myers, Detective Sergeant, Cumbria Police

Witness appeal after knife robbery

Police in West Cumbria are appealing for information about a car following a robbery with a knife in Silloth.

It happened on Thursday afternoon (April 17) at the Cumberland Building Society on Station Road.

Staff were allegedly threatened with a knife and a quantity of cash was stolen.

Police say the offender then ran off but may have then got into a car.

They want to trace the movements of a blue Ford Focus, registration number V647KOX, shortly after the robbery took place.

Four people have been questioned by police in connection with the incident. One of them has now been released without charge.

Silloth roads blocked due to armed robbery

All roads out of Silloth have been blocked after a member of staff at the Cumberland Building Society was threatened with a knife during a robbery.

Police were called at 1:11pm today, Thursday 17 April, and are currently investigating the incident.

Officers and Air Support, from the National Police Air Service (NPAS), have been deployed to the area and a search is underway for the offender(s).

Motorists are asked to avoid the area. No one was harmed in the incident.


Nurse gives evidence at inquest

A nurse has been giving evidence at the inquest into the death of 34-year-old plumber David Hagen.

Lyn Farrer was on duty on Mr Hagan's ward at the time. She said she had tried to stop Mr Hagan leaving by holding his arm but he had brushed her aside.

Ms Farrer said she then tried to contact the hospital security but was told there was no one on duty.

Another nurse tried to follow Mr Hagen but he left the hospital.

The police and the hospital's Crisis Team were informed and a description of him issued.

He died just a few hours later at Engine Lonning in Carlisle.

Ms Farrer told the inquest that there was no formal plan on the ward to deal with high risk patients who might abscond but that staff had now been retrained.

The inquest continues.

Second day of inquest to hear from widow

Day two of the inquest has resumed into the death of a Silloth man who managed to leave hospital despite previous suicide attempts.

34-year-old plumber David Hagen died on June 28th, 2010, in Carlisle shortly after he'd left The Cumberland Infirmary where he'd been admitted following an overdose.

So far this morning the inquest has heard from nurse Lyn Farrer who was on duty on Mr Hagan's ward at the time.

The inquest is due to hear from several other witnesses today including Mr Hagan's widow Abigail Hagan.

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