The John Gillespie Magee Jr. Foundation is located in Wellingore - a small village situated on the Cliff Edge between Lincoln and Grantham in the county of Lincolnshire. The main A607 road runs through the village and is a well-travelled route for visitors to the county. The area has many interesting heritage sites for visitors - from the home of Sir Isaac Newton at Woolsthorpe Manor
at the south to the city of Lincoln
, the site of one of the first Roman Colonia in Britain and its most famous cathedral
at the north. In between we have the historic Belton House
, a major National Trust property, an original Blacksmith’s Forge
at Welbourn and Mrs Smith’s Cottage Museum
- a small house in Navenby village preserving the life and times of a lady who lived a simple life without all our modern conveniences.
The county of Lincolnshire around Wellingore is exceptionally rich in aviation history and indeed, in current operations of the RAF. RAF College at Cranwell
and the Cranwell Aviation Museum
are just 3 miles away and the new Bomber Command Memorial
is on the hill south of Lincoln. RAF Waddington
, just 5 miles north is a major operational base and RAF Coningsby
10 miles east is the front-line operations site for RAF Fighter Command and the home of the BBMF - the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
which flies the preserved Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota aircraft for displays throughout the year and hosts tours of the aircraft and a museum for visitors.
To the north of Lincoln lies RAF Scampton
, the home of the Red Arrows Squadron
and the field from which 617 Squadron flew the famous Dam Busters Raid. At Woodhall Spa, 11 miles east, is the memorial
to the 617 Squadron and an example of the famous Bouncing Bomb preserved at the Petwood Hotel
which also houses the memories of the Officer’s Mess in the bar. Nearby at East Kirkby is the old airfield now an Aviation Museum
displaying a preserved Lancaster bomber (on certain days you can take a runway taxi ride in it)
with displays of equipment and sorties typical of WWII bomber operations.
At Metheringham just 3 miles from Wellingore, the old Airfield Museum
displays a preserved Control Tower and a Dakota aircraft. At RAF Digby
just 2 miles away is the Sector Ops. Museum
that preserves an original Fighter Command Control Room for 12 Group WWII operations. John Magee Jr. is recorded as being stationed at Digby but from October 1941 412 Squadron RCAF was based at the satellite field at RAF Wellingore
and John was billeted in Wellingore village. At Newark to the west is the Newark Air Museum
displaying an inventory of 80 preserved aircraft including the Vulcan bomber.
The grave of John Magee is in the Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery
at Scopwick close to Digby.
With this plethora of preserved sites and public museums the area attracts many tourists from around the world and represents perhaps the most complete and accessible Heritage Trail for aviation history in the UK. This trail is regarded as very important by both North Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire County Council. Both councils are strongly supporting the John Magee project. Advertising of the memorial to attract visitors to Wellingore will fit very comfortably within the existing and future plans for promotion of tourism within the county. We do not have an isolated, individual site with issues of access or how to attract or cater for visitors but another piece of the history of Lincolnshire and a famous contributor as yet unrecognised along this heritage trail.