The Men’s Probus Club of Skegness founded 1974
Speakers January to May 2017 25th January Bill Marsden Come fly with me  (An insight into the world of model aircraft) In   the   early   1900s   the   first   models   to   fly   were   made   of   moulded   silk   and wood   then,   as      the   use   of   balsa   wood   and   tissue   paper   made   them   much lighter,   the   US   air   force   used   them   as   drones.   Marilyn   Monroe   worked   on   the production line making them before she became famous. It    was    the    late    50s    before    radio controlled   planes   that   ran   on   ether or   paraffin   were   introduced   and   he showed   a   model   of   a   junior   60   that   cost   £5.00   in   1947;   a luxury   item   in   it’s   day.   A   much   cheaper   option   was   to   buy   a drawing   plan   and   balsa   wood   and   cut   the   wood   to   the   plan, create   an   air   frame   and   cover   it   with   tissue   and   cellulose dope.   Most   were   fitted   with   petrol   engines   with   spark   plugs. Some   had   compression   engines   that   ran   on   methanol.   The modern   planes   today      use   electric   motors   that   are   powered by   very   powerful   batteries   and   use   modern   materials   like polystyrene but combining this with balsa.   Bill   stressed   that   model   aircraft   can   be   as   cheap   or   as   expensive   as   you want.   He   had   examples   of   engines,   one   was   a   ‘LASER’   engine   that   cost £100.00   second   hand   but   could   cost   up   to   £300.00   on   ebay.      He   was   asked about   rules   and   regulations   regarding   the   flying   of   these   air   craft   and   he told   us   every   modeller   that   flies   is   governed   by   the   CAA   and   has   a   ceiling of about 400 feet for the planes.      The President, Gordon Cartwright, gave the vote of thanks
  8th February Colin Gray   Up The Volga Colin   Gray   spoke   about   his   boat   trip   up   the   Volga from   Moscow   to   St   Petersburg   for   his   30 th    Wedding   Anniversary,   at the    time    when    Boris   Yeltzin    was    President.   The    food    was    very plentiful   but   very   basic.   They   flew   to   Moscow   to   join   the   ship.   The passengers    were    mainly    American    and    British.        The    holiday commenced   with   a   tour   of   Moscow   which   included   the   Kremlin, Russian   War   Museum.   Photos   of   Moscow   were   shown   with   a   brief history    of    the    Kremlin    and    religious    establishments.        Leaving Moscow   they   joined   a   system   of   canals,   built   by   forced   labour, which join a lot of small lakes together. They   travelled   up   the   Volga   and   stopped   at   various   places   on   the   way.      One   of   the   cathedrals   had   walls   filled   with icons   and   religious   relics.     They   were   taken   to   see   a   monastery   built   on   stilts   because   of   the   depth   of   snow   in   winter. They   arrived   at   a   place   called   Kostroma   which   was   interesting   because   they   had   shops   with   stock   on   show   like Argos.     They   then   moved   on   to Yaroslavi,   a   retreat   of   the   Czars   renowned   for   its   linen   manufacture.     There   was   also a school that taught English - a subject the pupils were very happy to learn.   They   sailed   on   to   Earmah   where   they   joined   a   some   of   the   locals   but   were   advised   not   to   drink   the   local   vodka!      A map   was   displayed   indicating   a   very   large   lake   and   onward   to   Kirishi   Island      (more   churches!).      Then      to   St Petersburg,   with   photographs   of   Catherine   Palace,   the   gold   ballroom   and   outside   gardens.   Back   to   St   Petersburg   by hydrofoil   followed   by   a   tour   around   the   Hermitage   which   was   extremely   large   and   busy.   There   was   not   enough   time to see all that the Hermitage had to offer.  Another visit was then made to the Peterhof Palace by hydrofoil. The President, Gordon Cartwright, gave the vote of thanks
 22nd February Robert Holland Tsunami Rescue Robert   gave   a   brief   account   of   his   links   with   Skegness   and   his   obvious   friendship   with the   President,   Gordon   Cartwright.      He   gave   details   of   the   Tsunami   aftermath   and   that   he   had   been   a member   of   the   National   Victims   Identification   Team   (which   was first   set   up   to   deal   with   the   R101   airship)   disaster   since   1983   .     In the period 1983-2006 he attended 11 world-wide disasters. The   earthquake   that   triggered   the   Tsunami   on   26.12.2004   had an   international   response.   He   was   flown   out   to   Dubai   on   a transport   aircraft   with   32   refrigerated   container   units   to   house the    victims.        They    arrived    in    Sri    Lanka    and    offloaded    5 containers    which    he    took    to    Phuket    in    Thailand.    From    the airport   he   went   to   the   coast   and   set   up   a   mortuary.   Photos were   shown   of   the   devastation   left   by   the   wave.   Most   of   the houses   were   built   on   concrete   bases   and   were   all   washed away.   He   showed   photographs   of   a   military   boat   found   2   miles inland. A food programme was set up to feed the survivors. Over   12,000   bodies   were   found   –   all   victims   had   electronic tags   fitted   and   DNA   taken.   Dental   records   were   taken   for   post   mortem   records   and   even   jewellery   was used   as   identification.   50   cremations   were   taken   every   day   and   every   available   wall   that   was   still standing had missing persons photographs placed on them as people were desperate to find relatives.                                           Gordon Cartwright gave a vote of thanks
8th March  Dianne Grimshaw Joyce Grenfell Dianne   gave   a   short   introduction   to   her   amateur   dramatic   history and   then   went   on   to      the         early   life   of   Joyce   Grenfell.      Joyce   paved the   way   for   today’s   comedy.   Her   American   mother   was   part   of   the Astor   family.      Joyce   was   born   in   1910.   On   a   trip   at   3   years   of   age she   entertained   all   the   passengers   on   a   transatlantic   voyage   and that’s where her love of entertainment began. In    1928,    when    she    was    19    she    met    her    husband,    Reggie Grenfell.      Joyce   was   invited   to   a   WI   meeting   and   here   Diane went    into    character    to    give    an    insight    into    her    lecture    there. During   World   War   II   she   went   to   entertain   the   troops   and   was awarded   the   OBE   in   1946   for   her   services.   Dianne   sang   a   ditty from a song of the times. While    Joyce    was    away    she wrote   to   Reggie   every   day   and Dianne    read    out    loud    one    of the moving letters she sent. In   1954   Joyce   was   given   her own    show    and    it    was    called “Joyce    Grenfell    Requests    the Presence    of”    She    pulled    most    of    her    act    from    observing    and listening   to   others.      She   toured America   as   an   unknown   so   she   had to   audition   for   her   roles.   Diane   gave   a   rendition   of   the   audition   in costume.      The   Americans   loved   her   and   she   had   to   extend   her tour.   Diane   gave   a   monologue   of   one   of   her   roles   entitled   “The Terrible Dilemma”.  Joyce   and   Reggie   never   had   children   but   she   wrote   five   nursery school   sketches   which   were   very   popular   and   profitable,   one   of which   was   performed   by   Diane.   One   of   Joyce’s   set   pieces   was called    “One    is    One    and    All    Alone”    and    she    would    ask    the audience   to   close   their   eyes   and   try   to   imagine   the   picture   she described.   Her   last   appearance   was   on   the   BBC   show   called “Face   the   Music”.   Joyce   passed   away   at   home   in   1980      from complications    after    an    operation    to    remove    an    eye    after    an infection.                                           Gordon Cartwright gave a vote of thanks March 22nd Lawrence Rich; Life in Bulgaria During   the   Cold   War   when   Europe   was   divided   into   East   and     West,    only    diplomatic    and    embassy    travel    was    allowed    to eastern   Europe.      Lawrence   went   to   work   in   the   embassy   in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1974.     They    had    to    be    aware    that    the    department    they    were allocated   could   be   “bugged”.      He   soon   found   that   under   the communist   regime   no   matter   how   hard   you   worked   or   how much   you   knew   the   pay   scale   was   the   same   for   all   services. Sofia   was   a   miniature   Moscow;   Bulgaria,   a   Slavic   nation,   has a    very    similar    language    to    Russian    and    uses    the    Cyrillic alphabet.   It   was   part   of   the   Turkish   Ottoman   Empire   until   the Russians   drove   the   Turks      out   and   eventually   introduced   a communist   regime.      Only   10%   of   the   population   supported   the communist   party   who   ruled   with   harsh   discipline.   The   trade unions   were   appointed   by   the   party   who   encouraged   workers to spy on other workers.  Southern   Bulgaria   is   very   mountainous   and   mainly Turkish   but the    people    were    forced    to    accept    Bulgarian    culture.        The central   region   produces   a   very   good   wine   but   he   found   that   the   beer   was   rubbish. The   food   was   very seasonal;   bread,   butter   and   milk   had   to   be   queued   for.   Diplomats   and   party   members   were   given privileges   but   unless   you   joined   the   system   life   was   very   hard   as   a   “carrot   and   stick”   approach   was used.   Dining   out   in   Bulgaria   was   a   very   basic   experience   but   the   Bulgarians   are   very   hospitable.   Winters   are   long   and   cold   with   snow   for   many   weeks   and   in   Sofia   especially   very   long   periods   of freezing fog.  This   was   Bulgaria   in   the   1970s   but   on   revisiting   two   years   ago   they   found   that   the   country   had changed beyond all recognition - with no armed soldiers and police in evidence any more.                                           Gordon Cartwright gave a vote of thanks
Top of the page Top of the page Top of the page Top of the page Top of the page Top of the page Top of the page Top of the page
April 12th Mike Chatterton; “A Tale of 2 Lancs” Mike,   a   recently   retired   RAF   pilot,   presented   his   talk   with   the   help   of   photos   and   short   video   clips   of some   of   his   favourite   moments   flying   the   RAF   Battle   of   Britain   Memorial   Flight’s   Lancaster    bomber between   1989   and   1997.      He   has   also   taxied   the   privately   owned   Lancaster   at   the   Aviation   Centre   at East Kirkby. Having   been   an   air   cadet   at   Horncastle,   he   graduated   from university   as   an   agricultural   engineer.   Joining   the   RAF,   he started    his    training    on    Chipmunks    at    Cranwell.   Then    he volunteered    to    fly    the    Shackleton    early    warning    aircraft before   moving   on   to   the   more   up   to   date   Nimrod.   In   2003   he was stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. He   was   asked   to   fly   the   Lancaster   from   Coningsby   as   part of    a    memorial    flypast.    His    father    had    flown    a    Lancaster during   WWII,   and   he   was   eager   to   follow   in   his   footsteps. He   was   later   promoted   from   co-pilot   to   pilot.      As   part   of   VE and   VJ   Day   celebrations   in   May   1995   the   VE   Day   flypast left   from   RAF   Northolt.   Photos   were   shown   taken   by   the rear    gunner    as    they    flew    over    Buckingham    Palace    to commemorate   all   the   crews   lost   in   the   war.   As   a   sign   of reconciliation   they   were   escorted   by   two   ME109   German fighter   aircraft.   VJ   Day   1995   was   marked   with   a   two   minute silence   and   a   video   was   shown   of   the   Lancaster   flypast   as   it   dropped   one   million   poppies   over   the   Mall and    Buckingham    Palace.    They    also    flew    to    the    Channel    Islands    as    part    of    their    liberation commemoration celebrations using a Lancaster and a Dakota. Videos   were   shown   of   East   Kirkby,   The   Aviation   Centre,   from   its   formation   as   an   airfield   in   WW2   to present   day.      It   is   privately   owned   by   the   Panton   brothers   who   also   own   the   Lancaster   and   provide   an experience   in   a   Lancaster   by   taxiing   along   the   runway   but   one   day   they   hope   to   make   it   airworthy   as there are only two remaining airworthy Lancasters in the World. Gordon Cartwright gave a vote of thanks
Top of the page Top of the page
10th May Philip Eldridge:   Lincolnshire Railways A   most   interesting   talk   given   by   Philip   Eldridge   from Linc's    Wolds    Railway    Society.    Thirty    two    members attended. Philip   began   by   explaining   how   railways   assisted   the growth    of    agriculture,    industry    and    fishing.    Railways also   made   it   possible   for   the   settlement   and   growth   of holiday    towns    such    as    Cleethorpes,    Skegness    and Sutton-on    Sea.    Many    period    photographs    of    mainly long   forgotten   stations,   engines   and   rolling   stock   were shown, bringing back memories to many members. The   final   part   of   the   talk   illustrated   the   hugh   impact   the railway    into    Skegness    had ,    bringing    thousands    of    day    trippers    to    the    resort,    Kings    Cross    to Skegness being a little over three hours travelling time. If only that were possible now!  The vote of thanks was given by the President.
24th May Neil Watson: Boston Fairground Heritage from 1850 – 1920 Neil   began   with   a   brief   history   of   his   personal   involvement   in   stage   and   pantomime   productions   in   the local area. Boston   was   granted   a   Royal   Charter   by   Henry   VIII   and   became   a   major   venue   for   travelling   fairs   due   to it’s    location    as    a    major    port    and    crossroads.The    fair attracted   huge   crowds   in   1850   when   the   railway   arrived.     About     6000     people     travelled     from     places     such     as Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield. On    West    Street    Punch    and    Judy    shows,    jugglers    and acrobats    were    all    touting    for    money.        Slides    of    early photographs    of    West    Street    and    Town    Square    showed hand operated rides. In   the   late   1800s   the   fair   included   a   travelling   menagerie   of about    20    wagons    full    of    animals    (elephants,    horses, camels,    lions,    Bengal    tigers,    monkeys    and    gorillas).       A travelling    theatre    called    Peppers    Ghost    Show    used    a combination    of    candles    and    a    large    section    of    glass    to produce    shadowy    ghostly    figures.        Also,    a    travelling waxworks depicted notable figures of the era. All   the   shows   had   an   elaborate   frontage   with   live   music   and   dancing   girls   and   some   of   the   first   boxing tournaments   were   held   alongside   helter   skelter   rides,   coconut   shies   and   shooting   galleries   -   Asplands travelling rifle range that used live ammunition! The   first   fairground   rides   were   made   by   an   agricultural   engineer   called   Fred   Savage   using      bicycles operated   by   pedal   power.      He   then   introduced   a   steam   engine   to   power   later   rides   such   as   rocking   boats called “Sea on Land” and also introduced a ride called “The Riding School”. Finally   film   footage   was   shown   entitled   “The   Way   We   Were   on   Holiday”    depicting   scenes   of   east   coast attractions.                                       Gordon Cartwright gave a vote of thanks
Top of the page Top of the page