Battery Charge: Hear ace First World War pilot’s story at Hartlepool’s Heugh Battery Museum
Visitors to a Hartlepool museum can learn all about a decorated North East fighter pilot when a replica of a First World War aeroplane touches down this weekend.
The Headland’s Heugh Battery Museum, which needs to raise at least £5,000 in the next few weeks in order to remain open, will welcome a full-size replica of a Morane Saulnier ‘Bullet’ plane on Sunday.
It is being brought by the North East Land Sea and Air Museum at Washington which has been made as a tribute to Sunderland pilot Claude Alward Ridley who flew Moranes during the First World War.
Diane Stephens, manager of Heugh Battery Museum, said: “Our friends from the North East Land Sea and Air Museum are bringing a full-size replica of a Morane Saulnier Type N ‘Bullet’ to the Heugh Battery Museum.
“They will be on hand to tell the story of Claude Alward Ridley DSO, MC, who was a pilot from Sunderland and flew Moranes during World War One.
“It is a fantastic replica built by the volunteers who will be here to show it.”
Ridley won a Military Medal and Distinguished Service Order for gallantry by risked his life multiple times to fly spies into German-occupied territory at night, and he helped bring down enemy Zeppelin aircraft.
At the age of just 19 he was given command of his own squadron.
The plane will be on show from noon until 4pm.
Visitors will also be able to try their hand at archery at the same time, as the Heugh Bowmen Archery group will also be on site.
It is just 50p to fire six arrows, with all proceeds going to the museum.
Diane added: “We are very much looking forward to it and really hope people will come and support us on the day.”
Museum bosses and supporters are holding a host of events in the next couple of months to try to safeguard its future.
The Mail is backing the efforts through our Battery Charge campaign.
Admission charges to the museum in Moor Terrace are adults £6, children aged 5–15 £4, children under five free, concessions £4 and a family ticket (two adults and two children) is £17.50.