The Great Escape Picnic - 1st July 2023

The Great Escape Picnic

Private Event for former Dowty Employees and their families

To recognise the contribution by Sir George Dowty and former employees, Gloucestershire Ministry of Defence and Police have extended an opportunity to former employees and their families to attend a private event at Cotswold Airport (GL7 6BA) on:
Saturday 1st July between 10:00 – 1600

The site, formally RAF Kemble, is now a civilian operational airfield with various aero attractions and café (AV8), but in partnership with the airport it will be closed to the public on this day for this private event.

A number of period aircraft will be on static display or flying through, including a representative of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) with a strong Dowty connection. We will also be joined by a number of vintage and classic cars and representatives from Gloucestershire Community Networking who present tutorials in costume and displays from both World Wars. A MOD history team will also present artifacts of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), stories and covert activities from behind the lines.

Gloucestershire Police will display; firearms response unit, vehicles from their traffic division, and hopefully some of their mounted section.

This is the third event of its kind to be hosted at Cotswold Airport, where the organisers aim is to provide a safe family day at a very reasonable price.
Adult (with food package) £30
Adult without food package, £20
Child (7 -16 yrs.) with food package, £20
Child without food package £10
Infant <7yrs free entry.

The food package is a deal offered through the on-site AV8 café, consisting of either a beef, lamb or haloumi burger, chips + cold soft drink. An alternative food vendor will be available, or you can bring your own picnic.

Live music, incl progressive rock, a local brass band and on piano an Ex Dowty-apprentice who, in WW2, played in the works canteen. Also available, award-winning Cotswold Ale at a very competitive price.

By all concerned, this represents a great family day, something for everyone, for two nominated charities, SSAFA and Combat Stress

A charity raffle with fantastic prizes, incl flight experiences, is also supporting this day. Tickets for this are available at £1 each. The flight experiences will be drawn a week in advance in order to notify and dress accordingly. Tickets will also be available on the day for the rest of the prizes (too many to mention).

Tickets are limited and interest will be strong so don’t leave it too long to make up your mind and request tickets.

We trust the attached is self explanatory.

If you have any questions or wish to purchase tickets please contact either:

Will Mundy

Mobile: +44 7846488420
Landline: 01242 239746


Martin Robins
O1666 837747

Mat Fuller

Comments about this page

  • 1 There is to be a final briefing meeting with the authorities regarding the Great Picnic event at Cotswold Airport on the 13 June . Detail instructions will be sent on the 14 th June to all Dowty attendees.

    2 Dowty attendees have now reached the 200 level – the organisers have indicated that they will allow a limited number more.

    3 The Dowty presence will be significant. Dowty are providing three Hughes helicopters with crews in old style MOD flying suits. They are also providing a flight of Chipmunks, a Boeing Stearman and a Bulldog. There will be a considerable display of Dowty memorabilia in the Second World War tent including Sir George Dowty’s 1931 drill. There is to be a compulsory ( for Dowty attendees) sing along with a gentlemen on the keyboard who first performed the songs being sung in the early years of the last war – in the Dowty canteen!

    4 The first Dowty Chairman A W Martyn -who served from 1935 to 1947 – drove a Daimler 45 equipped with a London bus engine . It is hoped to have a similar model on display . A W ‘s grandson – the author of the definitive history of H W Martyn called The Best- is attending and can recount his memory of Mr George Dowty driving him through Cheltenham during the last war in his huge American car – at the London Road beyond Cheltenham

    5 In the early years of the Dowty business the Canadian activity was significant- about half of the total- a representative from the Canadian business is attending the event.

    6 This event will be the most significant Dowty event since the TI acquisition in 1992.
    Prayers are needed for good weather at 1.45 pm on the day to crown this most remarkable of days in the amazing Dowty story – 92 years after the great adventure began. If the weather is good at this time the organisers can assure all attendees there will be a spine chilling moment never to be forgotten.

    Martin Robins

    By John Redfern (26/05/2023)

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