AN ex-RAF Yatesbury station officer who served from 1952 for three years, has kindly donated a miniature railway model of the Calne Flyer to the Calne Heritage Centre.

83-year-old Douglas Bennison, from Basingstoke, made a special trip up to Calne on Tuesday, November 21, where he spent a key part of his teenage years, to donate a model of the Calne Flyer, which was heavily used by RAF Yatesbury servicemen between Calne and Chippenham.

Mr Bennison, said: “I was stationed at Compton Bassett from 1952, and I had been living in London with my family so the Calne Flyer was used regularly by me in the three years I was stationed at Compton Bassett. I was a regular commuter.

“I’m a member of the RAF Yatesbury Association, and we meet every August at Compton Bassett, so I decided I would donate the little model railway that I built to the heritage centre.

“It regenerates me and is nostalgic. I come back here because it takes me back to my pals and it takes me back to when I was 18 and 19-years-old, and sadly a lot of those pals are no longer with us.”

As well as the miniature model of the Calne Flyer, Mr Bennison has also donated tank engines pulling two Harris’ goods wagons, and an OO gauge Castle 4-6-0 locomotive, to the delight of the Calne Heritage Centre.

“Douglas would be very pleased to have found them a rightful home”, David Harris, trustee at the centre, said. “He thought his models might make an interesting display at the Centre and indeed would certainly interest the older generation at Calne who used the six mile branch line. The Heritage Centre is thrilled to receive the beautifully made gifts which will is exhibited in front of the photographic display boards depicting the Calne branch railway around that time.”

Sue Boddington, curator of Calne Heritage Centre, said: “It’s good to get donations, especially ones that mean so much to people. Douglas was only 18 when he came here, he felt he grew up while he was in Calne and he has very affectionate memories of us as a town. There was no other stations near the camp, so Calne was their way of getting to the outside world. From Chippenham you could go anywhere.”