RAF East Kirkby
RAF East Kirkby opened in East Kirkby, Lincolnshire on the 20th August 1943 as a Bomber Command Station. It was initially home to 57 Squadron (RAF) and 630 Squadron (RAF).
The last wartime raid from East Kirkby was on 25 April 1945. 212 operations were carried out from the airfield. During this time 121 Lancasters failed to return. Another 29 were lost in operational crashes/accidents. 630 Squadron disbanded in July that year and its place was taken by 460 Squadron (Australian).
The station closed in 1958 and is now home to a small air museum, the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, run by two farmers, the Panton Brothers, whose prize exhibit is Avro Lancaster Mk VII NX611 "Just Jane", which is now fully restored in memory of their brother who was killed on a wartime bombing mission.
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Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.