OXFORDSHIRE’S involvement with conflicts in the skies will be celebrated at a new exhibition in Woodstock.

Above The Dreaming Spires – Oxfordshire’s Great War Aviation Story will be unveiled in August to mark the longstanding links between the county and military aviation.

The exhibition at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum will chronicle how the battles in the air during the First World War affected the area and trace their impact on individuals and families.

Hollywood film director Sir Peter Jackson has agreed to provide his short 2008 film Crossing the Line as part of the education programme for the exhibition.

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The film centres on two young soldiers in the war who are about to go into battle.

Both have comforting reminders of home.

One is an infantryman who clutches a photograph of his lover, while the other is a pilot who carefully tucks a teddy bear into a safe place in the cockpit of his biplane.

Ursula Corcoran, director of Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, said: “The exhibition will highlight the important role of training in making air power a reality and how this transformed the landscape, while bringing economic and social change.

“Airfields and depots sprung up at Bicester, Milton, Port Meadow, Upper Heyford, Weston-on-the-Green and Witney.

“Ground training was undertaken at Henley as well as Christ Church and Merton colleges.

“Oxfordshire’s Home Front played an important part in sustaining the air war on the Western Front and the creation of the Royal Air Force, a pattern that would be repeated on an even larger scale during the Second World War.”

The museum now wants to hear from Oxfordshire people who have a personal or family connections with early military aviation or who have stories, documents and photographs about military aviation in Oxfordshire that they would be willing to share.

  • To offer information, photos or artefacts contact Ursula Corcoran at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum on 01993 810 212 or email airpowerteam@sofo.org.uk