Caught by the River

Thankful Villages Vol. 2 #9

Darren Hayman | 22nd September 2017

Darren Hayman is back, with a second volume of songs resulting from his Thankful Villages project. The ninth village is Wigsley, Nottinghamshire.

During World War 2 Wigsley was home to an RAF airfield. It was nicknamed the ‘Cemetery of Lights’ due to its terrible luck.

On 11th June 1943, a Lancaster bomber was on a training mission when it’s wing tip clipped a telegraph pole and crashed into number 25 Highfield Avenue in nearby Lincoln. Five civilians died and all but one of the seven crew.

The airfield and control tower are still there. The control tower is forlorn and broken and covered in spray paint. What was the runway is now the main road into Wigsley.

A nearby wind turbine thrums gently and makes me think of propellers. I imagine someone in the tower with binoculars counting the planes out and then counting them back in again.

It’s been more than half a century since the building was in use. I wondered what else it’s walls had seen since then.

A subtitle for these songs might be ‘could I live here?’ It’s usually what I think as I drive away from the villages back to London.

About a year later I found the derelict control tower for sale. I could probably have afforded it at a stretch, though probably not the money to make it habitable.

Could I live there?


Thankful Villages Vol.2
is out now on Rivertones. You can buy a copy here, or listen on Spotify.

Previous Thankful Villages posts on Caught by the River/ Darren Hayman on Twitter

Darren is playing a Thankful Villages show in London this weekend. Catch him on Sunday at
Come Down and Meet the Folks, The Apple Tree, 45 Mount Pleasant, WC1X 0AE
The event runs from 4pm to 9pm, Darren will be on about 7 pm