Memorial Details

NEWMP Memorial Image
Photo: Charles Lutman


Aircraft sculpture RAF Morpeth 1939-45 St. Mary’s Inn





Present Location

Outside St. Mary's Public House, Stannington

Which war


Dedication, Creation or Publication date

Installed in time for Armistice Day 2016

Memorial Description

Model Spitfire in skeleton format, with 16 feet wing span, made to scale. Beside it is a plaque giving the story.


3mm steel with industrial coating.



Sculptor, Artist or Designer

Robert Lutman


1. The maker of the model, Charles Lutman, is grandson to the man who founded the first model shop in the world in Newcastle in 1924. Scaled-up plans of models sold in the shop were used to create this memorial model.

2. The firm supplied the air ministry with balsa wood and have an association with the Supermarine Spitfire. Their materials were used to make the wind tunnel test models.

3. There was no formal dedication of the memorial as such, but after the Remembrance Day service the Bishop from St. Mary’s at Mitford was asked to say a few words.

4. The information board reads:

This memorial is dedicated to the airmen of RAF Morpeth.
The airfield initially housed No.4 Air Gunnery School (4AGS). Accommodation was in 10 dispersal sites to the north and east of the airfield near Tranwell village and the Whitehouse Centre (post-war this became a children’s hospital). The main aircraft used during its early existence for teaching air gunner was the unpopular Blackburn Both, which was very heavy and under-powered, often taking the whole of the runway to get airborne. Following several crashes and collisions, it was eventually replaced by the Avro Anson. Most of the air gunnery practice occurred offshore at Druridge Bay where several of the original wartime structures still exist at the National Trust site, and flew between Newbiggin by the Sea and Coquet Island near Amble.
Many of the airmen who flew here were Polish and several settled in the Morpeth area following the war. A large number of Polish casualties including airman from the airfield are buried in the graveyard of St.Mary’s Church, Morpeth.
Other units included
No.72 Squadron R.A.F.
No.80 (French) Operational Training Unit R.A.F.
No.261 Maintenance Unit R.A.F.
No.80 (French) Operational training Unit R.A.F. was formed in April 1945 at R.A.F. Morpeth to train French fighter pilots using the Supermarine Spitfire and Miles Master.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

5. Simon Glancey states: 80 Operational Training Unit at Morpeth was commanded by Commandant Christian Martell C.d.G. D.F.C., a French ace, who was killed in 1945 when his Spitfire suffered engine failure at R.A.F. Ouston. He is buried at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. His biography can be seen below.

6. RAF Stannington was used as an Officer and administration training centre in Northumberland. It was operational before RAF Morpeth at Tranwell.

7. The site became the St.Mary's Hospital Hospital for mentally ill patients. When it closed, the administration building was kept and part of it became St.Mary's Inn. The model was placed near here. The Inn closed in 2017. The model was removed by Mr. Lutman and is currently at his home. A new site is to be found where the aircraft will be secure and not accessible to those wishing to climb on it.

8 The former hospital site is being developed into a housing estate. The church which served the hospital still stands.

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Photos: Charles Lutman

Morpeth Herald 23/05/2013 carries a photo of a menu of a meal held at RAF Stannington in 1943. It is covered in signatures of those who attended.

External web link

Research acknowledgements

Robert Lutman

Research In Progress

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Aircraft sculpture RAF Morpeth 1939-45 St. Mary’s Inn (S52.06)

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Parish Notes

Every Name A Story