Are you sitting comfortably?


Another item with no proven connection to Guy Gibson, 617 Squadron or RAF Scampton has emerged for sale on eBay. According to the seller, this is:

An office chair as used by Guy Gibson in his office at Scampton in World War 2 . The special design was used only by senior RAF Officers in World War 2 and in Air Ministers offices . Designed by Edward Barnsley originally for the 1936 Coronation , and referred to as ” The Coronation Chair ” .Production was very limited and not many have survived after 75 years . The chair is made from solid oak with mortice and tennon joints throughout , is very sturdy and original finish of waxed oak revived . The chair is stamped with a crown and coronation and has been professionally re upholstered in olive hide .Check on the Guy Gibson office website and The Dambusters film for provenance  .
[Spelling etc as in original]

The chair itself may well be a genuine “Coronation Chair”, and therefore worth a small amount of money. But there is no evidence at all that this was ever at RAF Scampton, let alone used by Guy Gibson or anyone else based there. The seller has tried to claims it is “as used” by Gibson – rather than saying it was definitely there – but then in the headline, states that it is a “Guy Gibson office chair”.
Their statement is based on the modern day refurbishment of the office at Scampton, which can be seen in the picture below, and which features a chair of a similar pattern. However, none of the people involved in the refurbishment have ever claimed that the furniture in the reconstructed office is definitively the same as that used in wartime.


Pic: Ross Corbett

The only picture taken of Guy Gibson in his office at Scampton was this well known photograph of him and David Maltby, taken in July 1943:

IWM TR1122

Pic: IWM TR1122

Note that in this picture Gibson is leaning slightly to his right, and his left arm may therefore be on the armrest of the chair (although it is difficult to be certain of this). If the chair had a light-coloured wooden arm, this would probably be visible. However, nothing can be seen here.
In summary, we can say again that even if the chair is a genuine 1936 pattern, it is wishful thinking that it has any connection to Gibson or RAF Scampton. Once more we must caution, buyer beware!
(If, however, you are reading this after 5pm on Monday 31 October 2016, the chair may have already have been sold.)
Thanks to Nigel Favill for information.

Dambusters remake shoved to back of the queue, again


The good news: once again, Peter Jackson has indicated that his remake of the classic 1955 film, The Dam Busters, is still an ongoing project. The bad news: it has been shunted to the back of the production queue by what sounds like another interminable series of fantasy fiction films.

WingNut Films [will] be producing a feature film based on Philip Reeve’s book Mortal Engines, to be directed by Christian Rivers. The script has been written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and myself.
Some of you may recall that Christian was going to direct the Dambusters a few years back. Since then he’s kept himself busy, making short films, and directing Second Units on The Hobbit and Pete’s Dragon.
Our involvement in Mortal Engines actually pre-dates Dambusters (which is still happening) – Christian actually worked on Mortal Engines previs [sic] way back in 2009. It’s very exciting to finally get it underway!

This is obviously great news for the writer of Mortal Engines, Philip Reeves. There are four books in this series, and adapting and filming them will keep much of the New Zealand movie industry busy for years to come. But it does mean that the chance of the Dambusters remake hitting the screens anytime in this decade becomes more and more remote.
Jackson obviously included the four words in parentheses above in his statement (‘which is still happening’) to forestall the questions he would inevitably be asked by Dambuster enthusiasts. But if it is ‘still happening’, would he like to give us an update? A comment below would be appreciated.
[Hat tip: Graeme Stevenson]
UPDATE: More about this from the Waikato Times in New Zealand.