14 July 1995

Flying gallery open to all

THE print Down on the Farm, Battle of Britain 1940, from an oil painting by Frank Wootton, depicts the disruption of a harvest scene as a Spitfire brings down a Junkers 88, and is just one of the reminders in David Swans gallery of how close British farms and farm families came to the action during the Second World War as they went about their daily lives.

David has two galleries in redundant farm buildings at Harelaw, Chirnside, Berwick-shire, the arable and stock holding he farms with his son Stephen, and both are private collections of his memorabilia. One reflects his lifelong interest in motor-racing and includes a 2-litre Cooper racing car from the 1950s of the type he used to drive.

The other reflects his equally long interest in flying and his years of service with the RAF during which time he was stationed in the Middle East and Africa.

The walls of this loft-cum-gallery are hung with prints from war time paintings, like the one mentioned above. These pictures, which enthrall aircraft enthusiasts, are not only remarkable works in themselves but have the added poignancy of reminding the viewer that it was everyday people and everyday life that war took over – not supermen in celluloid.

People who recall the planes and the period, and enjoy chatting about them, will be particularly welcome at the farm this weekend (Sat, July 15 and Sun, July 16, 2-6pm each day) when David and his grandson Edward will open the "flying" gallery to the public as a personal celebration of the VE day anniversary and to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund. AR