Story of Hawes bootmaker who became RAF balloonist recounted in museum magazine

Photo: Flt Lt Doug Grainger in a balloon basket.

The adventures of a Hawes bootmaker high over the front lines during First World War feature in the latest edition of Now Then, the annual magazine of the Friends of the Dales Countryside Museum.

Doug Grainger was 20-years-old when he had to bail out of a balloon basket and drift down among anti-aircraft shells and machine-gun bullets.

As an RAF balloonist, he had other narrow escapes which he described in his memoir written after he returned to work at the family’s boot and shoe making business in Hawes.

This memoir, of which there is an abridged version in the magazine,  is one of many fascinating stories recorded in the Norah Worth archive at the museum.

In the magazine there is also the story of how Norah Worth in 1974 began collecting her extensive archive of press cuttings and information about Hawes.

A new collection of material donated to the museum led to another fascinating story, telling how Joseph W G Smith founded not only Aysgarth TB Sanatorium in 1917 but also developed an internationally renowned hackney horse stud based in that village.

Among the other interesting features in the magazine there are photographs of peat cutting at Hag Dyke near Kettlewell up to the 1930s, and a tour of milestones in Upper Wensleydale.

The magazine costs £4 and is available from Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes.