Saturday, June 17, 2006

The last two WW2 Lancasters

Today, the 17th of June 2006, was HM The Queen's 80th official birthday and as part of the the Trooping of the Colour ceremony there was a flypast over Buckingham Palace. Included in the flypast was a Lancaster bomber and the commentator told us that there were now only two of such planes that still flew.

I was reminded that in September 1996 when I attended a 166 Sdrn Re-union in Hull to meet friends of my late brother Jack, all present were honoured by a fly-over of the Kirmington village by one of these very Lancasters and I captured the scene above.

I was never an RAF man but in company with all of us who were there that day I felt this enormous emotion as the plane roared overhead.

Half of all the planes of Bomber Command that flew from wartime Britain were never to return.

We will remember them


Blogger Peter G said...

I am very lucky, Ron, in that I live fairly close to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

I have visited RAF Coningsby several times and at least twice a month that Lancaster, PA474, flies over my house escorted by a Spitfire and a Hurricane, both at Coningsby, on their way to shows or just training. Always an inspiring sight.

I have also attended a lecture at Lincoln University by the current Lancaster pilot - his father flew Lancasters during the war. He told a marvellous story of flying down the Mall to drop poppy leaves for which they were highly praised for pin-point accuracy, but unbeknown to the media and public quite a few things went wrong including nearly falling off the platform. :)

Saturday, 17 June, 2006  
Blogger Tomcann said...

You are all very lucky to still reside in the U.K. at times such as these to see and hear all the pageantry and the memories of times past. We shall be very lucky to have a 30 second "blurb" with H.M. The Queen arriving at the saluting base for the trooping
and the fly past. Then it will be back to inevitable "Hockey Night In Canada" - which to-day is causing great concern as the Canadian Football(sic) season also kicks off leaving the World Cup of the Beautiful game in the shadows.
I can well understand the emotions raised by the fly past of the Lancaster as we had a three day visit of one - many years ago in Kelowna and I was astonished at the amount of people who just stood and stared before filing through the empty plane.The benevolent fund did very well on that trip !

When she took off and circled the City - it was emotional to hear once more those four great engines throbbing, which can never be replaced by the whines of to-day's jet engines.

Saturday, 17 June, 2006  
Blogger Frank Mee said...

Last Year the Flight did the Sunderland Air Display flying from Teesside or (Durham Tees Valley) where ever that may be I still know it as Goosepool.
The flight path goes straight over us as they let down or take off.
I was in the house when I heard those engines and the hairs stood up on my neck, it is something you never forget after watching them take off so many times during the war.
Rushing outside I had the privilege of a fligh past at low level as they circled the area then came in to land.
The Lancaster Hurricane and Spitfire.
I was out there when they flew up to Sunderland and saw them come back and then take off for home.
A wonderful sight and the sound is music to the ears after the noisy jets.
Long may they fly.

Sunday, 18 June, 2006  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Once again, very interesting Ron, and you managed to take a photo!

A few years ago, some people I met in the Netherlands told me that during the war they used to listen for the sound of the Allied Bombers going overhead on the way to or from Germany. The sound of these Bombers, and the speeches of Winston Churchill they heard on the radio, meant they still had hope that one day they would again be free. These things have been largely forgotten about in Britain these days.

By coincidence, at the moment I have been loaned the logbook of Squadron Leader Jack Blair DFC DFM, a Rear Gunner on the Lancaster Bombers. It has been loaned to me by his son. This logbook details all the training and every flight (where to, who the pilots were etc) from 1940 until his death during a mission in May 1944. It is a very interseting document. I've been given permission by the family to copy the details in the logbook, which I am going to donate with copies of photographs and the "People's War" stories I've written to the Cumbria County Archives. There may come a time when other researchers would like to know about these things. At least there will then be a record available somewhere.

Peter, do you know of a Museum at a former WW2 Airfield at East Kirkby, Lincolnshire? Apparently there is information about Jack Blair at this Museum, donated by another researcher.

International sport is a fine thing to engender friendship between people of different nations. At the moment, however, there seems to be an overkill on the World Cup ('Soccer' in North America) to the virtual exclusion of everything else! There has been comparatively little coverage about the Queen's 'Official' Birthday, Trooping of the Colour, or any real serious items. The Trooping of the Colour and Queen's Official Birthday were on TV and the News, but not as much as the World Cup in Germany. So it is not just in Canada where the Trooping of the Colour gets little coverage.

Sunday, 18 June, 2006  
Blogger Peter G said...


RAF East Kirkby was closed in 1958 and disposed of in 1970. You will find its history here.

It is now the home of the Lincolnshire Aviation Centre.

Lancaster NX611 Just Jane is housed there, fully restored but licensed for tarmac taxiing only.

Sunday, 18 June, 2006  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Thanks once again, Peter. Once again you are the master provider of information. I have relatives in Lincolnshire, so I might try and visit the Museum when I go to see them. .

It takes a lot of enthusiasm, and even more hard work to run a Museum and attempt a preservation like they have done at Lincolnshire Aviation Centre. They have done a fine job there and its an excellent website.

Last year I visited RAF Millom Museum (SW Cumbria) largely run by enthusiasts but with some really interesting and original material. Unfortunately, these places don't always get a lot of funding or support from Local or Central Government. RAF Millom Museum might have to move much of its collection to Morecambe, about 3/4 hour away by car because of this reason.

Monday, 19 June, 2006  

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