Held in the grounds of the Hylands Estate in Chelmsford, Essex, this event offered everything dad would enjoy on a day out; a Spitfire, a Hurricane, motorbike stunts, monster trucks and ……. other eye candy! The aviation aspect of the event involved Peter Teichman displaying both his Hangar 11 Hurricane and Spitfire from nearby North Weald airfield. He had hoped to land in front of Hylands House on a specially prepared landing strip but the wind was in the wrong direction. Peter arrived overhead in Hurricane ‘Pegs’ in the morning to display, following which he took a look at the situation before deciding on the safety of North Weald.
He then arrived by road and took the stage to inform the public of his decision. He later returned to display in the Spitfire XI.
There were plenty of other attractions for dad and families, though once again the weather could have been better and probably reduced the numbers attending.
It is hoped that the runway may be used for flying events in the future.
Having passed over Buckingham Palace as part of the Queen’s Birthday Flypast (see below) the Red Arrows went on to land at ‘London’ Biggin Hill Airport in preparation for their part in the Festival of Flight, a welcome return of a public airshow at this historic ex-RAF airfield. Limited to 15,000 advance purchased tickets – all sold – the day saw three sections of display flying interspersed with ground attractions, culminating in an evening display by the Reds. Upon completion of their display the team were joined by Paul Bonhomme in the Old Flying Machine Company’s Spitfire IX MH434, once owned and flown so perfectly by the late, great Ray Hanna. Ray used to close the old Biggin Hill Air Fairs with inimitable displays in the Spitfire and was also a member of the first Red Arrows team of 1965, taking the position as Red 1 the following year.
The following is a photographic overview of the day.
The Red Arrows being introduced to the audience and receiving, and giving, a number of awards:
(Large scale flying models!)
The images below cover the Trooping the Colour procession passing along The Mall near Buckingham Palace to and from Horse Guards, followed by the Queen’s Birthday Flypast. Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies on Horse Guards Parade. It has been a tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, although the roots go back much earlier. On battlefields, a regiment’s colours, or flags, were used as rallying points. Since 1748 Trooping the Colour has also marked the official birthday of the British sovereign.The Colour being paraded on Horse Guards this year was the flag of Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards.
The weather for the whole event was sadly cloudy and dull, which particularly affected the flypast photographs.
The Red Arrows proceeded to land at Biggin Hill for their Festival of Flight and Red’s fiftieth display anniversary event – coverage of which will follow……
A memorial service was held at the Civic War Memorial on the Lee-on-the-Solent seafront in the evening of 3 June to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of D-Day – one of many such events each side of the Channel. The Memorial is located just a few hundred yards from HMS Daedalus, an airfield which played a major part in the embarkation of troops for ‘Operation Overlord’. Much of the local area became a launch point for the huge military operation – both airborne and seaborne. A record 435 sorties operated from the airfield on D-Day itself, with aircraft from the RAF, FAA, USAAF, USN, SAAF, RAAF and RCN working around the clock.
The Service was followed by flypasts from a number of aircraft representing some of those air arms, themselves flying out of the same airfield. Additional aircraft had gathered at Lee – including a eight C-47 Dakotas/Skytrains – and would depart the following day for mainland Europe and further commemorations and troop-dropping re-enactments. A number of those crews and ‘troops’ attended the Service, alongside veterans and local dignitaries.
The weather for the service was luckily better than forecast, though the timing of the flypasts coincided with a tall and threatening front moving in from the west which blocked out the light, making photography awkward.
A planned poppy-drop by C-47 ‘Union Jack Dak’ when passing the memorial met with a slight technical difficulty which sadly caused the petals to fall beyond the intended dropping point. This Skytrain is a D-Day veteran, having departed in the early hours of 6 June 1944 heading for Normandy towing a Waco glider.
Those onboard in 1944 – and the tens of thousands of other brave souls airborne at that time – were spearheading the Allied attack on ‘Fortress Europe’, from which they might not return.
‘Lest we Forget’
The season-opening airshow at the old RAF base in Oxfordshire (now Dalton Barracks) is always an incredible achievement by the small volunteer team, and held in aid of the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust. The 2014 event suffered slightly from a few cancellations, but still managed to deliver a great show. The following is a pictorial record of the weekend, including the practices and arrivals on the Saturday 3 May and that evening’s night-shoot, which itself generated a very a welcome boost to the charity’s total.