On Battle of Britain Day 2015 a flypast of 33 aircraft took off from Goodwood Aerodrome to mark the 75th anniversary of that historic event. Wartime Hurricane and Spitfire pilot Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC, AFC, AE, who is 95, led the formation from the rear seat of a two seat Spitfire in the first group of four – ‘white section’. Tom was joined in the air by Cpl Alan Robinson and Nathan Forster, two wounded servicemen backed by the Spitfire Scholarship in partnership with The Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund, which Prince Harry launched in 2014, and who also attended. Prince Harry was due to also be a passenger in a two-seat Spitfire but unfortunately was unable to do so due to a technical issue with one of the aircraft.
Over 30,000 people attended the event inside the airfield with many thousands more viewing from the surrounding hillsides and on the routes taken as the sections (detailed below) ‘patrolled’ various locations around the south of England with historical links to the battle.
Most of the aircraft taking part in the flypast were already on the aerodrome having taken part in the weekend’s Goodwood Revival (see Goodwood Revival), with the remainder arriving in the morning.
The participating aircraft were:
White P7350, SM520, PV202, AB910
Red MK356, PZ865, LF363, TE311
Green R4118, PL965
Blue TD248, MV268, JT-10
Orange X4650, ML407, PP972
Yellow L6739, MH434, P7308, EP120
Purple TD314, N3200, BM597, P3700
Pink SX336 (should also have had RR232 but this aborted its take-off)
Brown TA805, P2921, TE184
Black AG224, 3W-17, MT928
RR232 did manage to take off at the back, and P-51 Mustang KH774 also followed as camera-ship