The Shoreham Airshow raises funds for the RAF Association and 2014’s bumper crowd will have been highly beneficial to the charity. Many will have come to see the Canadian Lancaster which was sadly grounded with engine problems but the show delivered plenty to keep everyone happy. The customary Battle of Britain set-piece gave way to a 70th anniversary D-Day commemoration with an enacted invasion of the airfield featuring two Dakotas (avoiding the ‘flak’) and a variety of fighters.
The following illustrates a selection of the variety on offer at this popular event:
A somewhat delayed photographic look at the D-Day anniversary show at Duxford in May. The event focused on representative aircraft covering all of the aspects of the invasion, including a precious few that were actually involved seventy years ago. Modern sport gliders substituted for the troop carriers of the war, but otherwise the display consisted of examples of types from the period plus modern aircraft with links to those involved. A number of aircraft have had invasion stripes applied for the commemorations, with those on the Grace Spitfire ML407 purposely painted in an accurately rough fashion typical of the time.
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’