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Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
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The following users give thanks for this topic 109Driver4Life - Sun Aug 29, 2010 07:04 AM
Blitz
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Post Post subject: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 09:52 PM
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Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again
Fourteen Battle of Britain veterans are taking to the skies in a special memorial flight.

A chartered airliner is flying over parts of England and the English channel that saw some of the fiercest aerial combats.

The British Airways Airbus is being accompanied for part of the way by a Spitfire and Hurricane from the period.

“This is going to be real pleasure, a great day”

Said William Walker ,Spitfire fighter pilot.

The battle for air supremacy between the RAF and the Luftwaffe in 1940 was a decisive chapter in World War II.

The daily dogfights in the skies of southern England saved Britain and averted a German invasion.

Important battle

Bill Bond, of the Battle of Britain Historical Society, who organised the two-hour flight, said that with just a few remaining veterans still alive he wanted to mark the 70th anniversary celebrations with "something a bit special".

He told the BBC that with the Hurricane and Spitfire flying alongside the British Airways Airbus, it "would be the first time that any of the veterans had flown in formation since the end of the war".

One of the veterans, Wing Commander Bob Foster, said the flight was an important reminder to those who were not born at the time as it "would bring home to (them) what happened way back 70 years ago".

"This is what we trying to get over to the younger generation, the importance of the battle fought then."

'Wonderful flight'

Flight Lieutenant William Walker, the eldest of the veterans who was shot down by a German fighter plane over the Channel, said the flight was going to be a "real pleasure".

Speaking before boarding the plane, he said: "This wonderful flight with a few friends who I flew with is going to be a great day.

"I've just had my 97th birthday and this is going to be like having an additional birthday celebration."

The plane, which is also carrying 15 widows of Battle of Britain pilots, will fly across the Home Counties, the Isle of Wight, northern France, the Netherlands and parts of the North Sea.

These areas were the main arenas of the Battle of Britain. It was over the English channel that Flt Lt Walker was shot down in 1940.

Bailed out

Based at an airbase in Surrey, Flt Lt Walker was often sent up two or three times a day. On one such mission he, along with two other planes, was scrambled to meet the enemy. They soon came under attack and his Spitfire was shot up by a Messerschmitt 109, the main German fighter plane.

"My leader was shot down and badly burnt, my number two was killed and I got a bullet in my leg and my plane was shot to pieces. I bailed out at 20,000 ft," he recalled.

As he gently descended he removed his boots, blew up his Mae West life jacket and landed in the water close to a wreck on the Goodwin Sands just off the Kent coast.

He was rescued by a fishing boat and taken to Ramsgate, where he was met by a crowd.

"They cheered as I came ashore and a dear old lady gave me a cup of tea," he said.

Suffering from hypothermia, he was taken to hospital where he underwent an operation to remove a bullet from his ankle. When he woke up, a doctor was by his side.

"He had a bullet in his hand and told me that when the surgeon prised it out of my ankle it flew out and hit the ceiling. He gave it to me and I still have it as a treasured possession," he told the BBC.


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Rodeschild
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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 09:55 PM
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70 years ago...wow.

It will be nice for them to see the machines that they flew in the battle and fly in formation one more time. Wink

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Kurfurst
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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:10 PM
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This is fantastic, hope the boys have a wonderful day. Thank you

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DoktorWho
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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 06:43 AM
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Kurfurst wrote:
This is fantastic, hope the boys have a wonderful day. Thank you

Ditto to that. Thanks very much for the post. DW

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109Driver4Life
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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 07:04 AM
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Hope they have a great time.

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PeterPanPan
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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 07:33 PM
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Fantastic. Thanks for the post. When is this happening?

PPanPan


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Blitz
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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 06:47 PM
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It was as far as I know flown on the 28th.


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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 07:40 PM
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Thanks Blitz. BTW, is that pic real? Looks too good to be true!

PPanPan


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Blitz
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Post Post subject: Re: Battle of Britain veterans take to the skies again...
Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 07:56 PM
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www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11120357

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