Slightly late on duty!

A stirring set of pictures from the Queen’s Jubilee

At the end of June, pilot friend Bob Derham sent me an email which contained all of what follows.  I ‘filed’ it away and then forgot I had received it!  My apologies.  But as Europe was the subject of yesterday’s post, then maybe this can be seen as remaining on theme.  Enjoy.

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One last look back at those amazing Jubilee celebrations . . . as seen by the ‘Tail-end Charlie’ in Britain’s last airworthy Lancaster

Incredible footage has been released showing the bird’s eye view enjoyed by the crew aboard a Lancaster bomber flying over London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The aeroplane, which is part of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), flew in formation with aircraft including a Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota transport aircraft down The Mall, followed by the Red Arrows aerobatic team – to the delight of crowds and the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace below.

As well as preserving a fleet of priceless aircraft and keeping them in tip-top flying condition, the BBMF reminds the nation of the sacrifices made during World War Two.

Spectacular: The tail gunner’s view from the Lancaster bomber, as it completed the Diamond Jubilee flypast. Buckingham Palace Gardens can be seen behind the tail of a Hurricane fighter, also of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which flew in formation with the Lancaster
Final approach: Having lined up on The Mall, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster flies towards Buckingham Palace with St James’ Park on the left and Birdcage Walk beyond.
The nose of the Lancaster passes over the Memorial to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace.

The BBMF is based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire with many of its personnel, including pilots, acting as volunteers; the flight costs about £3m a year to run.

Squadron Leader Ian Smith, who is in charge of the BBMF, is the only permanent member, with all of the remaining pilots, navigators, air engineers and other crew coming from different airbases and ordinarily flying several different types of aircraft; from Typhoon fighters to the huge Hercules transport plane.

Cramped: The footage shows just how tight a fit it can be aboard a vintage aircraft and what a tight squeeze it is for the crew aboard the Lancaster bomber.

The aircrew give up three out of every four weekends from May to the end of September in order to fly and display the historic aircraft.

The footage, released by the Ministry of Defence, shows just how tight a fit it can be aboard a vintage aircraft, with the crew – clearly eager to catch a glimpse of the Queen – taking up most of the available space.

The historic flight includes the Lancaster, which first saw service in 1942. The ‘Lanc’ was the most famous of the Second World War bombers and gained renown for its starring role in the momentous ‘Dambuster’ raid on Germany’s Ruhr Valley in 1943.

Carrying a payload of 22,000lb and with a 1,500-mile range, the RAF bomber wreaked havoc on Germany. Some 3,500 were lost in action during the war.

The view of Buckingham Palace and The Mall beyond from the Lancaster bomber.
In formation: Incredible footage has been released showing the view enjoyed by crew aboard a Lancaster bomber flying over London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Hurricane single-seater fighters played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. Heavier and slower than the Spitfire, it was considered the RAF’s ‘workhorse’ against the Luftwaffe.

A remarkable total of 14,533 Hurricanes were built and served operationally on every day and in every theatre during the war. Only 12 are still airworthy worldwide.

The Spitfire is the iconic fighter that won legendary status against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. It possessed a top speed of 378mph, an altitude of 35,000ft and armed with two 20mm cannons, four Browning machine guns and two 250lb bombs.

One of the four that flew yesterday was P7350 – the oldest airworthy Spitfire in the world and the only one which actually fought in the Battle of Britain. It was shot up by a Messerschmitt 109 during combat in October 1940 but its wounded Polish pilot Ludwik Martel managed to crash-land it, wheels up, near Hastings.

The pride of Britain: The vintage planes – all powered by classic World War Two Merlin engines – roar across the London sky.
Flypast: The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry watch the aerial action.
Aerobatic aces: The Red Arrows display team fly in formation over Buckingham Palace.
Stirring image: The Lancaster, centre, was accompanied by two Spitfires on both flanks and tailed by a Hurricane.

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A wonderful and incredibly nostalgic set of photographs.  Finally, let me close with a short piece of video of that Lancaster Bomber in flight.

6 thoughts on “Slightly late on duty!

  1. Fantastic photos, Paul. Better late than never. My only “complaint” would be about the caption below the second and third photos: That below the second photo is completely wrong as it shows the Mall and the Palace; with the only water in the frame being the lake in St James’ Park. Whereas that below the third photo would be more accurate if it said, “…The nose of the Lancaster passes over the Memorial to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace…”

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    1. When I was copying them from Bob’s email I thought the captions were a little screwy. Give me an amended caption for the second picture and I’ll amend both the second and the third, as you suggest. Appreciate you giving me that feedback, Paul

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      1. Suggested caption for 2nd photo:
        Final approach: Having lined up on The Mall, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster flies up it towards Buckingham Palace with St James’ Park on the left and Birdcage Walk beyond.

        BTW, I think the Armed Forces tribute and flypast at Windsor in May was a much more impressive spectacle. I was lucky enough to watch it broadcast live and particularly loved the Queen’s reaction (not shown on this video) to the “60” and “E II R” formations. However, if you missed the event, do watch the video anyway:

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      2. Thanks Martin, that’s very good of you. Updates made and Jeannie and I will watch the video after our evening meal, in about an hour’s time.

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  2. Was just able to get to this. Such a beautiful, honorable and resilient country! I know you must be so very proud, as well you would be! There can be so much beauty and joy in the world.

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