15 Sept 2015

15 Sep 15 - A Blast From The Distant Past

Seventy-five years ago on 15 Sep 1940, the Germans launched their heaviest day of raids over London & the South East in an effort to break the Royal Air Force. They were poised to invade the UK, but needed air supremacy first. In return the RAF launched all the available fighter squadrons, until there were no more fighters available to take off. It was the pivotal point in the Battle of Britain. The German attacks continued throughout the day. The losses for the day were 29 RAF fighters destroyed & significantly more German planes, but much less than 175-185 claimed destroyed planes. The aftermath was Hilter continued to attack London & the South East, but a few days later, the plans for the invasion were put on hold. Fortunately, the planned invasion never happened.

To celebrate the Seventy-fifth anniversary of what is now called Battle of Britain day, there has been the largest gathering of flying Spitfires, Hurricanes & the only flying Blenheim since the Second World War, at Goodwood airfield in Sussex, involving around 34 aircraft. From here they took off to fly ten different routes to other important Battle of Britain airfields. One route was scheduled to fly from Goodwood, via the Solent, Bournemouth, Studland, Swanage, Weymouth, Exeter, Yeovil, Bath & Colerne. Given this flight would go right over the Studland patch, then obviously I was out at the high hide vantage point in the hope of seeing the flight. In the end it was a little bit disappointing as there was only a single Spitfire, the Seafire Mk XVII, SX336, on this route. But I guess the main Battle of Britain was fought in the South East & it is only right that they saw the bulk of the historic planes.
Dassault Falcon 20 G-FRAU: This went overhead just before I saw the Spitfire
Seafire SX336 Mark XVII: This is the Navy version of the Spitfire known as a Seafire (short for Sea Spitfire) which was adapted for use from Aircraft Carriers
Seafire SX336 Mark XVII: This particular Seafire was built at the Westland factory in Yeovil in 1946 & was flown by the Fleet Air Arm. Four years later it was being used for ground instruction use. It was rescued from a scrap yard in 1973 & has been brought back to flying condition by 2006