On 23 July, two McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2s of No.41 Squadron arrive at Akrotiri to furnish tactical reconnaissance support for British forces on Cyprus following the Turkish invasion of that island. Subsequently, on the night of 24-25 July a further twelve Phantom FGR2s from No.6 Squadron and No.228 Operational Conversion Unit were despatched to the island to provide additional offensive support and air defence for United Nations operations.
Although no offensive support sorties were flown, combat air patrols were mounted in support of Canberra and Nimrod reconnaissance sorties by Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft from Malta and to guard against possible infringements of British Sovereign Base Area airspace by Turkish aircraft. The Phantom detachment to Cyprus was drawn down during August, with the final aircraft and crews returning to the United Kingdom on 12/13 September.
After a 12 year build my Spitfire EB-N as flown by Tony Lovell, 41squadron, Catterick, finally took to the skies on the 13th of May this year. An LAA inspector, Don Harker recalled to me when he was a young boy walking through Middlesbrough, watching a Spitfire shooting down a JU88 over the Eaton Hills. We traced the name of the pilot flying it (Tony Lovell) and managed to contact his niece who gave permission to display it as her Uncle Tony’s Spitfire. The commemoration flight will take place on the 18th of August, the day before what would have been Tony Lovell’s 100 birthday.
Tony Lovell who survived the war and was killed in a flying accident the day after the war ended. Many pilots had some artwork on their aircraft nose, so when I contacted Tony’s closest relative, his niece, Helen Daw, she said that her uncle Tony was devoted to his mother who he called Cherub. So I had a picture of a cherub painted on the nose of my Spit.
I was told by Helen that August 19th would have been Tony’s 100th birthday but looking at my records it should be the 9th of August, not the 19th! We still plan to do the dedication flight on Sunday the 18th at Fishburn airfield. Helen Daw and her family will be there as will relatives of Ben Bennions who flew in 41 squadron with Tony Lovell. We have a local folk duo coming to perform the song they wrote about my Spitfire, Tony Lovell and other RAF pilots of the Second World War.
As Tony was a deeply religious man I also have my friend who is a vicar coming to do a short memorial service.
This summer will see the Royal Air Force Museum paying homage to one of the most iconic aircraft ever built with a programme of family events and activities dedicated to the Spitfire.
The Museum is home to a large collection of Spitfires, including the world’s oldest. This summer it will explore the history of the Spitfire and the story of those RAF servicemen and women who worked with this wondrous aircraft.
Weekend festivals, thought provoking storytelling, close views of real Spitfires, and a series of nostalgic events including a Battle of Britain Day will transport visitors back to a time when the Spitfire protected Europe’s skies.
Visitors will also be able to take the pilot’s seat and enjoy a 6-minute Spitfire flight through the Museum’s new virtual reality experience (Cosford only), take a selfie in a Mk XVI Spitfire (London only) or enrol in the Museum’s Spitfire Academy Adventure, its latest immersive experience that combines all the demands of an escape room challenge with the fun of a treasure hunt (London only).
For more information about the Museum’s Summer of Spitfire programme of events and activities at both the RAF Museum London and Cosford visit rafmuseum.org.
Events are subject to change, flypasts are weather dependant.
The Museum is open daily from 10.00am. Admission is free.
RBL Poppy Breaks
As part of their Poppy Breaks programme, the Royal British Legion is kindly sponsoring 7 weeks of activity breaks for Service dependants in July/August 2019. These Poppy Breaks, co-ordinated by RAF Community support on a tri-service basis and delivered by the Youth Hostels’ Association, provide excellent opportunities for young people to participate in a wide range of activities appropriate to their age and abilities.
There are still some places available and the closing date for applications is .
The Squadron Association has secured 10 places for the Cenotaph Parade this year. If you are interested in attending please complete the fields below.
The experience of others was captured last year after the event. You can read more at the link below.
There is an opportunity to apply for a place at the Op Banner Remembrance event this August through the Squadron Association. Please inform the Association Secretary if you would like a place.
British troops were deployed onto the streets of Northern Ireland on the 14 August 1969, in response to growing sectarian unrest. The military campaign was code named OP BANNER and the General Service Medal (Northern Ireland) was awarded to over 300, 000 Service personnel that were deployed into Northern Ireland over the subsequent 38 years.
In total, 1,441 UK Armed Forces personnel died as result of operations in Northern Ireland or paramilitary actions in other countries. All of their names are listed on the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.
The Royal British Legion will host a commemorative event on Wednesday 14 August 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK Armed Forces’ deployment on operations in Northern Ireland – the longest continuous campaign in British military history. The event will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum.
Please note that Op Banner 50 will be a closed, accredited event, not open to the general public. Please contact the Association Secretary should you wish to reserve a place no later than Friday 5th July.
The images above are from Paul Briggs who administers the 41 Retro Facebook page.
The service to remember the bus crash that killed 6 people and injured many others during a Squadron exchange with 421 Sqn RCAF at Baden-Soellingen, Germany in 1983. Many thanks to 41(TES) Sqn and SOCA and many others for the excellent support they give to this event every year, which is greatly appreciated.
The RAF Museum annual lecture series are delivered by emerging and established researchers, these lectures explore a variety of air power related topics ranging from historical themes to contemporary issues. For further details see the RAF Museum Lecture Programme 2019.
All lectures are free of charge but you will need to pre-book online. Lectures may be subject to change. Visit The RAF Museum website for further details: www.rafmuseum.org
Researchers wishing to contribute a paper to any of these lecture series are invited to email a title and a 300-word abstract of their proposed paper, plus a one-page CV to the RAF Museum’s Historian, Harry Raffal, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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