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Bill Hillman's
A Monthly Military Tribute Webzine
July 2012 Edition

RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee
A look back at the amazing Diamond Jubilee celebrations . . . as seen by the 'Tail-end Charlie' in Britain 's last airworthy Lancaster 

This is incredible footage showing the bird's eye view enjoyed by crew aboard a Lancaster bomber flying over London for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The Lanc, 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: The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster lines up alongside the Thames with Charing Cross Station ahead of it in the final moments before it flies over the Mall.

View from above: Hundreds of thousands of people crowd The Mall below the Lancaster bomber

Target in sight! The nose of the Lancaster passes over the Mall and
towards Buckingham Palace during the climax of its flypast


Based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire , many of its personnel, including pilots, are volunteers and 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
Tight squeeze: 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: This is the view enjoyed by crew aboard the 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 atop 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
Submitted by Don Roy
Enjoy our previous features on the
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Starting at:
Memorial Flypast by Phill Barratt
As You Were . . .
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Navigation Chart to the
Hillman WWII Tributes
Short Bursts
Ex-Air Gunners Association

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum: RCAFHMCS Prince Robert: Hillman WWII Scrapbook - RCNXII Dragoons - 26 RCA Museum
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