Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Hurricane Spitfire Lancaster

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight consists of a Lancaster, five Spitfires, two Hurricanes, two Chipmunks, and a Dakota. The flying formation familiar to most people is a Lancaster escorted by a Spitfire and a Hurricane.

Batle of Britain Memorial Flight insignia The original purpose of the Memorial Flight was to help celebrate the Allied victory and the anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It has since become a flying memorial to all members of the Royal Air Force who lost their lives during WWII. The Lancaster bomber, Dakota transport, five Spitfire fighters and two Hurricane fighters represent the types of aircraft which played such an important part in the final victory.

The Memorial Flight is a unique living tribute to all those airmen who sacrificed their lives in WWII. It flies in memory of those who flew. In an era of fast high performance jets, it is a reminder of the remarkable achievements of the men who flew and maintained these historic aircraft in the dark days of WWII.

Lancaster PA474 Of the 7,377 Lancasters built, PA474 is one of only two Lancasters remaining in airworthy condition the other being in Canada.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is based at RAF Coningsby.

RAF Coningsby is still an active front line RAF base. Also based at RAF Coningsby are Tornadoes and the new Eurofighter.

Opposite the main hanger housing the Memorial Flight, across the road outside the base, is a visitor centre operated by Lincolnshire County Council.

Not far from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre and Thorpe Camp.

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, founded by the Panton Brothers, Fred and Harold Panton, as a memorial to their elder brother Pilot Officer Christopher Panton, is sited on the old RAF East Kirkby. The site has a Lancaster and Spitfire, and houses many interesting exhibitions.

Thorpe Camp, near Tattershall Thorpe, looks not much from outside, but it is worth going in and having a good look round as its exhibits are well worth looking at.

Dambusters Memorial, Woodhall Spa Also nearby is Woodhall Spa and the Petwood Hotel.

Woodhall Spa, a former spa town, has a very impressive memorial to the Dambusters.

Petwood Hotel was requisitioned during WWII. Petwood was used as the Officers Mess for the Dambusters, 617 Squadron. The Squadron Bar at Petwood has Dambusters memorabilia, including a copy of The Daily Telegraph of Tuesday 18 May 1943 reporting the successful Dambusters raid.

AWAC Other active bases include RAF Waddington and RAF Scampton

RAF Waddington, formerly used for the Vulcan V Bomber, now has Tornadoes and half a dozen AWACs and other reconnaissance aircraft. On the edge of the base and near the perimeter fence is a Vulcan V Bomber. Waddington has since the end of WWII acted as host for the annual two-day Waddington International Airshow. The first squadron to take delivery of Lancasters was 44 Squadron based at Waddington.

RAF Scampton, where 617 Squadron was formed, is now the base for the world famous Red Arrows.

The Blue Bell Inn, a very old roadside inn at Tattershall Thorpe, serves excellent food and a good choice of real ales. Apart being in interesting old inn and serving excellent food, another reason for visiting the Blue Bell Inn, is that on the ceiling of the old bar are signatures of members of the 617 Squadron.

Lincolnshire ~ Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre ~ Dambusters
(c) Keith Parkins 2005-2009 -- August 2009 rev 3