The Last of the Few

Cowling on the BBMF's Mk XIX Spitfire. Photo (c) Neale Haynes

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain reaches a climax this weekend as the World War Two air base-turned-museum at Duxford hosts a commemorative air show. It's unlikely such an array of the aircraft that won the Battle will ever be seen flying in one place at one time again - some 17 Spitfires and five Hurricanes are due to fly on both days. That's more than enough excuse to publish the "director's cut" of my recent piece about the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight; an edited version ran in the Mail on Sunday's Live supplement a couple of weeks ago, but space constraints meant quite a bit of material was cut. And I'm delighted that photographer Neale Haynes has allowed me to use some of the shots he took during our two days at with the Flight at RAF Coningsby, none of which were included with the originally published piece.

Among the other 70th anniversary events worth a look are the Imperial War Museum's fascinating microsite, which seems to have found a use for social media among other achievements, and a short season of BBC programmes, the most interesting of which looks to be a drama based on Spitfire pilot Geoffrey Wellum's wonderful book, First Light

Speaking of books, I did, of course, get much more material at Coningsby than I could fit into even the "extended remix" - the folks at the Flight were as generous with their time as their work and manner is impressive. So if you, or someone you know, might possibly want to commission a longer piece - say, 60,000 words, or something like that - by all means do let me know.


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