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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Marks 60th Anniversary

Published: 16 Jul 2017

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) has marked its 60th anniversary at this year's Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford.

Commemorating those who have fallen in the service of this country, the flight has displayed its poignant flypast to the crowds in Gloucestershire, together with its trademark formation of a fighter on each side of the Lancaster's wingtips.

Founded on 11 July 1957, the flight features a Lancaster bomber and four fighter aircraft that perform a unique synchronised flying display with tail chasing.

Named the Thompson formation this year after its founder Group Captain Peter Thompson DFC, the BBMF's aircraft are flown by regular serving RAF crew who are based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

Flight Lieutenant Andy Preece, one of the pilots of the BBMF, said: "This display means so much to so many people. It's the nature of the aircraft and how each individual type has a wealth of history behind it."

Speaking of the feedback from the crowd at RIAT, Flt Lt Preece commented: "The one thing you don't experience when you're in the machines is the sound and that for many people is iconic. That's the feedback we receive and that's what effects people."

He added: "Certainly from me personally the BBMF was something I saw when I was a young boy and it was a dream to fly one of these machines - it's what they mean and what they stand for. It's wonderful to be able to bring so many of the aircraft with us to RIAT."

One visitor at the show, Richard Wilson, commented: "I enjoy the uniqueness of it all and the nostalgia - it's the memory of all the guys and what they did."

Pam Alexander spoke of how proud she felt. She commented: "I think about the history and how important they were to our country. It's just lovely to see them and the fact that one of the original Spitfire's is still flying. It was great."

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. 

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“This is the best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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