Day 6 (and a day late) of our Portrush aircraft profile are the aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) who have been regulars at Portrush over the years!
As you know, the Lancaster was due to return to Portrush last year, however an engine fire had grounded the aircraft until after the Portrush show.
But this year Portrush will see the BBMF Lancaster ‘Thumper’ return and bring with her the BBMF Spitfire & the BBMF Hurricane.
BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL FLIGHT
The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (RAFBBMF) is administratively part of the Royal Air Force No 1 Group and operates from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
The aircraft are regularly seen at events commemorating World War II, upon British State occasions, notably the Trooping the Colour celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday and at air displays throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. We are proud to have HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as our Patron.
RAF BBMF commemorate the past of the RAF’s Air Combat Power – Lest We Forget.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre is located at RAF Coningsby in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. A partnership between the Royal Air Force and Lincolnshire County Council, the centre allows visitors an up-close guided tour of the aircraft when not in use, as well as exhibits about the aircraft and other temporary exhibits.
The Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British combat aircraft before or since the War, 20,341 Spitfires were built in 22 different variants (excluding the navalised Seafire) and the aircraft remained in production for 12 years. The Spitfire played a major part in achieving ultimate victory in World War Two and truly deserves its place as probably the most successful fighter design ever, and certainly as the most famous and charismatic of all time. The BBMF currently have 6 Spitfire aircraft
The Hawker Hurricane is one of the classic fighters of all time, designed and built for war. It was at the forefront of Britain’s defence in 1940 and it played a major part in achieving the victory of 1945. The Hurricane was the first British monoplane eight-gun fighter, the first RAF aircraft to exceed 300 mph in level flight and the first production fighter with a retractable main undercarriage. The BBMF currently have 2 Hurricane aircraft.
The Lancaster bomber – PA474, acquired by the BBMF in 1973, is one of only two surviving airworthy examples of the type; the other is in Canada. She was built in mid-1945 and assigned to reconnaissance duties after appearing too late to take part in the bombing of Japan. After various duties, she was adopted by the Air Historical Branch for display work. She appeared in two films: Operation Crossbow and The Guns of Navarone.
Having been flown for much of her service with the BBMF as the “City of Lincoln”, PA474 previously wore the markings of the “Phantom of the Ruhr”, a Lancaster that flew 121 sorties (a so-called “ton-up” Lancaster).
Originally assigned to 100 Squadron in June 1943, the original “Phantom” was transferred to 101 Squadron in November that year and finished the war as part of 550 Squadron at Ludford Magna.
The Lancaster currently carries the markings of ‘Thumper’ for the 2014 display season, an aircraft which served with No 617 Squadron after the Dams Raid. Some of the specially-modified Lancasters, which survived the Dams Raid, remained in service with the squadron afterwards.
However, these aircraft were not suitable for all operations and they were replaced with standard Lancasters, one example being B Mk1 DV385. PA474 displays the markings of bombs for operations over Germany, ice-cream cones for operations over Italy and poppies when she releases poppies during exhibition flights. During the 2008 RAF Waddington Air Day, PA474 was flown in formation with the recently restored Avro Vulcan XH558 in a historic display of two Avro “heavy metal” classics.
Info from Wikipedia & BBMF website. Photo from ourselves at Newcastle 2016
Check back later today for another Portrush aircraft profile