On Monday 11th July 2022, personnel from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire celebrated 65 years since the flight was officially established at RAF Biggin Hill in 1957. Formerly known as the RAF Historic Aircraft Flight, the flight consisted of three PR Mk XIX Spitfires, and the last airworthy Hurricane, LF363, which is still flown by the flight today. Since then the flight has grown to maintain twelve historic aircraft: six Spitfires, two Hurricanes, two Chipmunk training aircraft, a C-47 Dakota and the Avro Lancaster.
To celebrate the 65th year of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the flight hosted a special birthday tea to which a number of WW2 veterans were invited to sit and dine amongst the historic aircraft on the flight, and to meet with
During a speech given at the event, OC BBMF Sqn Ldr Mark Sugden thanked the veterans for attending, reaffirming that they are a huge part of the BBMF Story before going on to spend time with each veteran individually, shaking hands and thanking them personally.
The BBMF would like to thank sponsors The Lincoln Tea and Coffee Company for their support in hosting the event. From providing the copious amounts of tea and coffee enjoyed at the Birthday Tea, to the bone china, table decorations and overall event staffing support – we really couldn’t have done it without them!
Meanwhile over at Biggin Hill Airport, the 11th July 1957 also marked 65 years since the Supermarine Spitfire last flew in Service, with a ceremonial flight from Liverpool to RAF Biggin Hill marking the start of the airframe’s honourable retirement. On the anniversary day, the statue for ‘The Strongest Link Garden’ was installed on-site. Standing at four metres tall and constructed from 223 layers of laser cut stainless steel, the statue is a powerful and moving tribute to all those who have served and continue to serve in the Royal Air Force. The statue will be officially unveiled and opened to the public later this year!
Photo Gallery: (Images by Sgt Paul Oldfield, RAF Coningsby Photo Section, Craig Sluman Photography and Paris Pratley-Gomez, BBMF PRO)