Making memories at RAF Coningsby
Jack, Daddy and I are big fans of The Battle of Britain aircraft (Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster bombers) and are lucky enough to live just down the road from RAF Coningsby where the Battle of Britain memorial flight is based.
This year is very special in the RAF world as the only two flying Lancaster bombers are flying together for the 1st time in over 60 years. A Canadian Lanc called ‘Vera’ has joined our Lanc called ‘Thumper’ for the 2Lancs tour, flying at displays and events around the country .
There is another Lancaster at East Kirkby called ‘Just Jane’, which unfortunately does not have its airworthy certificate but does taxi along the runway. Through The Battle of Britain memorial flight facebook page I learnt that ‘Vera’ and ‘Thumper’ were flying over ‘Just Jane’ while she taxied along the runway and that it would only happen on two different days (2nd and 7th of September), a once in a lifetime sight.
Daddy and I decided that with Jacks nursery taster session on the morning of the 3rd it would be better to aim for Sunday 7th of September, and it was lucky that we did as the fly over on the 2nd was cancelled while ‘Vera’ had an engine replaced.
It wasn’t until that cancellation that I learnt the events were ticket only to see all 3 Lancs and both events were sold out, however the two airworthy Lancasters would be returning to base at RAF Coningsby shortly after and they have a viewing car park that allows you to watch aircraft take off and land. As a bonus RAF Coningsby is slightly closer than East Kirkby, a plus when you get travel sick and have a restless 2 year old in the car.
When Sunday afternoon came round the three of us packed a few snacks for the journey and my Ipad and camera (to take as many pictures as possible) and set off for the 40 minute journey. When we got there the car park was overflowing and people were parking on the embankment along the side of the road, luckily we found a space and once parked got a good spot at the fence.
Jack not really knowing what we were waiting for started to get restless and this is where the snacks came in handy. Munching away happily he stood by my side while Daddy, I and everyone around us scanned the skies and tried to listen for the sound of eight roaring Merlin engines over the noise of the passing traffic.
A man standing next to me nudged my arm and pointed at a hangar across the airfield, telling me
“there they are”
Now I have 20/20 vision but do have trouble picking out details on light backgrounds such as the bright blue sky that day. I couldn’t see a thing and was getting more and more frustrated as the excited muttering around me grew and even Daddy said
“I can see them, their over there”
Where!!! I can’t see them.
It was at that point we heard the faint growl of the engines and even Jack piped up
Ah right THERE they are, I see them now.
I took tight hold of the reins I had on Jack, knowing full well he would try to charge off in the direction of the aircraft and selected the camera option on my shiny new Ipad while Daddy was on camera duty.
We couldnt have picked a better spot at the fence as they flew a lap of the base, right over our heads!
Within a few minutes both ‘Vera’ and ‘Thumper’ had landed and J lost interest again, until Daddy put him on his shoulders for a better view.
That afternoons excitement caught up with J on the journey home as he nodded off, Brewer the bear in hand of course.
Have you experienced a once in a lifetime sight?