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Kemble Battle of Britain Weekend 2009
 
Avro Lancaster BII - PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Avro Lancaster BII - PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Avro Lancaster BII - PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Avro Lancaster BII - PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom
 
Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk XIX - G-RRGN - Rolls Royce - United Kingdom   Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk XIX - PM631 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   North American P-51D Mustang - G-SIJJ - Hangar 11 Collection - United Kingdom
 

Kemble Battle Of Britain Weekend

Words and photography Mike Freer

The aim of the Battle of Britain airshow was to re-create the atmosphere of the 1960s, when most RAF stations would open their gates to the public on Battle of Britain Day.

On a beautiful warm and sunny autumn day, this aim was fully achieved and what better venue than Kemble airfield – now re-named Cotswold Airport – in the heart of the rolling Cotswold countryside. This year’s event was well supported by Rolls Royce PLC who sent along Supermarine Spitfire PR.XIX PS853 from Filton and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from RAF Conningsby, with Avro Lancaster PA474, Hawker Hurricane II PZ865 and Supermarine Spitfire PRXIX PM631.

The Rolls Royce PLC Spitfire PRXIX PS853 is one of the original three Spitfires (PM631, PS853 & PS915) that formed the Historic Aircraft Flight (fore-runner of the BBMF) at RAF Biggin Hill in 1957. Being a high altitude photo-reconnaissance version of the Spitfire, it was originally operated by the Central Photographic Reconnaissance Unit at RAF Benson. It later served with the Temperature & Humidity (THUM) Flight at RAF Woodvale prior to joining the Historic Aircraft Flight.

The other Spitfire PRXIX, PM631, also served with the THUM Flight at RAF Woodvale prior to joining the Historic Aircraft Flight during 1957.Of interest was a short period of service with the Central Fighter Establishment conducting interception trials involving an English Electric Lightning. No doubt the Spitfire had no problem out-manoeuvring the Lightning. Both Spitfires appeared in the Battle of Britain film.

Hawker Hurricane II PZ865 was the last one built and currently flies in the markings of ‘Night Reaper’, the aircraft flown by the Czech fighter ace Flt Lt Karel Kuttlewascher DFC during night intruder operations from RAF Tangmere in 1942.

The final member of the BBMF trio to arrive at Kemble was Avro Lancaster Mk.1 PA474. She is only one of two Lancasters still airworthy – the other being in Canada and arrived with the BBMF during November, 1973. Having served with 82 Squadron, she later went on to fly with the Royal College of Aeronautics at Cranfield, testing the Handley Page Laminar Flow wing. She presently flies in the markings of ‘Phantom of the Ruhr’ a ton-up Lancaster that achieved an incredible 30 operations with 100 Squadron, followed by a further 91 operations with 550 Squadron.

De Havilland Vampire T11 - G-VTII - Vampire Preservation Group - United Kingdom
 
North American P-51D Mustang - G-SIJJ - Hangar 11 Collection - United Kingdom   North American P-51D Mustang - G-SIJJ - Hangar 11 Collection - United Kingdom   De Havilland Vampire T11 - G-VTII - Vampire Preservation Group - United Kingdom   De Havilland Vampire T11 - G-VTII - Vampire Preservation Group - United Kingdom
 
De Havilland Vampire T11 - G-VTII - Vampire Preservation Group - United Kingdom   Percival Pembroke C1 - G-BNPH - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom   Percival Pembroke C1 - G-BNPH - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom   Percival Pembroke C1 - G-BNPH - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom
 
Avro Lancaster BII - PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom
 
Antonov AN-2 - HA-MKF - Antonov Club - United Kingdom   Antonov AN-2 - HA-MKF - Antonov Club - United Kingdom   BAC Jet Provost T3A - G-BVEZ - Newcastle Jet Provost Company - United Kingdom   Avro Vulcan B2 - G-VLCN - Vulcan to the Sky Trust - United Kingdom
 
VC10 K3 - ZA147/F - 101 Squadron - Royal Air Force   Sud Aviation SE3130 Alouette II - G-BVSD - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom   Piper L-4J Grasshopper - G-BILI - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom   De Havilland Chipmunk T10 - G-CBJG - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom
 
Antonov AN-2 - HA-MKF - Antonov Club - United Kingdom

A surprise item in the flying display was North American P-51D 44-72035 (G-SIJJ) ‘Jumpin Jacques’ operated by Peter Teichman’s Hangar 11 Collection. Following an exhilarating flying display, she landed and parked in front of the crowd line.

The world’s largest single-engine biplane was next to get airborne in the shape of the Antonov AN-2 operated by the AN-2 Club. This Russian designed utility aircraft demonstrated its slow speed handling characteristics and ability - apparently, the AN-2 is impossible to stall and can be flown as slow as 25 mph before it just gradually sinks.

The beautiful sound of a pair of Alvis Leonides engines coming to life heralded the display of another classic radial-engine aircraft. Percival Pembroke WV740 (G-BNPH) is privately owned and operates from Bournemouth Airport. She still wears the markings from her service days with the Royal Air Force, when she was operated by 60 Squadron at RAFG Wildenrath in Germany during the 1960s and 70s.

A pair of RAF jet trainers from this period was also flown. BAC  Jet Provost T3A XM479 (G-BVEZ) operated by the Newcastle Jet Provost Company was flown resplendent in the markings of the Central Flying School. The forerunner of the type; the de Havilland Vampire T11 WZ507 (G-VTII) – operated by the Vampire Preservation Group, gave a very spirited display and on landing, taxied on the grass strip in front of the crowd line – a sight not seen since the late 1940s.

The flying display ended with two surprise items. Avro Vulcan XH558 of the Vulcan to the sky Trust stopped everyone in their tracks with its display . The show came to an end with a flypast by VC-10 of 101 Squadron, from RAF Brize Norton.

There was plenty to see on the ground. The Bristol Britannia XM496 Preservation Society proudly displayed their aircraft as did the Buccaneer Society with XX889. The Canberra Project Team was also present alongside Canberra PR9 XH134 one of three of the breed present (XH131, XH134 & XH135). There were a number of Hunters present with Delta Jets. Ex Royal Navy Hunter GA11s both marked WB188 (G-BZPB & G-BZPC) along with a Hunter T8C WT722  were on show. Delta Jets hangar displayed a number of other aircraft  alongside Meteor T7 WA591 of the Meteor Flight under restoration to fly next year. Hunter T7 G-VETA (ex XL600) of Skyblue Aviation was also present.

The author wishes to thank the following for their kind assistance both on the day and also in preparing this article: Glen Moreman (Operations Manager, Kemble Air Services Ltd), Sandy Mullen (Meteor Flight), Bob Bartlet & Chris Vaughen (Delta Jets) and Roger Wintle, Clive Davis and Tim Radford (Canberra Projects Team).

 
Blackburn Buccaneer S2B - XX889/T - Buccaneer Society - United Kingdom   English Electric Canberra PR9 - XH134 - Midair - Switzerland   English Electric Canberra PR9 - XH134 - Midair - Switzerland   Hawker Hunter T7 - G-VETA - Skyblue Aviation - United Kingdom
 
Hawker Hunter T8C - WT722/878  - Delta Jets Ltd. - United Kingdom   Hawker Hunter GA11 - G-BZPB - Delta Jets Ltd. - United Kingdom   Hawker Hunter GA11 - G-BZPC - Delta Jets Ltd. - United Kingdom   Bristol Britannia - XM496 - Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust - United Kingdom
 
English Electric Canberra PR9 - XH134 - Midair - Switzerland
 
Touchdown Conclusion
 

The Battle of Britain airshow held at Kemble airfield – now re-named Cotswold Airport – over the weekend of September 19th & 20th was a resounding success. The atmosphere was relaxed and the show was blessed with pleasant autumn sunshine. The flying display was well balanced and varied with all aspects of aviation covered from the Swift Glider Team to the Avro Vulcan. The show was largely successful due to the team of volunteers and also the aircraft restoration groups that highlighted all the hard work and dedication that goes into these projects.

Also a mention must be made regarding the fine commentary given by Sqd Ldr Andy Pawsey (of the RAF role demo fame). It was both informative and entertaining and perfect for such an event.

The success of the event can be gauged by the fact that £5000 was raised for the RAF Benevolent Fund and also the Fly2help charity. Fly2help is a registered charity, the aim of which is to lift the horizons of people of all ages and backgrounds through the medium of flight. Support is given to those with life-limiting and chronic illnesses; families who have suffered some kind of tragedy and those suffering from low esteem that need a life-boost.

Overall, it was a very good airshow and full credit should go to Glen Moreman and his band of dedicated volunteers.

 
Touchdown Rating - 4 out of 5
 
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