The 15th September 1940 was Battle of Britain day and in my youth many of the RAF bases held airshows to commemorate this important day in our history. Sadly both the displays, and many of the bases are but a memory. It was thus left to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford in Cambridgeshire to do the honours and over the weekend of 21st-22nd September the airfield was host to a remarkable collection of historic aircraft.
Duxford was an historic Fighter Command base during the Second World War and was the first airfield to receive the then new Spitfire in 1938.
Spitfire 1a ‘P7308″ currently in 71 Eagle Squadron markings gets airborne with the propeller producing a spiral of vapour around the fuselage.
In 1944 Duxford based P-47 Thunderbolts of the 78th Fighter Group of the USAAF flew missions to support the D-Day landings.
P47D Thunderbolt basks in the morning golden hour before the show in the markings of Nellie B of the 48th Fighter Group.
Nellie B in formation with the only UK based B-17 “Sally B” reminiscent of the escorts the P-47’s flew over Germany
A timeless scene of four Hurricanes and a Spitfire at sunrise.
Major General “Hap” Arnolds rare C-41 VIP transport gleaming at sun-up. Only two of these DC-3 derivatives were made.
Duxford based Blenheim 1 in the early evening light.
P-51D “Miss Helen”
Hangar 11’s P-51D “Tall in the Saddle” starts up for its display in formation with three other Mustangs.
Spitfire pilots walk through their display!
The newly restored DH.9 in one of Duxfords historic hangars. This aircraft was rescued from stables in India and has only recently made its first post restoration flight.
Duxford is not an easy place for the aviation photographer with its south facing crowd line. Some of the displays curve round past the Superhangar which can provide an adequately lit top shot otherwise one has to wait until about 3pm when the sun begins to light along the runway.