Lincolnshire

Prince William joins Battle of Britain Memorial Flight commemorations

Aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are flown in an air display to mark the Flight's 60th Anniversary at RAF Coningsby Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Prince William was among the spectators for a display marking the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

The Duke of Cambridge has attended an air display marking 60 years of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

The flight, known as the BBMF, is based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, and has one of only two airworthy Lancaster bombers in the world.

It was formed to honour those involved in the Battle of Britain and has taken part in thousands of events over the years.

Prince William, who is the flight's patron, also spoke to veterans.

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Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Prince William and veterans and crew from the BBMF posed for a photograph in front of the flight's Lancaster bomber
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Prince William spoke to veterans during his visit
Image copyright PA
Image caption Veteran Lancaster pilot Rusty Waughman, 94, said he first flew the aircraft when he was aged 20

Veteran Rusty Waughman, 94, who was a Lancaster pilot from 1943 to 1944, spoke to Prince William.

He said he was 20 when he first piloted a Lancaster bomber.

He said 101 Squadron, which performed radio counter-measure duties, had a 60% "attrition rate".

"To survive, we were very fortunate," he said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Those in attendance also included Ken Wilkinson, a Battle of Britain pilot
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Spectators were treated to a display by some of the aircraft from the Flight
Image copyright PA
Image caption Carol Vorderman, who is an honorary ambassador for the Air Cadets, also took part in the commemorations
Image copyright PA
Image caption In 2015, The Duke of Cambridge flew with crew from RAF Coningsby as part of commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Image copyright Keith Wilson
  • The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) was formed on 11 July 1957 by Gp Capt Peter Thompson, a former Battle of Britain Hurricane pilot
  • He set about collecting and preserving examples of the main aircraft involved in the conflict to honour the RAF's defence of the UK against German attacks at the end of 1940
  • The BBMF has 12 historical aircraft, including a Lancaster - one of only two left flying in the world; the other is in Canada
  • It also has a Dakota, six Spitfires, two Hurricanes, and two Chipmunks, which are used for training
  • The flight has displayed at or flown past thousands of events as a tribute to those who have served in the RAF

Image copyright Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Image caption A view of Lincoln from inside the Lancaster
Image copyright Aircraft Restoration Company
Image caption The BBMF's Lancaster has recently undergone major maintenance, and features new nose art showing a bagpipe-playing kangaroo

The Battle of Britain was the German air force's attempt to gain air superiority over the RAF.

Their ultimate failure was one of the turning points of World War II and prevented Germany from invading Britain.

Battle of Britain

July to October 1940

1,023

aircraft lost by RAF

1,887

aircraft lost by Luftwaffe

  • 3,000 aircrew served with RAF Fighter Command

  • 20% were from the British Dominions and occupied European or neutral countries

  • 544 RAF Fighter Command pilots were killed

  • 2,500 Luftwaffe aircrew were killed

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