The story behind Operation Banquet

Steven Taylor details the RAF’s desperate defence plan in 1940 that would have thrown vulnerable training aircraft into frontline action...


Hawker Harts were among the types likely to be pressed into service for the proposed Operation Banquet; K2096 and K2098 are pictured on the northwest frontier in 1938

You have only to consider the numbers of de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moths still flying today to understand that it was, without doubt, a fine aircraft With its benign handling characteristics, it proved to be the perfect primary trainer. From its introduction in 1932 right through to the 1950s, many thousands of trainee RAF and Fleet Air Arm pilots – as well as airmen from numerous overseas air forces – learned to fly in this unassuming but much-loved two-seater.

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