Christian Lamb, a 103-year-old Wren veteran, went flying in the Old Warden-based Magister on Sunday to commemorate a flight she made in 1943
Christian Lamb is one of the last remaining Womens Royal Naval Officers to have served the entire war. She worked on the D-Day landings and remembers often passing Winston Churchill on the stairs in the London War Rooms.
The date at Shuttleworth was to commemorate a flight that she made in 1943 with a young Polish pilot when she had missed her train, and he offered up his services in a Magister to get her back to base.
Her memoir ‘Beyond the Sea’ recalls one of her exciting adventures, one she longed to relive:
"By now there were occasional courses laid on for Wrens and I was sent to Bath to do one. What it was about remains a mystery, but I do remember that on the return journey I missed my train. I could not believe my luck when I was saved by a delightful Polish officer. He astonished me by saying, “Shall I take you back in the old crate?”
“What old crate?” I was nearly speechless when I realised he meant his aeroplane. I stammered out my rapturous acceptance!
This episode may sound quite ordinary now but then it was quite the most daring episode in my life. My rescuer was, I suppose, an instructor because he had at his disposal a Miles Magister training plane, with just two seats, one behind the other – in the open air of course. I had to sit on my parachute in the back and we set off in fine style looking out for and overtaking the train I had missed. My pilot tried to give me some good frights en-route and make the trip extra thrilling by dive bombing cows or anything else that took his fancy. I had been hoping that he might loop the loop for an extra show off, but perhaps it was just as well that he didn’t, or I might have fallen out. Flying in an open plane, low down over the River Tamar and seeing the whole estuary and coast as on a map, was an experience I’d like to relive even today."
That wish came true when the Shuttleworth Trust offered Christian the chance to fly in their Miles Magister (G-AJRS), prior to the Circus Airshow on August 6. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience with Shuttleworth pilot Richard Crockett at the controls, and commented that it was "a lot noisier" than she had remembered. She also commented that she was "very grateful to all at The Shuttleworth Trust for giving me this wonderful experience. I will remember and relive these precious minutes in the sky for the rest of my life. It was such an exciting and thrilling experience. With thanks to Darren Harbar