On Sunday, the renowned historic display group celebrated its birthday. We’ve put together a collection of our favourite images to celebrate the milestone
Seven years after the end of the Second World War, several aircraft and their pilots came together to form a memorial flight that would become the main commemorative display of many historic events to come.
At the end of the war, it became tradition that Victory Day would be marked through a flypast over London. Leading the formation would be a Spitfire and a Hurricane; it was the start of an idea that would grow into one of the most patriotic spectacles known in Britain.
Said idea was to bring together a collection of historic aircraft - all in airworthy condition - and use them to commemorate the RAF's involvement in the Second World War. As an organisation with such a pivotal role in many of the war's campaigns, it was only fitting that this collection would be a stunning example of the aircraft that led the airborne battles to victory.
As a result, the Historic Aircraft Flight was formed at RAF Biggin Hill in 1957 and consisted of one Hawker Hurricane and three Supermarine Spitfires. Each of the piston-engined aircraft was a stark reminder of the sacrifices that those who flew them made in the past, completely in juxtaposition with the ever-growing jet dominated air force.
After undergoing various changes and relocations, the RAF Historic Aircraft Flight eventually changed its name to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in 1973. The display, which became part of RAF No. 1 Group, found its forever home at RAF Coningsby in 1976. Since then, more and more aircraft have been acquired, expanding the flight and its historic significance.
Although generally flying as the traditional formation of Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight comprises of 12 aircraft in total:
1 x Avro Lancaster
2 x Hawker Hurricanes
6 x Supermarine Spitfires
1 x Douglas Dakota
2 x de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunks
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight allows the memory of such an integral part of Britain's history to live on. The display group's motto 'Lest We Forget' is harmonious with the nation's Remembrance Day, ensuring that those who gave their lives will forever be remembered. We've put together a gallery of our favourite images of the display to commemorate its 64th birthday.