‘Those Magnificent Men…’

[This is a post for aeroplane nuts, feel free to pass on by.]

On Saturday we went with aeroplane enthusiast friends to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. This is an airfield, plus many great hangers, with aircraft spanning both world wars and up to today’s fighting/rescue aeroplanes. I did my best with my little camera. Here we have a Gypsy Moth.

DSCN6312And here is the Rapide from the 1930’s, in which people can take joy-rides from Duxford.



The Boeing B 17 Flying Fortress Sally B being fettled before she took off. Memphis Belle

One of the most exciting displays was the wing walkers. Here is one warming up.

DSCN6343And here they are in the air. One of them is piloted by David Barrell, who used to be a partner in our local garage, keeping my series of very fourth-hand cars on the road.DSCN6366 DSCN6367 I worry about the G force.

Here’s one (a Shorts Tucano) that sat in front of us for some time. It’s paint job made me think of your blog, Pierre, so this is for you. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Though I gather that this wonderful Canadian-built (1943) Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina is more to your taste.



She was majestic in flight and slow enough for my camera.

Catalina flying

Catalina flying

At one point there were four Spitfires and a Hurricane in the air. Here’s just one Spitfire and below a Spit and the Hurricane – CORRECTION – 2 Spits (the second with the squarer wings is a later version).DSCN6454IMG_0565There were many, many highlights in the day, but I particularly  enjoyed the WWI re-enactment using replica planes. These included the 1912 designed, Royal Aircraft Factory BE2; 2 Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a (1917 design) ; 2 Fokker DR1 (1917 design); a Sopwith Triplane (1916 design); and 2 Junkers CL1(1917 design). They appeared over the horizon, having  been flown from another display in Southampton.


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The show ended with an exciting display from an Avro Vulcan and two Hawker Siddeley Gnats. IMG_0730IMG_0732  IMG_0733

There were scores more planes. They taxied up, posed in front of where we were standing, then took off. There was always one, or many, flying at any one time.

The following day, when we were not able to attend, there was a much anticipated visit from a Canadian Lancaster. This plane, Avro Lancaster B Mk X, is one of only two that are airworthy. We hoped it would fly over our house at some time in its display, but we were disappointed (though the Red Arrows flew dramatically over our heads), so here is a far better picture from the Duxford Air Show catalogue. Avro Lancastercopy

And that’s it folks. We had a wonderful and very noisy time. I’ve probably misnamed an aeroplane here or there, so feel free to tell me. And if that seems like a lot of bad photos of aeroplanes, there are another 300 odd…

I did sneak off during the show to revisit the Burma War gallery, where there was a small exhibition of relics from Far East POWs, including some paintings of the POWs at work by Jack Chalker and others. I will return to the POW story – probably after Christmas.

A tiny extra – LeVier Cosmic Wind, Ballerina. One of the original three built in 1947.DSCN6379