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Spring talks unveiled!

Updated: Jan 18

Another fascinating line-up of speakers and topics is being put together for this year’s spring talks programme at The Wing.


Trustee Andy Simpson has again found a variety of interesting presenters to brighten up Sunday afternoons as we make our way out of the winter gloom.


This year’s talks, which all start at 2.30pm and take place in the Geoffrey Page Centre in The Wing at Capel-le-Ferne, will get off to a flying start with a presentation on Sunday 19 February by Ray Bushell, Operations Manager, with Biggin Hill-based Fly a Spitfire.


Ray's presentation will include a general history of RAF Biggin Hill from its original concept as an airfield in 1917 through to the end of hostilities in 1945. He will talk briefly about two significant squadrons that served at Biggin Hill and give a general overview of the workings at the Heritage Hanger, which include aircraft restoration and passenger flights.


Ray's talk will be followed on Sunday 26 February by a talk by Air Marshal Black Robertson CBE FRAeS FRSA RAF (rtd) entitled Reflections on the Battle of Britain. [continues after picture]



Air Marshal Black Robertson

Air Marshal Robertson, author of Fighters in the Blood and A Spitfire Named Connie, will be reflecting on lesser-known aspects of the Battle of Britain, particularly those individuals and organisations whose largely unheralded contributions helped ensure the nation’s survival.


Above all it’s a story about those people who, in the summer of 1940, helped turn the tide of events. The Air Marshal’s father, a decorated Spitfire ace, was in training at the time but later flew with veterans of the conflict, giving rise to a fund of related stories.


On Sunday 5 March, Adam Fraser and Catherine Tappenden will deliver a presentation on the world record-breaking flight from Lympne to Cairo in June 1919 by a young Canadian RAF pilot, Harry Yates.


Yates needed to deliver Harry St John Philby (father of Kim Philby) to Egypt so that he could negotiate a peace between warring Arab tribes. Flying in a massive Handley Page 0/400, he left Lympne on 21 June and arrived in Cairo on the 26th.


Every leg of the journey brought danger and adventure, with Yates even picking up a hitchhiking Lawrence of Arabia along the way. It’s an exciting story that is sure to enthral the audience.


On Sunday 19 March, Jo Roger (Instagram’s That Spitfire Bird) and Peter Hall will deliver a presentation entitled A Bird’s Eye View of Vintage Aviation. [continues after picture]



Jo Rogers

Interviewed by Peter, Jo will talk through her experiences with Aero Legends in a wide-ranging illustrated talk covering her experiences as ground crew. In addition to his interviewer role, Peter will cover some of the other activities at Aero Legends including future vintage jet restorations.


Jo, who took up gliding as a teenager but was unable to follow her dream of flying with the RAF because that was not a career option for women in the early 1980s took her first Spitfire flight in 2017 and has been a Spitfire addict ever since.


She began volunteering as ground crew at Aero Legends in 2019 and started her Instagram account That Spitfire Bird during the lockdown of 2020.


Peter enjoyed a 30-year career in the police before retiring and eventually answering an Aero Legends advert for volunteer ground crew in 2021. [continues after picture]



Peter Hall

On Sunday 26 March, Artur Bildziuk promises to deliver a fascinating talk when he outlines the history of Polish Eagles on London Mayoral Chains.


Over a number of years enamelled Polish Eagle badges have been presented to London Boroughs with significant connections to the Polish community, particularly those with connections to the Polish exiles who fought in the Battle of Britain. The badges are attached to the Mayoral chains as a permanent memorial to the Polish community in the Borough and the specific connection to WW2.


Artur, who is Chairman of the Polish Airmen’s Association, will talk about the history of the Polish eagle and its various designs as well as telling the story of the connections to the various London Boroughs.


Both of Artur’s parents served in the Polish Air Force during WWII. His formative years were spent in the company of those same Polish Airmen who contributed so much during the war, which led to his interest in the history of the Polish Air Force.


With limited capacity at all this season’s talks, early booking is recommended.


Ticket prices:

Friend of the Few (Hurricane) Free Entry

Friend of the Few (Spitfire) £5

Guest of Friend of the Few (max one per friend) £6

Non-members of Friends of the Few £12.

For more details or to book, phone 01303 249292 or email enquiries@battleofbritainmemorial.org


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