Representatives from the Battle of Memorial Trust joined VIPs at the unveiling of a new two-seater Spitfire that is expected to become a regular visitor to the skies above Capel-le-Ferne.
Jules Gomez, who manages The Wing and the Battle of Britain Memorial site, was joined by staff member Paul Oram and long-standing volunteer Brenda Halls at what should have been the inaugural flight of Spitfire NH341 (DB-E) at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
Although a last minute carburettor fault meant this beautiful aircraft was unable to fly, the group was treated to a display by another Spitfire and watched as the NH341’s Merlin engine was fired up and run on the ground.
The team was invited to Duxford by Aero Legends, the company that operates passenger flights in the Spitfire and other vintage aircraft and regularly flies passengers over the Memorial, creating an additional attraction for visitors to the site.
Aero Legends, which flies out of nearby Headcorn, has linked up with the Trust for a number of new initiatives, including offering a free ticket to one of its events for anyone who pays to visit the Memorial.
Saturday’s visit took in the Aircraft Restoration Company’s facilities at Duxford, where Jules, Paul and Brenda were able to see behind the scenes at the company that rebuilt and converted NH341. Nick Oram told visitors about the history of the aircraft, which saw action in the Second World War, while Flt Lt Antony Parkinson MBE (known to all as “Parky”) gave an insight into what it is like to fly one of these wonderful machines.
Sitting just behind NH341 in ARC’s Stephenson Hangar was the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster, currently receiving a major overhaul before flying with the BBMF again this coming summer. “It was a fantastic day and a great experience,” said Jules. “Our thanks to Aero Legends for the invitation and for the joint initiatives they are setting up with us here at Capel.”