View Full Version : London Victory Celebrations 8th June 1946

8th Oct 2022, 08:44
In June 1946 I was a schoolboy who was given this card to celebrate Victory Celebrations.

https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1200x2000/victory_day_message_8th_june_1946_front_9ce2ba82fe6f7b773b2e 6eb4d51a564ce830fe28.jpg

https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1180x2000/victory_day_message_back_c8c8707534672e043657014d8e0fd8a5e5d 1e423.jpg

According to WiKi:
London Victory Celebrations 8th June 1946
The first part of the parade was the Chiefs of Staff's procession, featuring the British Chiefs of Staff together with the Supreme Allied Commanders. This was followed by a mechanised column which went from Regent's Park to Tower Hill to The Mall (where the saluting base was) and then back to Regent's Park. It was more than four miles long and contained more than 500 vehicles from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, British civilian services and the British Army (in that order).

Next came a marching column, which went from Marble Arch to The Mall to Hyde Park Corner. This was headed by the flags of the Allied nations which took part in the parade, each with an honour guard. Next came units of the navies, air forces, civilian services and units of the British Empire, and the armed forces of the Commonwealth Dominions. They were followed by units from the Royal Navy, followed by British civilian services, the British Army, representatives of certain Allied air forces and the Royal Air Force. This was followed by a fly-past of 300 aircraft, led by Douglas Bader. In the aftermath, 4,127 persons needed medical attention and 65 were taken to hospital.

My question is does anyone know what the composition of the RAF Flypast of 300 aircraft was?

8th Oct 2022, 10:48
This is footage of the rehearsal.https://www.britishpathe.com/video/aircraft-in-flight

You might need to mute this one:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoGPyIWaQUI

8th Oct 2022, 12:30
Warmtoast I think you might find a little bit more of what you are looking for if you scroll right through the following: https://www.key.aero/article/ve-day-victory-celebrations

8th Oct 2022, 14:10

Image Imperial War Museum

9th Oct 2022, 15:14

Thanks for the links. Although I was in London on 8th June 1946 my family didn't take me to see the Military Parades along The Mall, however I do remember seeing the flypast (very noisy at low level) which was brilliant - fond memories!
FWIW here's what your link describes about the flypast:

VICTORY DAY - 8 June 1946
On 8 June 1946 the RAF made its aerial contribution to the Victory Day celebrations — staged a year and one month after VE Day itself — in the form of a flypast over London. The weather on the day was appalling, with heavy rain, low cloud and poor visibility, but the aerial parade took place as scheduled. GCI stations at various points along the route controlled the six streams of aircraft.
Extensive planning details of the event are held by the National Archives in Kew. Aircraft speeds quoted during practice were 149mph for the Sunderlands, Lancasters 184mph, Fleet Air Arm aircraft and Spitfires 220mph, and jets at 290mph, the latter to be raised if possible. The Tempests, Mosquitoes and Beaufighters were not mentioned, and neither were the Halifaxes — presumably the latter were a last-minute addition.
After overflying Buckingham Palace, the stream would continue west as far as Kew Bridge where the Sunderlands, Lancasters, Mosquitoes, Beaufighters and Meteors would turn starboard and circuit north London. The Firebrands, Fireflies, Seafires, Spitfires and Tempests would turn to port and circuit South London, the Vampires returning directly to base. If the Meteors were likely to be short of fuel, North Weald would refuel them. The Hornets were not mentioned here, but since their base was at Horsham St Faith they presumably joined the north London circuit.
The flypast involved a lot of additional work and planning to accommodate units and personnel. The three Tempest squadrons from Germany were detached to Chilbolton, and three Mosquito units to Manston. The number of personnel needing to be transported to and from Germany would be 117 for the Tempests and 166 for the Mosquitoes, while spares also had to be arranged.
All squadrons had to be concentrated at their flypast bases by 3 June for a full-scale practice, and the aircraft of all section leaders and deputy leaders were to be fitted with MkIII Gee or a satisfactory alternative means of identification by GCI. It was proposed to set up a Eureka beacon on top of Admiralty Arch, Bush House or a similar building, while a line of sodium lights at approximately one-mile intervals was laid along the route to assist in bad visibility — a good plan, as it turned out. All squadrons would carry VHF and the ‘starting line’ GCI would be at Hornchurch for last-minute instructions; aircraft would be over London between 12.00 and 12.20hrs.
Flight’s representative flew in a Mosquito of No 4 Squadron from Germany. The unit had arrived at Manston from GŁtersloh with Nos 21 and 107 Squadrons, all flying Mosquito FBVIs. The weather at Manston was fine, even shirt-sleeve order, but during the preliminary sweep over East Anglia to join the main stream on the run-in to London it deteriorated rapidly. The Wing Leader, Wg Cdr Corkery, had to make a hasty departure with engine trouble, but deputy leader Sqn Ldr Golightly took over and an airborne spare filled the gap.
Sodium lights and flares on Fairlop airfield were just discernible, but by now conditions were extremely bad. Frequently the aircraft ahead — one machine’s length away — would be out of sight, but they passed over the saluting base at 1,000ft exactly on time, the leader calling out the codewords to ground control: “Mint Sauce — Iceberg No 4 Squadron.”
The Aeroplane’s correspondent joined the only Beaufighters in the flypast, from No 254 Squadron at Thorney Island, a torpedo-bombing unit in No 19 Group, Coastal Command. Thorney was also the base for No 248 Squadron’s Mosquito FBVIs in the flypast. The Beaufighters encountered bad weather all along the route and on the run-up to Luton, where they headed east to Stowmarket and picked up the other aircraft in the stream with callsign ‘Iceberg’. From there they flew down past Colchester to Foulness, turning in over Southend towards Fairlop with windscreen wipers in action all the way. Past London, the Beaufighters broke up and flew back to Thorney. There nine aircraft were waiting to land, but not one could be seen from another! The No 248 Squadron Mosquitoes did not return to Thorney, some landing at Ford, but the Aeroplane journalist did not know where the others went.
To return to the flypast, it was led by a single Hurricane flown by a Battle of Britain pilot, followed by three Sunderland Vs from No 201 Squadron at Calshot, three Halifax VIIs of No 297 Squadron at Brize Norton, and 12 Lancaster IIIs operated by No 35 Squadron at Graveley. The latter, famously, were later to fly to America in the Operation ‘Goodwill’ visit.
After the heavies came the twin-engined aircraft. There were 72 Mosquitoes of various marks: NF30s of Nos 25 and 29 Squadrons from Boxted, 219 at Acklington, 264 at Wittering, 85 at Colerne and 151 at Exeter, while the FBVIs were from Thorney Island’s No 248 Squadron and units over from Germany as mentioned earlier. A sole formation of Sea Mosquito TR33s came from 811 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm at Ford, then followed the No 254 Squadron Beaufighters and more FAA units — 813’s Firebrand IVs from Ford, 816’s Firefly Is from Lee-on-Solent and 807’s Seafire XVIIs, also stationed at Lee.
The actual number of Spitfires taking part was not mentioned in the reports, but there were certainly a large number. MkIXs were from No 164 Squadron at Middle Wallop, 165 at Duxford and 130 at Manston, while the XVIs were provided by 19 at Wittering, 587 at Tangmere, 691 at Weston Zoyland, 65 at Duxford, 287 at Acklington and 567 at West Malling. No 41 Squadron’s Wittering-based Spitfire F21s were the sole examples of that mark to be involved.
Operating from Horsham St Faith were No 64 Squadron’s nine Hornet Is, followed by Tempest IIs of No 54 Squadron at Chilbolton, and three squadrons of Tempest Vs from Germany: 3, 16 and 33, operating from Manston. Bringing up the rear were six squadrons of Meteor IIIs from Bentwaters and Boxted — 56, 74, 245, 234, 222 and 263 — and finally Vampire Is from No 247 Squadron at Odiham, operating from West Malling.
I was staying with grandparents at Pagham Beach near Bognor on this auspicious day, so did not expect to see any of these aircraft, but my notes on that day are as follows: squadrons of Beaufighters and Mosquitoes formed at 12.05, Firebrands at 12.15 and Spitfires and Seafires at 12.20 over the coast. The Beaufighters had arrived above Bognor at 11.55 and orbited with Mosquitoes until about 12.10, followed after two orbits by Firebrands at 12.15, 40 Spitfire XVIs and 10 Seafire XVIIs, the latter with long-range tanks.
A number of aircraft returned at about 300ft under ten-tenths cloud and heavy rain between 13.20 and 13.50, the Seafires flying straight across whereas the Mosquitoes and Sea Mosquitoes orbited for some time. Two Fireflies returned along the beach at 16.45.
It had originally been suggested to hold a night flying sequence with aircraft dropping parachute flares and being illuminated by searchlights, but it was considered that the flares would be dangerous if the parachutes failed to open — a wise precaution! Bomber Command was to supply four aircraft, but in the event this idea was dropped.